I wrote this post 2 weeks ago on our return from Florida, but waited for family clearance before publishing it. How funny that my last 2 posts were about that waiting period that God allows us to experience sometimes, and this post chronicles our unexpected and unwelcome delay to begin our trip.
It all began with a rocky start. Apparently, due to the severe weather on Saturday, JetBlue cancelled our Sunday flight. Just cancelled it. As in, too bad, nothing you can do about it, just cancelled, want your money back? Uh, nooooo, what I want is to fly to Florida! I could share my rant about the 2 hours on hold, the misinformation I repeatedly received, or the rude desk attendant who informed me that the other airlines - who did not cancel flights - fly in different air currents to Florida (air currents? really??), but I'll spare you. (And in the interest of full disclosure, the flight home was excellent and staffed with wonderful attendants.)
Instead, I would like to share a surprising happy experience.
Because we were delayed 24 hours, holed up in a Queens NY hotel, we decided to visit my husband's uncle who rarely gets visitors now that he's in a nursing home following knee surgery. Uncle Joey, my mother-in-law’s favorite brother, is a colorful character, and our hour-long conversation with him was like “The Godfather” meets “Abbott and Costello.”
The Panzica’s (P): Hi, Uncle Joey. So good to see you.
Uncle Joey (J): Yo. How ya doin’?
P: Good, you?
J: Menza, menz. Ey - whatcha gonna do?
J: (to AJ) Yo, you got tall. [at 5’8” AJ is never called tall, so he appreciated that!]
P: What’s new with you?
J: Nuthin’. Hey, he got tall, and I got bald.
P: So, how’s the food here?
J: Stinks! Macalacala! But whatcha gonna do?
The invisible guy in the next bed behind the curtain utters "fkejesjseucksyrdufbe" punctuated by hacking coughs.
J: So how'd ya find this place?
P: We followed the GPS.
J: What? (to AJ) Kid, you work for UPS?
AJP: No, we followed the GPS to get here. You know, satellites and maps giving directions....
J: So, you like working for UPS? Ay - he got tall. So is she.
(She being Lauren who is 5'2"!)
We call my mother-in-law so Uncle Joey can talk to her.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t have her hearing aids in.
P: Hey, ma! We’re here with Uncle Joey. I’ll put him on.
J: Yo, Nina! Gravatsa! …. Wha'? - ya don't understand me? …. Mercy mercy, mercy.
J: You gotta make the woochies!
(woochies are Italian fig cookies that take 2 days to make)
P: Uncle Joey, we’re gonna make woochies soon. We’ll bring you some.
J: Yeah, I want woochies. Ay - he got tall.
P: So, is there a good pizza place around here?
J: I dunno. Angelo opened up a place in Queens. On the highway. Ant'ny, you know Angelo?
P: I think so. What's the name of the pizza place?
J: I dunno. It don't have a name. He just opened up a pizza place - down the road - on the highway.
P: Did you ever sell pizza?
J: Oh yeah. Made pizza in my house. But Angelo, he opened up a pizza place - down the road - on the highway.
P: What else did you do?
J: I did everything, you name it. I delivered trees on 72nd to famous people. I sold firecrackers, you know, the good ones (the illegal ones). I worked for Bond Bread. For 40 years, I worked for them.
P: Did they give you a gold watch when you retired?
J: Ya know, they gave me a watch when I retired. Never worked.
P: Well, we gotta go, Uncle Joey.
J: Thanks for comin’. Ay - he got tall.
We had been so disappointed about our delay, but because of it, we were able to visit with Uncle Joey which we had long wanted to do, but never found time for. An unexpected blessing that we would have missed if we spent our time griping and focused on our frustrating plight.
And we eventually did get to Florida, had a wonderful time with family and vacationing at the beach, even though it was 72 degrees both in Miami and in NJ!