Sunday, November 11, 2007

What a long strange trip it was

For weeks Inky, XL and I have been planing to get together this weekend to blow off some steam. The plan was to go out to a bar where Inky and XL could get shit faced and I could drive them to get food and then safely home. But, nothing in life ever happens how you plan it. I got a call on Thursday morning that my Uncle had passed away, and that the funeral was Saturday morning... in Queens. I called XL and told him he I had to go to Queens, and half as a joke told him that if he still wanted to come up he could go to the funeral with me.

He still came up, but even that was a test of wills. He and his wife have a 3rd car that they use to put a lot of miles on and save their primary modes of transportation. XL brought that car, but somewhere on the Baltimore Beltway his exhaust system fell out and he was stuck on the side of the road. Just when I thought the weekend had fallen apart, he called me back to say he had a plan. His father put his Jeep on a roll back truck and sent it to pick up his Honda. Not only a tow, but new car delivery! Now that's impressive.

XL and I set out for Jersey a bit later then we had hoped, and along the way we popped into Yocco's South for hot dogs and pierogies, at around 4:00. Upon arriving in Metuchen, and rendezvousing with my Mother and little brother we then went to Harold's New York Style Deli in Edison. This place is owned by the guy who used to own the Carnegie Deli in NYC. To say that they do things big at Harold's is an understatement. Just take a glance of the photo of me with the "small" cornbeaf sandwich at the start of this post. I mean, goddamn! We each ate what we could of our sandwiches, and some of the pickles from the worlds largest pickle bar, and we called it a night.

In the morning I put on a black dress shirt, black suit, grey tie, black shoes, black over coat and black gloves and we left for Queens. My Uncle Pat was an old school New York guinea, and this was an old school funeral. Nestled in a tiny Queens neighborhood was the funeral home right across from the Church, and the drive to the cemetery took us along Queens Boulevard. As it turns out my Uncle Pasquale was buried less than 25 feet from one time Gambino boss "Big Paul" Castellano. Also at St. John's Cemetery: Lucky Luciano, John Gotti, Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino, Joe Colombo, Joe Profaci, oh yeah and John Atlas, Robert Mapplethorp and my Uncle Pat. And there we stood, My Mother, brother, XL and I... wow.

XL and I had plans with Inky in PA so we had to skip out on the plush reception at the very expensive looking Queens Italian restaurant, but we had some good eats back in Metuchen. We had some pizza at Roberto's on Main St, before picking up some cannoli's, one of which I left out of respect for my old man. On the way home XL had a few more hot dogs, and I had an order of pierogies at Yocco's 100 before we got back to Central PA. Then Inky and XL went through a case of Yuengling and a few shots each of Jager as we watched the Chappell show. A good time was had by all, and before the night was over I ran out to get them some Five Guys. I think we all need to spend a few days on a treadmill!

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