My grandmother lives in a place called Grand Island, New York where people wave often and talk to each other in the streets, children play and ride their bicycles without supervision, and neighbors know enough about each other to make passing comments like, "She has three sons, none of them are married, and they all have cats".
Her quiet neighborhood, idyllic in the months of June, July, and August, seems untouched by time. I can say that, since I spent the past 13 years not visiting, and, when I returned, so much of it remained recognizable and seemingly unchanged. Grand Island is right outside Buffalo, and, some might say, worlds outside the "New York" of stereotypes.
I was impressed by the amount of water in the trip, from the majesty of Niagara Falls to an impromptu Saturday ride on my uncle's boat. We went for a walk each morning, where it would rain sporadically, preparing to open up into afternoon sunshine. I was impressed that we saw sunshine at all. I even got to explore the downtown scene (at night, no pictures!) and people were out wearing shorts and dresses instead of the hats and gloves that I had imagined (and brought with me). Buffalo, I've given you a bad rap.
Hopefully, this time around it will take less than 13 years for me to go back.