Howdy friends. Sorry for the delay. Been enjoying some very good times with friends and family and suddenly realized it’d been about two weeks since I last got on this here weblog thingie. That coupled with the fact that an escaped troop of very angry lab monkeys has been terrorizing the Northeast, disconnecting interweb cables from Pennsylvania to Maine, has made it difficult. Not sure why they picked the web as their victim. Strange.
After recharging with family in Pittsburgh for two days, I unloaded a ton of gear at my mom’s (camping gear and the rest of the stuff that allowed me to be totally self-sufficient on the road ’til now) and rode 220 miles northeast through Pennsylvania and into the Buffalo, New York area last Thursday to visit some friends and attend a wedding. I rolled into Akron, NY to the pad of one of my very good friends, Chris Whitmarsh. Chris just happens to be one of Keith Richards’ illegitimate love children.
Now, I haven’t actually conducted DNA analysis, but I’m fairly certain. Suffice it to say that Chris loves rock and roll and a good time. He qualifies as a Rolling Stones ‘Superfan’ and lives and breathes old school rock. From sun up to sun down, the sounds of classic rock waft through his house (even when he’s not there – to marinate the house in tunes and to keep his very laid back cat, Smokey, company). He recites facts about the legends of rock like I recite.. I don’t know – like I recite something I know a lot about. One of his many prize possessions, his cherry 1972 Riviera (the Riv – only driven with the mirrored glasses you see here), is a relic from that age and a reminder to me that Chris was probably born about 35 years too early. I’m glad he wasn’t, though, ’cause then he’d be 70 now and we probably wouldn’t hang out. Not that I have anything against old people.
Anyway, I love this guy and had a blast hanging out with him and his equally awesome girlfriend (and soon to be PhD), Andrea. They took care of me for the weekend and showed me a great time.
That night, we met up with a few other good friends, Hammer (moved from SF a week after me) and Keith, and headed into downtown Buffalo to the Thursday at the Square event which hosts a free concert every Thursday in the Summer (another thing I miss about the East Coast – the true celebration of Summer). We checked out the North Mississippi All Stars, a southern fried jam/rock band, and took in some of Buffalo’s finest. Ever hear of ‘beef on weck’? Damn tasty sandwich consisting of a salted rye roll and marinated beef (sort of like au jus). Definitely a local specialty.
On Friday, we attended the wedding of our very good friend and one of the nicest people in the world, Joey McCoughnaghey, and his fiance’ Erin.
Joey’s got an interesting story. A few years ago, he entered the Franciscans and began studying to become a Friar, which would necessitate vows of celibacy and poverty among other things – a truly major decision and lifestyle change. We were all bummed to lose him from the regular shenanigans of our circle of friends but proud of him for deciding to do something different with his life. He spent some time ministering to some of the most down and out in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the US in Philadelphia. At some point, though, he realized it wasn’t for him (hello, celibacy??) and eventually left his study and returned to Buffalo. He went back to school, met a girl, got engaged, bought a house and there we were.. celebrating a very awesome and very different stage in his life, which was officiated (makes it sound like a football game but I don’t know the right word) by Father Mike, one of the guys he studied with in Philly. It was an awesome service and even better party afterwards. Congrats to you both. Glad you came to your senses, Joey..
Side note: At the wedding, Keith made it clear that he wanted to travel around the world with me. Since his full sized person wouldn’t be able to make it (some B.S. about a wife, kids and a job), he asked that his miniaturized self (a likeness his grandmother had made – one of 18 for each of her grandchildren) be able to tag along. Mini Keith will now be riding shotgun on the adventure.
On Saturday, after attending two Summer work picnics for both Chris and Andrea (complete with bizarre eating contests with strangers that I was pulled into – which I sadly do not have photos from), we met up with all of our wedding-attending friends in town for one final hurrah before we all went our separate ways – they back home to jobs, babies etc and me to points unknown. We actually met up at the post-christening party for two beautiful twins, Evelyn and Augustus, that our friends Andy and Daria had recently. Wedding and a christening in one weekend. Efficient sacrament celebrating indeed. Anyway, those that gathered are a big crew of friends from all over the US that usually get together at least twice a year – New Year’s in some fun destination and a long weekend in Burlington, VT (giant slip ‘n slide party anyone??). The crew has actually become closer since we were all in college which is a strange but very good thing. It was another great send-off, but saying goodbye to that many close friends at once suuucks. See y’all at the next SnS..
Over and out.
P.S. Chris is not actually Keith Richards’ child. I’ve hung out with both of his parents. They’re awesome and seem to be his legitimate parents. So they say..