“The Two Washingtons”
Last year at about this time, Kay and I were on our way back from a trip to Washington DC. It had been a spur of the moment trip brought about by an invitation from Dardon Ann, my sister-in-law, who asked if we wanted to share her hotel suite while she was attending a convention.
Dardon Ann is just weird as she can be. I’m nice as all get out, but no way am I asking any of the in-laws to share a hotel room. I can count on two fingers the number of immediate family members I’d share a room with.
The DC experience gast flabbered me. I mean, it was flabbergasting. (Note to self: Research origin of word “flabbergasting.”) So much to see and do. So many neat people to meet. And a fireworks display that was among the biggest disappointments of my life. In Washington DC, it rained the evening of July 4, 2016. The video of the fireworks shown to TV viewers was of the 2015 fireworks.
Those at the site watched the rockets’ red glare illuminate the inside a thick cloud. Just imagine what the words of our national anthem would be had it rained the morning Francis Scott Key stepped out on the deck of a British ship to see if the flag over Fort McHenry was still there. “O’ say, I can’t see…”
Back to the present. Kay and I now find ourselves in another Washington. Grandview, located in beautiful Washington State. Remember? My sister Sue asked us to stay in her home for a few months while our new house near Conroe is being built. (Don’t make me go through that story again.) One week we’re about ready to sign a lease on an apartment in Conroe, the next week we’re loading up for a cross-country move.
Remember, I never asked to go to DC. Our presence was requested. Same with Grandview. Susan just writes “Please come to Washington.” I’ve said it before, but it begs repeating. I’m pretty sure Kay is the real draw here. I’m the person whose name pops up when someone asks, “What’s the downside to all this?”
But, what’s done is done. It’s not my fault if I mess up things for others. Hey, I didn’t ask to move out here. But, boy, am I glad we did. It’s been a blast.
On the Fourth, we got to see a real fireworks display that was many times better than what we tried to focus on in DC. We were seated in lawn chairs outside the football stadium of the Prosser High School Mustangs. Prosser is the closest town to Grandview that could afford a fireworks display.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it more than twice, but it gets dark late up here. It has to do with the earth being a sphere and having a smaller circumference the nearer you go to each pole. Then you take the rays of the sun and you, uh… I don’t know. It’s a visual lesson. Just accept it will you? Days are longer, nights shorter during Washington summer compared to Texas summer.
At Mustang Stadium, fireworks didn’t start rocketing until 10:00. We were there at 8:45. Way too early for me, but had I suggested a later departure the kids would’ve killed me. Some have yet to warm up to Uncle Mark. If Big Al were here, they’d be jumping in his lap and pulling on his ears. The guy pretends to be a big ogre around kids, and they just love him for it. Just beats all I’ve ever seen.
One second after the first rocket went off all the kids swung into excitement mode. Pointing, laughing, yelling, singing… The kind of excited behavior most sober adults find hard to generate. They were making fun sounds I too seldom get to hear.
We’re only two weeks into our five month stay, and I’ve already gotten involved with more people doing more fun stuff than is emotionally healthy for me. It’s caused me to miss so many naps. Kay seems to be doing all she can to keep us on the go. She walked in a few minutes ago to inform me about a drive we’re taking tomorrow to Mount Rainier.
Some friends of our Washington family took a drive to Mount Rainier early last week to camp out, and said that it snowed on ‘em. The draw of camping out on Mount Rainier is every bit as enticing as my desire to camp out in the field next to the goats. The last time I camped out was during the brothers’ hike in the Colorado Rockies several years back. That experience pretty well muted any call of the wild for me.
Making a one day trip to any site requiring a three hour drive to get to is an undertaking that bumps right up against my threshold of tolerance. And get this, Kay says we can’t stay the night at a hotel, because Curt and Rhonda will be out of town, and she has to water the garden and help with the goat milking. I’ve got no business being here.
I’ve heard that it’s good to occasionally break out of one’s comfort zone. I last heard it from Dardon Ann. I believe the philosophy originated with Eric the Red. As for Flabbergasting? The word was first introduced in an article found in Britain’s “Annual Register” printed in 1772. The origin is unknown. If I ever run out of things to do, I may make up an origin. I’ll pencil it in for Early October.
Please contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org for an comments or questions.