As the parkway takes me through New Jersey's lonely Pine Barrens, the gray sky hangs low and I mourn the loss of my extended family; my grandparents, my parents, even my brother Andy, all of them are gone. I think about how infrequently I get to see my own small family, too. I spend my weekdays in an apartment in New York City, a sacrifice I make for my jobs. Meanwhile, my wife Heijung and my two boys, Sean, 24, and Gianni, 21, live almost three hours away in Cape May. With just the four of us, Christmas is far more modest than it was back in Philly. Still, family is at its heart. It's dusk when I arrive in Cape May, but before heading home I stop at the Lobster House, a rambling restaurant and fish market along the harbor that's been in the same family since the 1920s. My reasons for coming here are twofold. I need to pick up some smoked whiting and fresh scallops for the chowder that will kick off Christmas dinner. But I've also come to visit Gianni, who works the counter. I'll see him at home later tonight, but what can I say, I miss the guy.