When a colleague asked about our plans for the upcoming holiday weekend, I told her that Andrew and Claire each had friends from college who were in town and would be staying with us. I assumed our role was “To stay out of the way.”
Thankfully, I was wrong. Jason, Jordi, Jackie, Kelsey, Claire, and Andrew were delightful guests and hosts, sharing some of their time with us and also giving Candice and me the space to enjoy our weekend with each other.
We began with our “traditional” July 4th celebrations – and all the twins’ friends joined us (rather enthusiastically, I think). While the Takoma Park July 4th parade didn’t have quite the pizzazz of a presidential year (I miss the “Mutts for Mitt” floats with dog puppets on top of cars and there wasn’t anything to reach the level of last year’s “precision grill team”), we still had a great time laughing at the floats and enjoying the world music you always hear at our little slice of Haight-Ashbury here in DC. Afterwards, it was off to our neighborhood pool for the July 4th cookout. It was my first time at the pool this year, but not the last time for the weekend. We enjoyed catching up with old friends while the kids all hit the water on a very hot and sunny day.
Afterwards, Claire, Andrew, and their friends all took off to watch the fireworks on the mall with other friends from college – Andrew from the waterfront in Georgetown, and Claire from a roof at George Washington University (see photo of her great vantage point). After dropping them off, Candice and I found one of the few restaurants open on July 4th (a Mexican restaurant) and ate dinner…which we immediately wished we had skipped. The resulting heartburn put us both on the couch for the evening to watch the fireworks at home.
By Friday we’d recovered and generally had a leisurely day of rest, exercise at the gym, and an early dinner with Jordi and Andrew. Candice had noted that the Bethesda Big Train – one of our local wooden bat league teams – had a home game that night, and we made the decision to head out for a night of small-town baseball. As I’ve written before, we love the feel of these league games, so we joined a sell-out crowd of 700+ at Shirley Povich Field for a terrific night of baseball and a tight, 3-2 Big Train win over the Rockville Express. Both teams wiggled out of bases-loaded jams with less than two outs on a night where pitching and defense were a priority. As we walked back to the car, I opined that this was the best baseball I had seen all season. (The Nats are still hovering around .500, although they are just starting to get healthy.)
Saturday morning began bright and early, as Andrew had a singing “gig” at Franklin Knolls. The team rep had asked if he would sing the National Anthem before the swim meet where the graduating seniors would be recognized. The four of us went (we let our guests sleep in) and we all had a great time catching up with more old friends from swim team days past. We even set a dinner date for later in the summer with a family we enjoy but don’t get to see that often.
Then last evening was the icing on the cake of a very rich weekend. Candice had noticed that the stat geeks from Baseball Prospectus were going to be speaking at Politics and Prose on Saturday. We went early, I had a seat near the front, and I wallowed in 90 minutes of OPS, “bat missing” pitching prospects, and “five tool” players. As you can see from the picture at the top, these guys aren’t pretty, but they are smart (and Candice would add “opinionated”). As one P&P regular put it, these guys are the Nate Silver of baseball. And since Silver started as a stat geek in the sports world, the analogy is apt. Important points from the BP guys: they haven’t given up on the Nats this year, they don’t think Harp is as good as Mike Trout (and they think that the O’s Manny Machado, who turned 21 yesterday, will soon be added to that list of phenoms), and most of them are picking the Cardinals and Tigers for the World Series. Candice and I came home and brought out the steamed crabs we’d picked up late in the afternoon for a good old-fashioned Maryland crab feast with Jason and Claire, followed by a trip to Dolci Gelati in Takoma Park to cleanse our palettes.
Today will be for relaxing, catching up, our 5:30 service at St. Albans, and then dinner with Jordi, Andrew, and Claire. But I was reminded once again of how much I enjoy being with our children when – after dropping Jason off for the bus ride back to NYC – Claire and I enjoyed a Starbucks and the ride home talking about life. When the subject dipped into the environment, Claire spoke passionately about why corn-fed cattle made no sense from an environmental, animal rights, or health care perspective and she went into all the reasons to feed cows grass – which they can actually digest without the use of chemicals! I was reminded of the “Grass is Good” sign at our friend Julie’s wonderful Evensong Farm which – when placed next to the bluegrass band featuring Julie’s dad Tom Gray and the late Mike Auldridge, had a terrific double meaning.
Off to a busy four days this week before Candice and I leave on Friday for three days of “Good Grass” at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival near Staunton.
Happy Independence Day holiday everyone!
More to come…