Sunday, February 09, 2003

O Henry:

I am writing to you from down in Virginia Beach. I am sitting in the car with Joe, who is snoozing, while Mom and Jack and Sam and Joseph and Jacob and Andy are inside the Virginia Marine Science Museum. I can well imagine the smile that is on Jack's face. Ear to ear. All of them went out on a boat to see whales but there weren't any to be seen.



Humpbacks and Fins are supposed to be migrating off the coast right now but they must be keeping a low profile. When they all were on the boat, Joe and I went to a place here called "Cape Henry." I knew Mom's been itching to see some whales (you should have seen her smile when I suggested she go on the boat with Jack), and everyone was disappointed that we had to cancel the trip to Maine last summer. The truth is I was really psyched to go to Cape Henry, first, obviously, the name, and second, I really like lighthouses. We saw great ones in Maine when Mom and I vacationed up there before you were born, and I saw a neat TV program once about how they work. Do you remember Pete's Dragon. They operate a lighthouse in that movie. There are two lighthouses at your Cape, one really old and one that is pretty new. The old lighthouse was built at the orders of the First Session of the First Congress of the United States, in 1789. It's older than Aunt Ida!



That's the old one in the foreground. I carried Joe up 191 stairs. The new one is really beautiful. The colors are cool and it has a lot of detailed stonework that no-one builds anymore. You can't go up in the newer one.

When the first lighthouse was about 60 years old it was inspected and described as being "a fine cut-stone tower... in excellent order...." Only eight years later they found "large cracks or openings" in six of its eight sides. They decided to build a new tower right next door. It still amazes me how things can seem strong and okay one minute and fall apart the next. How does that happen?

When we left DC yesterday with Sam in our car Mom said that it felt like we left you at home. The car seemed incomplete, almost empty, without you in it. I felt that way last night in the hotel. The last time I stayed in a hotel was with you. I am glad that we watched all of those R rated movies on HBO. Do you remember that American Outlaws movie we watched so many times. The guy who played Jesse James, his name is Colin Farrell and he is becoming a big movie star now. You weren't paying attention to the bad words, right.



I was super duper sad starting on Thursday, but I am feeling a lot better now. Mom isn't. Last night she had a "panic" attack. She needed to see you really badly, and it made her "panic" when she knew that she couldn't. It is sometimes hard for us to understand that we cannot see you or talk to you or touch you when we are doing things that you normally did with us. How can I go to the clinic at Georgetown and you aren't with me. How can we go on a family outing and you aren't in the car singing along to Out of Habit or the Spongebob theme song. It doesn't make sense; you are still part of this family.



This is a good place to sit in the car. There is a Harbor Seal tank in front of the museum and I can watch them play. It makes me think of all the times we'd watch the sea lions get fed at the Central Park Zoo. Do you remember all those times we'd drive up to see Mom at Cornell. I was telling Mom yesterday while we were driving here how I used to throw Cheerios back at you and Jack like you were seals. We had a lot of fun. Wow, there's a pelican. That makes me think about Captiva. It'll be hard to go back to Florida without you.

I have to admit that I toyed ever so slightly with the idea that if we were going to see a whale it would be because of you. Maybe I didn't go because I didn't want to be disappointed. But Nana and Papa Sy told us yesterday that they saw a bald eagle when they went out to St. Michaels. Perhaps you made that happen.



I guess the good thing is you didn't miss seeing any whales.

Love you,

Dad

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