Summer Tour: Birthday Bash

Earlier this summer I did a series of posts on our family tour of several Cedar Fair Parks.  That family vacation was bounded by two other non-Cedar Fair events. The first was Liberty Con, which I have posted about.  The second is my Mother’s birthday bash.

Mom is celebrating a significant birthday mile stone today, and since we couldn’t all get together with her today, we decided to celebrate by getting together during the summer just outside of Buffalo. So her three children, all spouses and grandchildren, along with my dad’s sole surviving sibling and some of her children and grandchildren (my cousins), gathered on a Thursday-Saturday.

My foursome started the day in Mid-Pennsylvania and came up the Route 15/I-99 corridor. We happened to be passing through when mom and my sister were still getting ready to leave the Corning area. Work had caught my sister with a question, so she went up to Coopers Plains to assist, even though it wasn’t absolutely required.

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And thus our paths crossed, as we met them for the above picture, then went to Dunkin’ Donuts in Gang Mills before heading on up to Buffalo via similar GPS-guided routes.

The three out-of-towner families stayed at the same Holiday-Inn Express (note: we liked all the Holiday Inn Expresses we stayed at — weren’t impressed by Days Inns), and the management got all our rooms on the same floor across and next to each other for easier confabbing.

Thursday evening was a time of settling in for the children/siblings and playing of board games. We had supper at a local famous Buffalo wing place

Duff's Famous Wings

— Duff’s Famous Wings.  After all, how could we travel all this way to Buffalo and not have some “authentic” Buffalo wings. The eldest grandson went for the hottest of wings, while me and the youngest grandchild took mild, which was quite good.

Friday morning we went back and forth between several options. Rain had fallen, and was threatening, so we opted not to do a naval ship tour thing, since we didn’t want to get caught in the rain for the outside elements.  Which was probably just as well. It would have taken more time and energy than we probably wanted to spend.

Instead we toured the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. Buffalo was the site of the Pan-American exposition in 1901, and President William McKinley was shot there. As VP, Roosevelt came to town, was assured McKinley was recovering, left, and when McKinley actually passed, rushed back to Buffalo, where he was sworn is as president.

The Inaugural site was in the home of the prominent citizen who hosted Roosevelt on both his visit, and in whose study he was sworn in. Since our family has always been fascinated by Teddy Roosevelt, it was a natural pick for us.

The exhibit had a lot of footage on the Pan-American Exhibition, which was rather interesting to get the flavor of the time, and their view of the future, some almost science fiction quality.

It also included historical narration of the assassination and inauguration, and an interactive screen where one played at making presidential decisions that became headlines in a hypothetical newspaper.

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We did lunch at the food court of the Galleria Mall, which was quite an active place.

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But the real capstone of the reunion was when we got together with all the cousins for dinner at the Olive Tree.  It was a family run Greek-American Restaurant with wonderful color and flavor.  We got to chat a long time with my Aunt Olive, Cousin Roger and his family, and Roger presented us all with copies of audio disks that his father, my Uncle Bill, had recorded back in the 1960s of my Grandfather Lightfoot reminiscing about his life on the farm and on the railroad.

The big Buffalo, or whatever it is, that everyone is posed next to at the top of this column is a very colorful mascot outside the Olive Tree. We were all leaving when I mentioned I needed to get a picture of it, and so we all came over and had our group shot.

So now, here is a collage of pictures of the dinner:

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