Donna is an introvert, and the numbers presented by my family can overwhelm her and shut her down. So, she again hung back at the hotel while we went for coffee at the Airbnb, then later during the pre-wedding picnic and still later for the Bills game that night at Sidelines Sports Bar. It’s an odd thing to explain where she is sometimes and to convince family members it's just a numbers thing and she does like them. But, after three decades I’m so over these lame explanations and have taken to just saying she’s sick of me and is hanging back to do her own thing—they get that.
We had a nice little visit with my two sisters, their
kids and my brother at the Airbnb and then later at Ridgeway Park for the
pre-wedding picnic. On the way to the picnic Caroline was on call with the
Beavis and Butthead production team and we lost cell service. We had to drive
back on Rt. 550 almost all the way to downtown Montrose to re-establish the
connection. Not to sound like an entitled, over the top east coast crybaby but
this lack of cell service out here in the west is complete bullshit.
When we finally got to the picnic it was a very nice affair. Ridgeway Park is a country town surrounded by ranches and farms in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Of course, everything out here is set in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.
The festivities took place in large pavilion with a nice spread of music, games, drinks, food, no cell service and tons of people—mostly my people. My siblings and their kids from Florida, California, Texas, Buffalo and Albany, N.Y. were all there and a bunch were still missing. With such a huge family it takes time to catch up and you always don't get to everyone. Once I was done with family, I was able to meet the father of the bride’s—my brother John—Florida neighbors Larry and Sue and had a pretty good political conversation with another neighbor—the magnificent Dan Duby. Magnificent because we are aligned politically, and Dan is of an age and experience where the quips roll off his tongue with a devastating kiss my ass kind of poignancy and truth.
The picnic had an interesting dynamic because the groom, Kyle and his family, except for a younger brother are deaf. They are outfitted with Cochlear implants to help them pick up sound and use other strategies to communicate like signing and lip reading. It was hard to communicate going both ways because the hearing impaired, as you might imagine have a lot of impaired friends and family. Under the best of circumstances it's a challenge to meet and mix with the people from the opposite family at a wedding. The fact that none of us could sign made it near impossible and sometimes it seemed as if there were two different picnics going on at the same time.
Kyle and Rachel met at the Rochester Institute of
Technology where Rachel earned a degree as a Sign Language
Interpreter and Kyle is some kind of Cyber Engineer, who in ninety seconds could
break into your computer, untangle your search history and shake his head in disbelief
at how many Pinterest quilting sites you visited with a porn angle.
At any rate Rachel and Kyle have been together for like seven years and have overcome the fact he has had to constantly move for work. They cited sixty plus road trips to see each other during their courtship. They are a sweet couple.
Despite the communication differences and the fact Kyle is from Chicago everybody packed into Sidelines Sports Bar in Montrose to watch the NFL season opener—Bill v. Rams. There's also the possibility they they came along for anthropological reasons, hoping to witness one of us smash a table or something. There was a lot yelling and “Hey-ayyyy-ayyyy-ayy Let’s Go Buffalo” chants, but no broken tables. Quite embarrassingly, when the Rams got a first-down by way of a penalty I pounded the table I was sitting at and sprayed my nephew Philip’s girlfriend, Hannah and my niece Conor with my Modelo. It was really embarrassing because I’m usually pretty chill during the games and just text with my three oldest friends from high school about what we’re seeing.
It turned out to be a good night. It was obvious from the stunned staff and regulars at Sidelines they had never experienced a Bills game with a Mafia contingent. Many of them had their cameras out were snapping away at the freaks from Buffalo downing wings and beer in their red, white and blue. In the bar, also dressed in red, white and blue was a graduate of Bennett High School named Bob. Bob left Buffalo for San Diego forty plus years ago and was a police officer there until he retired in 2015 and moved to Montrose. He was thrilled to have our unexpected presence in the bar and told several of my brothers his story. Nice guy.
I have a theory why the Bills travel so well and are so
important to us Buffalonians. One is because we've been through a lot with this team—four straight Super Bowl losses and a twenty year playoff drought. We want
it—bad. Bigger than that though is for a large part of the year which we’re heading
into now—the eight months of winter—there’s not a lot to do in Buffalo so we go
heavy on the Bills, and the Sabres too if they could ever get their act together.
Unlike here in Montrose or other places we visited the outdoors provide endless
opportunities for entertainment and activity. A couple of quick turns and you
are being wowed by the Rocky Mountains while we have a pot holes, lake effect and beer joints on every corner.
So yeah, we don’t have the Rockies, the Tetons or the
Badlands, but we have the Bills. And, on that Thursday night Josh Allen and the boys laid a 31-10 ass whupping
on the defending Super Bowl champ L.A. Rams in L.A. and that’s pretty good too.