Grill’n in Connecticut

Growing up in a large family there were movies that seemed to be a part of our collective experience.  These were the films that must have been favorites of my mom and dad and that all of us kids remember watching ad nauseam over the years, memorizing every line and reciting them at completely inappropriate moments.  In an earlier post I mentioned The Holy Grail and The Fighting Sullivans.  Owing to my parents’ relative youth (they’re 79 and 80) the black and white musicals of Irving Berlin were clearly in that catalog.

One such movie – Holiday Inn – features a line spoken in broken English by a character who indignantly informs Danny Reed (the agent of Fred Astaire’s character Ted Hanover and played brilliantly by Walter Abel) that he could not stop Ted from getting in a cab bound for Connecticut because he “did not know which way was Connect-I-Cut!”

Fortunately, we have a GPS.

Day 20/Saying Good-bye

We spent the bulk of Friday traveling around the neighborhood to a few houses to say good bye to my family.  They mostly live in the same few square blocks.  This facilitates the parting process.  It’s always hard to leave but we’ll be back in September for another wedding.

Then we plugged in the address and returned to our road warrior duties.  The kids hardly seemed phased as we drove across the George Washington Bridge.  I even tried some of my best lines on them.  “Hey kids, when I was your age my dad used to always tell me that the lower deck of this bridge was affectionately known as the Martha Washington.”  Nothing.  Seriously?  That was one of his best.  They must be tired.

Day 21/Event #9

Not sure what they are but if you haven’t had enough coffee, these Stew Leonard animatronics will make you question your sanity.

Of all the people I remember from my lone semester at Christendom, Liz Higby stands out for some reason.  That might be for a reason other than our common time in school.  When Karla and I started dating in November 2005 one of our first events to be seen at together was the wedding of Marcia Lee, ’98, and Nacho Bono in Waterbury, CT.  I showed up at the church on a Saturday morning (a few minutes late) and took my seat with Karla.  Outside the church, after the wedding, Karla “introduced” me to Liz.  Liz obviously remembered me.  I’ll never forget how she shouted out “Holy cow you’ve changed!”  My reply?  “I hope so.  It’s been ten years.”


Bendan and Liz pose.

Liz, ’99, and her husband Brendan Kelly agreed to host our Southern New England event.  We were happy to take them up on the offer.  Let me clue you in to something.  Apart from the concentrations of alumni in different cities, one of the deciding factors to where we would show up was Facebook.  Karla and I talked about the alums we’ve been friends with over the years and how some of them just had the kind of homes we needed to see in person.  In other words, Liz and Brendan, your place looks dope online and we’re nosy.  Bravo.  It’s just as nice in person!

After a brief stop at themed supermarket Stew Leonards for some supplies we arrive at the Kelly’s and commenced drinking visiting no, let’s stick with drinking.  The weather was gorgeous – sunny skies and warm temps – and complimented their sparkling pool nicely.

Let’s talk about the food, shall we?  At each event we have been treated to very good fare.  In Memphis it was Mexican.  In Malvern it was Italian.  Most stops find us chowing down on classic American cook-out food (hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.).  Here in Middletown, CT we had some of that.  It’s the dessert table at this house that stands out in my mind.  Coming off my diet for a bit; I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed cookies and cakes as much as I did today.  Good job, guys!

Guests included Paul Brunner, ’09, Mary (Higby) Patryn, ’92, the aforementioned Bono’s, Ann Maire (Popielarz) Read, ’99, Ann Marie’s husband Deo, and John Kelsey, ’99, and his wife Beth.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  Suffice to say that everyone had a great time thanks to our incredible hosts and their beautiful home.

Don’t look at me!

I almost forgot the true guest of honor!  The Read’s had brought their dog with them.  We’re pet-friendly at Grill’n & Chill’n (if that pet is a dog).  Look, I’m a dog guy.  I have a Jack Russell Terrier at home who, though he may be schizophrenic, is really a cool dog.  I had a yellow Lab when I was in high school and she was awesome.  This dog, though, takes the cake.  No one was quite sure of her breed but I’ll describe it a mix between a retriever and Satan – one of those cuddly, yet evil looking dogs who would just as likely steal your soul as gouge your eyes.  Deceptive, yes.  Wanna’ know her name?  Creampuff.  Yes, friends, she was sired by a dog named Eclair and a dam named Canoli.  Her siblings, Donut, Cheesecake, and Frosting had all gone to loving homes.  Creampuff?  She came to Grill’n & Chill’n.  If she hadn’t been afraid of her own shadow she might have enjoyed herself too.


And now we know which way is Connect-i-cut.


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