If we’re honest we would admit that after many conversations with former Senior Missionaries we hoped that we could avoid some activities that many get involved in. When we lived in the Toronto area Sister Howes was the Missionary Mom for the area. Whenever they were thirsty, hungry or needed something fixed she was the go-to. When we left home, we left sewing machines and all other repair stuff. However, the Missionaries have an eye for a couple of suckers and we haven’t been able to say no.
We bought a $40 dollar sewing machine and another $40 dollars in threads and needles and now after every Zone or District meeting we get someone’s pants or shirts and occasionally even the jackets to repair, clean and iron. Elder Howes gets the the nontechnical assignments from the boss.
Visits are FUN and Educational…..
One of the activities that keeps us both connected to our family and especially our Grandsons is nearly daily calls on FaceTime. Well we found a way to beat that?
The Morgan’s came to New York for to visit for a few days. Can you see that they were happy to see Grandma? Grandpa was filling a roll that became a theme for part of the visit – circling in the car.
Our bedroom was converted into a dorm room with bunk beds on one corner and a desk for “projects at the foot of our bed. The boys then customized their sleeping areas with homemade pictures and other acquisitions from the apartment. Bauer, who was on the bottom obviously didn’t have enough privacy for his liking as he used one of his sheets as a curtain. It didn’t take long for Brett to get comfortable on the blow-up bed in the study/spare bedroom. Now you can see that we can make room for visitors when you all decide to visit us.
Our first day with them was Sunday and we had assignments that kept us busy until after the block. Brett and Lennox made the trip to High Falls first thing in the morning to pick up Will Krum, our blind member that we pick up every Sunday. Lennox was very curious about Will and his mannerisms having never encountered someone who is blind.Bauer and Lennox nearly doubled the size of the Primary and it sounds like Lennox the entertainer got caught up in the action during Sharing Time and had the Primary leaders wound up before the end. After the block we made a quick trip around the sights of New Paltz.
We began at Huguenot Street and moved to Lake Minnewaska State Park. Once again we got to see places that we had not previously seen. Lake Minnewaska is only a few miles from New Paltz but we’ve never had a need or reason to visit.
Statue of Liberty
When we learned of their visit, Sister Howes booked tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty but the Government shutdown closed the Statue and we were told that we could exchange those tickets for a boat ride around the island but at the last minute the State reopened just the Statue.
Top of the Rock
The Rockefeller Center has an observation deck that everyone has to see. It has 360 views of the City that are spectacular.
Central Park, Liberty Island and the Empire State building. Then it was downstairs to visit the Lego Store.
As we walked down the street to find the Missionaries famous Steak & Shake to have lunch we crossed the street to find the Broadway show Book of Mormon and several of New York’s finest willing to share the street and a hat with the boys.
A Relaxing Day?
Hyde Park is East of us on the other side of the Hudson River. It was a traditional seasonal home spot for the Gilded Age rich, including the Roosevelt’s and Vanderbilts. We used this day to relax after the craziness of the City.
These two enjoyed the grounds and the sights but not so much the houses and the tours both tours take an hour. Mostly torture for a 9 and 6 year old. But they were well behaved and endured. We stopped at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) for a shower and lunch. Well the shower was unintended but Brett set the standard as he ran through the fountains and of course his minions followed.
Afterwards we made our way back across the Hudson to pick Apples at Hurd Apple Farm. New York advertises these farms as a mini vacation and folks from the city flock here every weekend literally in droves, but we had the place to ourselves on a Tuesday. The only problem was there were very few apples left on the trees and we ended up getting many of our apples from bins. But our boys still had great fun.
Back to the City
On Wednesday it was back to the City, first stop was one of the to Dominique Ansel Bakery, where Sister Howes and Kristi had planned to have a Cronut (cross between a donut and croissant). They run there business like an episode reminiscent of the Jerry Seinfeld shows “Soup Nazi”. One can only order “Cronuts” on Monday 21 days in advance or stand in line beginning at 6am an wait to see if anything is left to purchase. Just our luck, nothing left.
But it did leave us hungry so we decided that we had to try one of Kristi’s childhood memory favorites (from when we visited while we lived in Toronto), Gray’s Papaya. When we visited years ago this was nothing but Hot Dog stands in the City, but know they are everywhere as regular hole-in-the-wall hot dog stands. Problem is Kristi, now a vegetarian, doesn’t eat meat. Brett, Elder & Sister Howes enjoyed a traditional all beef hot dog, while Kristi and the boys opted for a Slice. We then walked down the street to Washington Square.
It’s was off to the Upper East Side to visit FAO Schwarz, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Serendipity and Central Park. As we slowly made our way through the City we passed a landmark that Kristi had asked about but we knew nothing about. The LOVE sign is on avenue of the americas (6th) and 54th.
Elder Howes dropped the crew off at FAO Schwarz and it was off to find the impossible, a parking place. Little did we know that the street parking, which is limited anyway on the East side, would be non existent because of left overs from Columbus Day activities. Parking garages where all full and unless you have a diplomatic license plate there where no places to park. But the crew kept the adventure going.
As a bonus Sister Howes, Kristi, Brett and Bauer went by the Dakota Apartments where John Lennon was shot and off to the Levaine Bakery for before dinner snacks. Then it was off to Gramaldi’s Pizza (made famous in the Tom Hank’s movie “Big”).
They put on quite a show for us as we were one of only two groups in the restaurant. The Pizza wan’t bad either.
It was such great fun to have the Morgan family visit but very sad to see them return home. We rushed home from JFK to Poughkeepsie to return the rental van and teach our Strengthening Marriage class there for the final time. Since they left it has been non-stop assignments which has helped us keep busy and not miss them.