Hell of a Guy
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This Past Weekend


Heading toward St. Louis on Southwest #311 and thinking about what a great weekend I had.  The Nancy and I took Friday and Monday off and those two days added to Saturday and Sunday made it The Best Weekend Ever.

For a number of years I have wanted to take The Nancy to Upstate New York to show here where I was stationed as a member of the US Air Force back in the mid-60s.  After a few years of nagging her to make the trip she agreed to go.  Rome, New York is about 400 miles from The Farm.  Knowing what the town looked like seventeen years ago on my last trip there, another life with a different wife, I knew I would have to make it interesting for her.  Together we decided a tour of New England would add to the adventure, so we planned a route to take us to all six New England states for her and added stops for me at a few micro-breweries along the route.

The tour began with a visit to the Appalachian Brewery in Harrisburg, PA – good beer, good food, and three six packs to go.  Perfect!  The second stop was in Rome, New York with the idea of going to the Plaza Restaurante for a pizza.  Unfortunately, the Plaza was closed due to the death of the owner.  His death also killed off the best pizza I have ever had…at least that is my memory of it.

We were only in Rome for one night.  Once there we made quick tour of what was Griffiss Air Force Base and is now an industrial park.  Most of what I remember is torn down and replaced with open spaces or new buildings of every sort.  The old base dining hall is still standing, as is the building I worked in as a “Recreational Specialist,” which is a nice way of saying “fuck up.”  It was a job I got by whining my way out of the Air Police unit to which I was assigned as an Air Cop – hated it.  Anyway, the Silver Wings Service Club building is in a complete state of disrepair, as was a lot of what is left of the buildings I remember. 

Nonetheless, we enjoyed our time there (well, I did, anyway).  After a nice Italian dinner at the Savoy we headed back to our hotel room for some good beer from our six-pack stash and a good nights sleep.

Saturday we headed out on our tour and stop one in Bennington, Vermont, and the Madison Brewery for a couple of brews and some lunch. 

Vermont is the Green State and aptly named for the brilliant greens of the countryside.  We were just a little early for the fall colors.  From just outside of the western border to the eastern border of the state we were on a two-lane road that was fun to drive on as it took us into New Hampshire and the Portsmouth Brewery Company in, you guessed it, Portsmouth, New Hampshire – good beer, good food, and lots and lots of people walking around in this quaint NE town.

We spent Saturday night in Wells, Maine about fifteen miles north of Portsmouth.  By the time we got to our hotel and to our room we were almost too exhausted to drink more beer and watch West Virginia go down to Auburn (WVU gave away the victory, Auburn did not win), but we did, and did it until nearly 12:30.

I was up at 6 on Sunday morning, got my hour in on the treadmill, and spent about another thirty minutes trying to arouse The Nancy, so to speak.  We finally left the hotel about 10:30 and headed north toward Portland, Maine on Route 1.  At some points we veered off the highway and got as close to the coast as we could, beautiful coast, I might add.  I decided there are some big bucks people living in Maine’s coastal towns.  One easily can tell just by the massive estates that dot the rocky coast.

We arrived in Portland just in time for lunch, as was the plan, and after a few questions to an interesting parking lot attendant, we found Gritty’s, yet another micro-brewery, and a great beer in a 21 IPA, some good eats of salsa and chips, and a side of mac and cheese, which was excellent. 

After lunch and a walk around downtown Portland (an old seaside town) we headed south and a 300-plus mile drive through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island and into Connecticut and our destination for the evening, Norwalk.  I had planned another brewery stop, but we were just too wiped out from the drive.  We did find a beer bar not far from the hotel where we grabbed some food and a couple of drinks and headed back to the hotel and some badly needed rest. 

Monday would bring a 379-mile drive to home with only a stop for lunch.  The Lancaster Brewing Company in Pennsylvania provided us with some great beer, a really good pizza and a leisurely break in the drive. 

We finally arrived home about 4:30 on Monday after 1500 miles of fun, The Nancy mildly complaining the car seat now being a part of her anatomy.     

I apologize for the long narrative.  It was a long trip, but it was the Best Weekend Ever.

And that is all I have to say about tha

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Picking Up More than Food Tips


I may have mentioned here a few thousand times how much I enjoy being in the kitchen.  Cooking is therapeutic for me.  I enjoy watching the food network almost as much as spending time in the kitchen.

Not too terribly long ago I watched a Food Network show, and as luck or old age would have it I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the show, but it may have been Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  Anyway, someone asked some guy “How are you?”  His answer immediately was implanted somewhere in the deep recesses of my cerebellum or medulla oblongata and I have not forgotten it and use it often.  He said, “If I were any better I would have to run backwards to keep from flying.”

It’s mine now.  It is so cool.  When I use it I can see people are taken aback by it.  It does not register or resonate with them; they just don’t get it.

I make a valiant attempt to make people understand how they feel about a day, how they feel about themselves, how they feel about the world and life solely depends on their attitude toward it.  Mine is perfect, I think.

My granddaughter taught me about “The Best Day Ever,” and I have declared everyday since to be just that.  The Nancy uses it, as well.  It is how we begin each day, and it works just by declaring it so.  Yep!  It is truly that easy.

If I were any better I’d be twins.  If fact, if it gets any better I will have to run backwards just to keep from flying.  This is the best day ever.  It’s just another day in Paradise.  And it sure as hell doesn’t hurt that it is a Saturday.

And that is all I have to say about that…   

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Day of Reflextion and Remembrance


What more can be said?  Best to remain silent and remember.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Day After - September 8th


Yesterday, Labor Day 2009, we held our second Annual Labor Day Cookout at The Farm.  The Nancy and I planned for up to fifty guests, and shared our day with about thirty-five to forty of those we invited.  Mostly adults with a sprinkling of kids, it was a mixed bag, for sure – mostly people from The Nancy’s office.  We also had friends we have made at our favorite Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, restaurant, that being the famous Lot 12, and a few neighbors.  Of course, out where we live we only have a few neighbors.

The Nancy and I own a Jeep Wrangler, kind of a “farm use” vehicle.  In the warm months I take the doors and the side curtains off, making for a breezy ride, and the kids that come always ask for a ride in the Jeep.  Yesterday I must have made a dozen or so trips through the field trails with squealing, excited kids bouncing up and down as much as their seatbelts would allow.  One young man asked me to just go just “medium fast.”  Some others wanted to go as fast as we could go.  In those fields thirty miles an hour feels like traveling at the speed of sound.  I think they enjoy all the bumping and the openness and the wind blowing in their little faces.  I just enjoy listening to their excitement.

One of our guests is somewhat of a local enigma in Berkeley Springs.  He’s a local attorney who reportedly could have funded the Stimulus Package out of his savings, though you would probably guess by his appearance couldn’t afford a haircut or decent clothing.  I like the guy, but he always looks as though he slept in his clothes and lacks personal hygiene, and certainly could not own a comb or brush from the look of his hair.  He drives a car that appears to have been in a demolition derby; it has dents and dings from bumper to bumper.  Eccentric hardly describes him, but it does fit.

We put the food inside and the drinks outside.  A circle of chairs wrapped around the big maple tree just outside the porch door, and that is where nearly everyone stayed.  The kids couldn’t decide whether to be outside or inside, that is if they weren’t bugging me for another Jeep ride.  We all managed to fill our stomachs with salads, burgers, hotdogs and ribs, and a host of other dishes – hot and cold, and loads of cakes, pies and other sweets.  You might guess some beer and wine was consumed, and more than a few sodas for the kids.

It’s fun to have people at our home.  We love it.  This group started coming at two and the last to leave made it off the property just after dark.  Today is a school day, so we knew most people would be out of there fairly early, and that allowed for The Nancy and I to get it all put back together before we crashed in the bed.  A party like this is a lot of work, a lot of prep, but it is really a whole lot of fun and really tiring.  Neither of us had a bit of trouble falling a sleep or staying asleep, and we decided this morning a third Annual Labor Day Cookout will definitely be held in 2010.  Plan to be there, if you can?

And that is all I have to say about that…