And the summer officially begins, at least commercially. The tourists began arriving last Wednesday evening, clogging the major and minor roadways. It seems that what once was a three-day holiday weekend has morphed into one lasting five days.
After a good session with the therapist Thursday morning, I made my way into town for a service of healing held at a local church at 11:30 a.m. It was an interesting experience and well attended. I didn’t know what to expect, so I was pleased and comforted as a result. By afternoon, traffic was bumper to bumper as I desperately tried to run a few errands on my day off. Finally made it back to the house, made a drink, and settled in. Was watching a movie when my housemate’s brother arrived. We chatted a while before heading off to our respective beds. Work would be demanding this weekend and I needed some rest.
By the time I left work on Friday evening traffic was nothing short of gridlock and it took me twice as long to get home than usual. As I pulled into the driveway the brother was right behind me with a humongous load of groceries. I helped him unload the truck and asked why he bought so much for the short three-day weekend. “Well, it’s a holiday weekend and we’re going to spend some family time, cook out, and have some friends around” he answered. Then added, “I hope you’ll be around to share this with me. Act one is tonight – steaks and corn on the cob – with the encore tomorrow of more steaks, chicken, and corn. And I’ve invited my gal-pal and an army buddy and his wife to join us tomorrow evening.” Note: the bro and his buddy had already served in Afghanistan and Iraq and we’re praying that he isn’t called up again.
I didn’t know what to say. I was shocked that he would even consider including me in his weekend festivities. The housemate (the other brother) had not been informed of these plans and having to work a 12-hour shift that day, also had invitations to parties and chose not to join us.
Friday evening it was just the two of us sharing stories as we munched on fresh sweet corn and delicious NY strip steaks. And Saturday, following another long exhausting day at the store I returned to the house to be met my Mark’s gal-pal (his name for her) Jenna and a very much appreciated gin martini with olives. As we prepared the corn for the grill, Jenna picked my brain about Broadway shows. She’s a singer and does community theatre in the DC area. She happened to notice my WICKED CD and began asking Mark about me. He assured her that we would get along fine. He was right.
When the buddy and his lady arrived (with a case of Corona and limes) we sat on the deck as the sun began to fade and the air was cooled by a light breeze. I made vodka martinis for Mark and Jenna as the other couple guzzled those Coronas. The shared meal of steak, chicken, and corn was even better with so many at the table laughing and enjoying the company of strangers.
Talk ran the gamut from politics, the war, gasoline prices, Katrina, the economy, and finally the real meaning of this weekend. These guys are army and have lost friends and though that was not a topic of conversation, they did tell stories of their time in Kosovo. Most of them quite funny. As we say in New Orleans ‘a good time was had by all’ and I slept the sleep of the grateful last night.
Today, aside from being Memorial Day Sunday, was Pentecost Sunday, as a result not only was the church filled but also it was a sea of red. The service was wonderful as was the message [which was all about unity and not uniformity] and the Spirit filled my heart and blessed me greatly.
After service my friend Bob and I went to brunch where he tried to instruct me in the many forms of investments available and likely to encounter, and which ones to stay away from. Poor man, had to learn how truly ignorant I am about this sort of thing. But he was patient and promised a list of options in my inbox in the near future. Bob is great fun to be with – laughs easily (and has a great laugh), is easy going, gracious, and was a great help during my exodus.
OK, so I felt less blessed as I drove through the nightmare traffic (why weren’t these people at the beach???) trying to get home without getting broad sided by some cell phone addicted driver.
The tourist season is upon us. I saw a bumper sticker today that read “Why do we call it Tourist Season if we can’t shoot at them?” Ahem! This one may be more relevant in August.