Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We are back from picking up Jack.

We drove up on Friday to New York, and stayed overnight with Lisa, Bruce, Evan and Alex. The next day we had brunch with some really nice friends of theirs. We made it to Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon. We stayed at a hotel on a lake not far from Palmer, Massachusetts where the camp is, and Joe was loving it. There were ducks and other kids for him to play with. When we were having dinner out on this deck on a beach at the lake, a nice man who came to the restaurant on a boat with his kids was telling us how lucky he is to wake up and go waterskiing barefoot every morning. That sounded nice.

I remembered the place across from our hotel, the old Sturbridge Village, from when Grandma and Papa Teddy and I picked up Aunt Jen at Camp Ramah back in 1973 or 74 when she went there. I called Aunt Jen to tell her where we were. It is too bad that Hannah doesn't go to camp there with Jack.

We arrived at Ramah at 10 am on Sunday and there was a long line of cars waiting to get in. I joked with Mom that she was using all of her self restraint not to jump out of the car and run up to Jack's bunk.

When we finally got up to Jack's bunk he was there ready for us. We didn't need to read his shirt to know what to do. When it was my turn, Jack jumped up into my arms and I got a great long hug. Yummy.

Jack looked great. His hair was long, feet were muddy and his smile was a mile wide. He introduced us to his counselors -- one was from England -- and his bunkmates. When we went into the cabin it was a beautiful thing to behold. It was a glorious mess of boy stuff. Packages of Twizzlers, wet towels and smelly shoes were thrown all over the place.

I was jealous.

Jack said that he got more mail than anyone. Psych. We are really good at overdoing things in this family.

He was already talking about plans for camp for next summer. He wants more of his friends from home to come. Aside from Matthew and Sam, he wants David and Max to go. We'll have to talk to their parents. Oh, you know who was at camp, Eyal from your class at the Gan. I am not sure I spelled that right. It was good to see his parents.

When we were driving from the hotel to the camp we stopped to ask for directions. The man told us to take a left at the blue cow. Blue cow? The blue cow was at an ice cream place called Rondeau's. I remembered Aunt Jen talking about Rondeaus when we were kids.

We went to Rondeaus after we put all of Jack's stuff in the car. All of his buddies and their parents went to get ice cream and make camp last a little bit longer.

Does Mom look happy to see Jack? Everyone got Root Beer floats.

Matthew's family told us they were going to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts which was really close to Palmer. I thought it was a great place, especially because the whole bottom floor was a basketball court and there were plenty of basketballs for people to shootaround with.

I was lucky enough to get tickets for us to all to go see the Yankees play the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston that night. We headed straight to Fenway after the Basketball Hall of Fame. We got there about 3 hours before the game and had a great time. They close off the streets by the ballpark and there are a million people out.

We had dinner at this sports bar, Game On, and got a perfect table right out on the street. I was feeling blessed.

It was fun watching all of the people walk by. The DJ at the bar played great music to get everyone excited for the game. One of the songs they played and that they play at each game at the middle of the eighth inning was/is Sweet Caroline. You know I was thinking of you.

And of course we had to go shopping for Red Sox stuff. The guys got jerseys. I wonder if Washington fans will ever love the Nationals the way that the New England fans love the Red Sox. It will take years and years.

The game started at 8:05 pm and about an hour after it started it began to rain. When you include our rained out trip to Busch Stadium in St. Louis, we have a pretty high rain to ballgame percentage. But luckily, this wasn't a rainout, only a rain delay. The delay lasted about an hour.

By the time they started to play again it was pretty late and Jack was falling asleep. We headed to our hotel, missing David Ortiz's homerun, and everyone fell asleep right away but I stayed up to watch the rest of the game on TV. I fell asleep about 1 am and it was tied 5-5 going into extra innings. I kinda sensed that when I woke up I would see that the Yankees had won. I was right. It was a terrible weekend for the Red Sox. But even though it rained and even though the Red Sox lost, we all had a great time and I still felt blessed.

Next year we are all going to go on the tour of Fenway that I took last summer. Hopefully the Sox will be in town and we will see a win.

The weather cleared up the next morning for our ride back to Washington. Mom and I thought it would be fun to stop at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. We have talked about stopping there for years because they have beluga whales.

There is a beluga swimming just to the left side of everyone in this picture. It was a great stop. I would love to see them in the wild some day.

There were 3 of these whales. They are so peaceful and beautiful. I asked Joe if he thought we can keep one in the pool in St. Michaels.

The remainder of the car ride back was long but fun. We all got along well which isn't easy when you are packed in a small space for such a long time. This might be left over from all of our trips with you to the hospitals in Minnesota and New York and New Jersey.

At one point we were stuck in really bad traffic in New York so we made a movie and interviewed everyone in the car. It was nice to talk about how great it was to see Jack again.

Joe loves to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame. He sang that for a few hundred miles. Mom gave him her iPod and then he sang along with Weird Al Yankovic songs for a few hundred more. Joe likes to make noise -- it doesn't matter if it is singing or talking or doing play-by-play when he plays Gameboy or just making sounds. Not sure where that comes from.

Jack is just the opposite. If I didn't look in the back seat I wouldn't know he was in the car. He just sits and reads and listens to his iPod.

It was pretty late as we got close so we started cranking tunes, like the music from the movie School of Rock and AC/DC, and signing along... loud. I think everyone was excited about getting home. How cool is it that we all like the same music. I like being able to introduce Jack to songs I think he will like. At one point he asked me why Ted Williams and Jimi Hendrix are similar. I said because they were both great left-handers. He explained that he was thinking about how much better they were than their respective teammates/bandmates. I was impressed.

With you being gone forever, I think Mom, especially, was worried about Jack leaving and him never coming home. She said it was nice to wake up this morning and go downstairs to see everyone laying around on the couch in their PJs. I think we are all okay.

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