The Litman Mishpuchah (including Renee & Irv from Florida) was gathering in Northern Virginia for Rosh Hashanah, so we thought it a good time to go back to the States and catch up with everyone. To make it a fuller family experience, we also trekked to Pittsburgh to visit the Johnson Clan. Flights from Grenada to the US are not frequent, so cobbling together an itinerary wasn’t easy. But many hours after starting our journey we met Patti’s sister Karen at Dulles Airport and the family whirlwind visit began: dinner at David & Micky’s (with a belated birthday celebration for Ronnie); temple services with Karen & Ronnie followed by an in-gathering in Centreville; new bow rollers custom ordered in Annapolis; outing at Frying Pan Park with the littlest Litmans Leah & Roi to watch an equestrian competition, see baby pigs, and pet goats; rides in Jay’s hot, red Opel GT; meeting Galen in DC; BBQ at Karen’s; Chinese food at David’s; great big shopping mall shopping as well as the culture shock of Costco after being in Caribbean stores for so long; hair styling by Lauren; and of course as a denouement, pizza. Aahhhh, America.
Then off to Pittsburgh. We had rented a car, so our first stop was to swing over to Annapolis to pick up the much needed bow rollers (there are no plastic machine shops on the island of Grenada... so this was just easier.) Then the 5-hour drive northwest through coal country -- the Appalachian scenery and historic places keeping the ride interesting. Arriving in Pittsburgh we realized that we had packed a little too light as the temperature dipped into the 50s at night and we didn’t have jackets. No matter... it’s America... we went everywhere in a car anyway. We visited John’s parents in their new home in Mt. Lebanon, a beautiful apartment with a terrific view over the valley. And we probably bored them to tears with our slide show -- 500 of our best photos from the last 15 months aboard the Anhinga! We were also able to have dinner with John’s brother Stephen and sister-in-law Tracey. It was good to see them all again. We drove through John's old neighborhoods and punctuated our visit with dinner at Primanti’s in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. John’s father was embarrassed for us, acting like tourists and going to this place. But, where else can you get a sandwich with the french fries in the sandwich? And to complete the meal, John of course indulged in an Iron City beer, the best beer on the planet.
Returning back to Grenada we couldn’t believe how fast the trip to the States went. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by family, being there for the every day events as well as special times. We won’t wait so long to do it again.