The Wife, The Kid and Your Humble Narrator are back, from a very hectic and way-too-short but extremely fun couple of days in Erie. We enjoyed:
Food: Filet at Ricardo’s, perch and shrimp at Smuggler’s, Chinese buffet at the Imperial (with a huge pack of siblings, in-laws, cousins, etc), chicken with kluski soup, ox roast, tongue, ham and salami at Gerry’s 8th Street Deli, walleye and fat, buttery clams at Joe Root’s Grill, Steffanelli’s chocolate, Mighty Fine donuts, Smith’s hot dogs, popcorn and Dippin’ Dots at a Seawolves game.
Other major highlights: We saw the Flagship Niagara sailing majestically into port, The Kid got to meet my pal Ronnie and his parrot Kiko, we went bowling with my pal Stan and his son Nathan at Greengarden Lanes. We fed gulls, ducks, geese and other Bayfront scroungers, and took in the view from the tower at Dobbins Landing.
Waldameer Park: The Kid and I rode The Whacky Shack...
...and The Comet—the smaller of the vintage amusement park’s two wooden rollercoasters—together, The Kid and my sister rode the Swinger, The Kid and The Wife rode The Paratrooper, The Kid and Deb’s pal Emma rode The Pirate’s Cove, and various combinations of the above rode The Tilt-A-Whirl and The Ferris Wheel. A blast.
The Zoo: We had a superb time at the Erie Zoo, where we saw Samantha, the sweet, heartbreakingly arthritic 48-year-old gorilla pat her companion bunny, Panda (introduced after the passing of her male companion Rudy a couple of years back). We also saw a baby orangutan, kangaroos, two red pandas, capybaras, Patagonian cavies, a sloth, and many many other cool creatures. On the whole I’d say it was a better experience than we’ve had at the Phoenix, D.C., or Guangzhou zoos.
Seawolves: As aforementioned, we saw the Seawolves get squalidly pummeled, 8-3, by the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate). But Emma and Al took The Kid to the dugout, where Jerry Martin, an MLB warhorse now working as the Seawolves’ first-base coach, made a small fuss over her and gave her a game ball. She later got the ball signed by a ridiculously good-looking young player named Danny Fields, and also by mascot C. Wolf.
RIPs from while we were gone: to critic Judith Crist—an early influence, if I may be so presumptuous, on Your Humble Narrator—passed on at 90; to composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch, startlingly passed on at 68; to Carlo Rambaldi, the special effects genius behind E.T. and Alien, among many others, departed at 86; and, at 78, actor Al Freeman, Jr., brilliant as Elijah Muhammad in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X.