As the holidays quickly approach you may be considering an airplane trip to see mom, the children, or to enjoy a well-needed vacation. If you are like Anita and me, you might be reluctant to take the plunge. We did it recently because our oldest grandson, David Sanquiche, married the love of his life, Mallory Feeney. The wedding was in Long Island, New York.
They’ve been living together for about three and a half years. We had the pleasure of meeting Mallory shortly after their first date in May of 2017. They probably would have gotten married in 2020, but you all know how scary a big wedding would be during the pandemic. David is a romantic and proposed to his sweetheart at Disney World on the bridge in front of the castle. And this was during Florida’s July heat. It was the only vacation time, David, a U.S. Postal worker could get.
As for us making it to the wedding, we were fortunate to get reservations before airfares skyrocket. So we got a good fare out of our tiny Santa Fe Airport. It’s only a ten-minute drive from our home; the closest we’ve ever lived to an airport. Our fares and flights were pretty good, except for the seven-in-the-morning flight from Santa Fe. However, before we left, that 7:15 flight changed to 7:30, a little better. And we were informed that our other good flight back to Santa Fe which would have gotten us home by 4 or 5 p.m. was canceled, and we would have a 4-hour layover in Denver. It was an inconvenience but we had two United Club passes. And then, while we were traveling I got an email that one of the clubs was being remodeled and it might be difficult to get into the other one.
Going through security on our way out of Santa Fe was a breeze. At my age, 76, I no longer have to take my shoes off. Before we left, a friend mentioned, “At least you don’t have to go through security in Denver. It took my friends four to four and a half hours.”
One of our beef’s about having an early flight and a tight connection in Denver—it made it tough getting something to eat before boarding. There were long lines at all concessions. So we had protein bars to eat on the plane but would be hungry when we got to New York. The whole time I regretted not bringing sandwiches to eat on the plane. They offer some snacks but you have to make sure your credit card is stored on the United App. They don’t accept any cash or credit cards.
Another inconvenience is having to wear your mask from the time you get to the airport until you leave the airport at your final destination. So for us, it started at 7 a.m. until around 5 p.m. New York time. You could remove it while eating or drinking. There were no angry, belligerent people on any of our flights. The one observation made was social distancing on flights and in terminals is difficult to accomplish.
LaGuardia Airport was our final destination. If you haven’t been there recently, there has been an ongoing remodeling of the entire airport going on for the last few years. It looks very nice. They have a new system for getting your rental car, though. We rented from Hertz so we had to take the airport terminal shuttle from Terminal B to Terminal A where we transferred to the Hertz shuttle to take you to the car lot.
Of course, we arrived at the height of the New York rush hour(s). The parkways and local streets in that part of Queens were bumper to bumper. So we decide to go to dinner in my old neighborhood of Corona. We went to Parkside in Corona Heights across from a little community park they call, Spaghetti Park. The old Italians used to hang out there and play cards and Bocce.
The restaurant is an old traditional Italian establishment. They start you off with a little appetizer plate with some bruschetta, pieces of sharp provolone cheese, some pieces of pickled red peppers, small slices of salami, prosciutto, and a basket of bread and bread stuffed with dried meat. We washed it down with glasses of Prosecco. Their entrées are sumptuous, Anita ordered linguini with white clam sauce. The dish was ringed with whole little necks. I ordered the chicken francais, It’s one of my daughter Deb’s favorites. Both of our dishes were delicious. Glad we only ate protein bars on the plane. We had expresso afterward, and Parkside provided a plate of small biscottis. And that was just the beginning of eating Italian food.
When we left the restaurant, traffic hadn’t improved that much on our trip to Hauppauge, Long Island where we stayed for the week.
The wedding festivities started Thursday evening with the rehearsal dinner. There was no rehearsal just an opportunity to meet the families, bridal party, and eat. It was at another Italian restaurant named Patrizia’s. The first course consisted of eighteen appetizers; the first was a burrata cheese, then fried calamari, eggplant parm, just to name a few. We had to pace ourselves. There were several entrees, then coffee and dessert. It was Sharon Feeney, the bride's mom’s birthday and we sang happy birthday and had birthday cake.
The wedding was Friday evening at a luxurious venue called Flowerfield. The weather earlier in the day was rainy but by mid-day, the sun came out for outdoor pictures. As grandparents, we had to be there at 5 p.m. to participate in the photo session. By nightfall, it was slightly chilly, but not too cold for the ceremony to be held outdoors. It was performed by the bride's brother Ryan who did an excellent job.
We all laughed when the newlyweds were saying, “I do’s,” a noisy train could be heard in the background. Then the train whistle sounded followed by a siren. That made it official—they were married. The couple had a large bridal party consisting of friends and relatives. David’s parents and Mallory’s looked lovely; the father’s in their tux’s and mom’s in their evening dresses.
(David and Deb Sanquiche and Sharon and Shaun Feeney--the parents)
Then the guests entered into a large room with a Koi pond and wooden bridge over the pond. There was a large variety of filling appetizers and drinks. You would think that was enough food for the night, but there was a sit-down dinner that started with a duck breast appetizer. For dinner, you could choose Filet Mignon, a huge pork chop, seabass, or spinach ravioli. I chose the lighter ravioli dish. Anita had the filet and gave me a piece to try. It melted in your mouth. Everyone raved about the food. Later on, the wedding cake was served along with coffee. There was also an apple strudel available but by that time we were too full to partake.
The next day, there was a brunch at our daughter Deb’s and son-in-law David’s house. About fifty people showed up including the bride and groom. Once again, there was a large amount of delicious food. Those three days were lovely but took a toll on our waistlines.
A few days later, we made our return home. We left our hotel in Happaugh early to get to LaGuardia Airport for our 12:30 p.m. flight. We were zipping along in the HOV lane on the Long Island Expressway with our GPS guiding us. Something went wrong. We went through a time warp or something because when we should have followed the sign on the Cross Island Parkway to LGA which was nearby, it sent us over the Throgs Neck Bridge into the Bronx. We immediately turned around at the first exit. The GPS kept telling us to make a U-turn. It also said our final destination was a day and some hours away. We think it was sending us to somewhere in New England.
By that time, I knew where I was and how to get to LGA so we turned our GPS off. We drove on Northern Boulevard to Junction Boulevard that took us right into the airport. After turning our rental in at Hertz we rode the two shuttle buses that got us to the United terminal.
Going through security at LGA was quick and efficient. Our flight out was on time and not full. We both had aisle seats with no one else in our row. We arrived in Denver a few minutes early for our 4-hour layover. Fortunately, we were able to get into the open United club. We sat comfortably, had some food and drinks until our flight to Santa Fe which got us in after 8 p.m. We didn’t arrive home until about 9 p.m. It was a long 14 hour day.
In summary, it was a thrill to see our grandson and his bride married. Flying wasn’t so bad. Wearing a mask all day wasn’t pleasant and as I said earlier there weren’t any obnoxious travelers on our flight. We were able to remove our masks in between bites of food and sips of drinks.
Congratulations to David and Mallory. Wishing you a long and happy life together.
Wishing everyone who reads this has a safe and happy holiday season.