Tuesday, October 29, 2013

50 Years Out and Sailing Home

Goldilocks and the Silver Fox headed for Annapolis, Maryland (is there any other?) in late October, and once again I received two validations:  1) USNA Classmates are close forever, and 2) Bonnie is a trooper and a great partner in Life, 4th Quarter.
Non-stop flight ABQ-BWI on Tuesday brought us to the Country Inn and Suites that evening.  After unpacking, we headed out in the dark to parts unknown, and neon lights drew us in to Buddy's Crabs and Ribs, a second story seafood place in downtown Annapolis that had ribs for the non-seafood Bonnie - and yes, it was named for his best friend Buddy.
Wednesday was ours to spend as we wished, heading toward dinner that night with brother Pete and friend Little Bear at The Chart House in Alexandria.  I thought it best to locate the Chart House first, in the harsh light of morning.  We headed for Alexandria, unfortunately I programmed in One Commerce Street when Chart House is at One Cameron Street - so we undertook a nice walking tour of Old Town Alexandria. On our return long walk to One Commerce Street, we stopped at La Madeleine's, one of a chain started in Texas by a Frenchman who befriended either Neimann or Marcus.  Set up as a French Bistro, once you figure out the routine it is a great place!   I had a bowl of hot soup, and we split a hot pasta and turkey sandwich plus a tart or two, relaxed and used the facilities.
Back in our rented Toyota Camry, we headed for Pete's Place, which is at the far end of the Metro, Yellow Line - but we had to call him to find out that although you can walk to it from his condo, to drive to it takes a little more doing:  more on Huntington than South 1st.  Very nice Metro folks helped re-familiarize me with buying two passes, $8.45 each, for round-trip to WWII memorial on the Mall near Smithsonian stop.
 Switched to Blue Line at L'Enfant Plaza, and got off at Smithsonian, to realize just how big the Mall is - so how did they close this place to the Vets?  Long walk to WW II, and the volunteers at the Info booth confirmed that there are no shuttle buses for the Mall area.  We started walking to the Martin Luther King memorial to catch a cab, but ended up back on the Metro, near the Dept of Agriculture (nice display of real corn and squash growing outside!  Farmer's Market every Friday morning!).
Meanwhile, Pete had asked to move up our dinner date from 6 pm to 5 pm - but hey, it was only 4 pm now, so why not stop by Arlington Cemetery and visit my parents' graves?  Not a well-thought out plan ... turns out Arlington is closed to vehicles now, and Section 23, Bonnie finds out, means it is ~23 miles from the entry point.  Turns out the Paris Boots Bonnie has been wearing for this day are not great after all for long walks - we had already walked all over Old Town Alexandria, the Mall, and now Arlington ... Bonnie had to take her socks off, then her boots, and traipsed barefoot across soldiers and sailors all the way to Section 23.  Even worse, I had not asked for a map of where Blackledge, Allan D was buried because, of course, I should be able to find it again, right?  Wrong!  Bonnie actually was a tad upset that I had pushed her on this Death March to Section 23, and had no idea where the marker was.  If I had a smart phone ... I could have called up this photo by David McInturrf on FindAGrave.com - see the marker for Dorothy in the background? Allan is on the obverse! And just 3 rows back from Sigbees Road!  See the Maine Mast peeking through the tree? See the dang tree?  Easy to find!   However, at least we had a fun Korean family accompany us out, and (even though Bonnie hid in a large bunch of kids) re-found us on the way back.
I had to call Pete to tell him we were wandering through Section 23, it was already 5 pm, and we were an hour out from Chart House.  However, wandering back to the entry and towards the Metro, and ducking Koreans, I had the thought, why not take a cab?  But then we had to walk from the last cab in the line up to the first - it's protocol - to get our cab.  The cabbie was living the real American dream, old school - he was from Ghana and had three sons, two daughters, was helping his younger daughter with her homework, this was the second of two jobs, and he showed us the text book he was studying in the cab for his next test as a bus mechanic.  Wow!  And Pete and Little Bear were surprised that we made it by 5:30 pm!  Pete even bought dinner for us!  Great day!
Oh yeah, the Reunion?  See next Blog!
   -  Silver Fox