Big wheel turning by the grace of God
Every time that wheel turn round
Bound to cover just a little more ground....
Greetings to my faithful followers. I have covered quite a bit more then a little ground over the past month. First of all I should apologize and explain that I was misleading in my last journal entry from Bangkok, Thailand. I made it sound like I was going to be in Thailand for a month or so and in reality I was all the while planning and scheming to fly back to the USA to surprise my Dad for his 70th Birthday. The birthday surprise was a huge success and I have also been able to visit many of my friends and family and wedge in a bunch of really fun stuff along the way.
The day after my last entry I hopped a flight to Denver, USA to meet up with a few friends for a 3 night run of Furthur (Phil Lesh and Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead's current configuration) at Red Rocks. It was another marathon travel day where I had breakfast in Bangkok, lunch in Tokyo, an afternoon snack in Salt Lake City and dinner in Denver. The Udon Soup in Tokyo was my favorite.
The shows and the venue were magical. All these years later the boys can still rip it up. The Saturday night show for me was especially amazing, as a matter of fact I would say it was epic. It just doesn't get any better then listening to a Dark Star in Red Rocks while looking out over the valley with the lights of Denver in the background and the full moon rising in the sky. WOW! The entire weekend was full of great friends, great weather, great music and great vibes. What a fun run.
I then journeyed from Denver to New York City where I was greeted at the airport by my incredible niece Danielle. We took the subway into Manhattan and spent a marvelous evening at her apartment on the lower east side. She even treated me to dinner at her favorite local French Restaurant. We smiled and laughed well into the night.
My sister Kelli picked me up from NYC and I hid out at her house for a few days. I had some clothes shopping to do - couldn't show up to surprise my Dad in the same shorts and t-shirt I've been wearing for a year now could I? The food on the east coast, NY and NJ specifically, is some of the best in the world. So I wasted no time getting back into some of the local favorites like pizza, garlic knots, bagels, lox, pork roll, and my absolute favorite thanks to my wonderful sister, my Grandmom's Spaghetti Gravy! Yum!
I then ventured up to White Plains, NY to catch up with some amazing friends. Many of whom I've known now for over 35 years. It is always good to go see those you love and this was a great opportunity to just hang out and get caught up with old friends and their families. A side note is that the Fall foliage was at it's peak and it made for some beautiful scenery in that neck of the woods.
The highlight and purpose of the whole trip came to fruition on October 8, 2010. After checking into The Ritz-Carlton NYC, where I was begrudgingly stuffed into a box that was covered in wrapping paper and a bow and delivered to my Dad as a "Present". I videotaped the entire surprise from the inside of the box and when he finally opened his "Present" the look of surprise and love on his face made it all worthwhile.
The entire family was there - my Mom, Dad, sister Kelli, Jorge, sister Kristin, Terry and my two incredible nieces Danielle and Kasey. My Aunt Marie (Dad's Sister) and Uncle Joe also joined the party for the weekend. What a treat to see everybody and to spend quality time with each one of them.
The Cella-bration was spectacular and will go down in family lore as one of the best party's ever. We did amazing things such as taking Helicopters around New York City where we flew over places like Coney Island, The Statue of Liberty, and Yankee Stadium. We had dinner and entertainment and Birthday cake on a private yacht while cruising around the island of Manhattan in the reflection of the city's lights. Song and Dance lessons by members of the cast of The Addams Family Broadway play (above and beyond the call of duty). A Backstage tour by two of the stars of The Addams Family prior to going to see the show. A family portrait in Times Square taken by the official photographer for the Macy's Day Parade. Many, many delicious meals including steak and lobster at Del Frisco's, hot corned beef sandwiches at Katz's Deli, and actually learning to make pizza in a private cooking school in Midtown. WOW!
The love, laughter, warmth and closeness felt by all was topped off by a very special visit to Ellis Island to take the tour and see the name of my Great Grandfather - Charles P. Cella - on the Wall of Honor. What a phenomenal feeling of being there with my Dad and family in the exact place where our relatives - Italian and Irish - came into America to start their new lives. Thanks to all of those who have made my life possible.
How do you follow up a weekend like that? I'll tell you how, you head off with your closest friends to the brand new Meadowlands Stadium to see a Monday Night Football Game! For all of you non-Americans (yes, you other football fans) MNF is an institution in the USA and there's nothing better then going to see your favorite team - the New York Jets beat up on the Minnesota Vikings live and in color. We suffered through some crazy, intense rain and lighting delays to eventually see the home team come out victorious. The Jets won 29-20. J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!
Not to lose any momentum, two days later I went down to Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY to see Roger Waters perform The Wall Live. Woo hoo! Amazing. The concert/production was absolutely mind boggling. From the first notes to the tearing down of The Wall I was mesmerized. 30 years after Pink Floyd originally played The Wall in Nassau Coliseum Roger returned to blow the roof off the place. If you have a chance to catch this tour anywhere in the world during the next year or so I highly recommend it. Very sweet.
The last week or so has been spent down the Shore at my parents house. They live in an incredible little town called Lavallette in New Jersey which is where I grew up almost every summer of my childhood. The seasons are changing and the weather is getting cool but the warmth of family and the warmth of wonderful memory's has kept the cold from my soul. The sunsets at this time of year are second to none.
I head out today for a much anticipated visit to my own home in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California. Leaving is bitter sweet, it has been a marvelous, incredible visit and I will miss my family and friends on the East Coast but I am looking forward to seeing all those I love on the West Coast.
Down the Shore everything's alright....
Peace and love to all,