This one was glad to see us and, boy, were we glad to see her, too! Ten days was fun, but too long to be away from our girl. I guess we are suckers for that wagging tail and soulful eyes.
We had a splendid trip packed with all kinds of pleasures - My Beloved's 50th prep school reunion where he got to connect with 25 of his classmates, three days with my older bro and his wife, a couple of days with my Fairy Goddaughter and her fiancé, not to mention touristy things in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
If you go to Philly in the summer, don't miss Philadelphia Water Ice, a treat similar to shave ice in Hawaii. We can also recommend sitting in a park in the shade watching little kids cavort in a fountain, picnic suppers in the hotel room, and the Rodin Museum. We also saw the Barnes Collection, which was very interesting, but a couple of other highlights were the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Those last two literally brought tears of pride to my eyes. For all its imperfections, we still have a great country and we are lucky to live here.
Then down to DC to spend a few days with my older bro and his wife - she's an incredible cook who served us two absolutely killer meals, a prawn risotto and a cold dish of poached chicken breast with a tuna sauce. Now, I know that last one sounds vile but it was absolutely delicious and wonderful on a hot, humid Washington evening.
We toured the White House in a driving thunderstorm and got soaked waiting in the security line, but it was worth it. Our tiny umbrella wasn't working for the two of us anyway, so we gave it to a harried mother to shelter her tiny, wheelchair-bound, five year old son. We walked away with the fun visual of his little face framed in the rainbow-bright umbrella and his piping voice followed us down the street shouting "Thank you for the umbrella!" Once you're all wet in a warm rain, it really doesn't matter, does it?
Another day we toured the diplomatic reception rooms at the State Department and loved that tour. We had a great guide and they let you take lots of pictures - and the rooms are splendid, just filled with the very best examples of American 18th century furniture, portraits, clocks, and carpets. We feel really good about how foreign dignitaries are welcomed to our country, having seen those two splendid places.
And finally up to Baltimore for two days with my Fairy Goddaughter. Several people have asked why I call her that. Well, she's the daughter of my best friend but we are not really related, so I can't be her aunt and I'm more than just a friend. In a stroke of genius one day, her mother and I decided that I could be her children's Fairy Godmother, a post I hold with pride. Pamela (yes, she is named for me - another point of pride) has just gotten engaged to a nifty guy, so we just had to stop in and admire her sparkly ring and her beautiful dress, and to catch up with their news.
Matt (the fiancé) has a fun Boston Whaler boat, so while we were there on a brilliant, warm day that came behind the humid weather and cleared the air, we skimmed across the Chesapeake in his boat to Annapolis where we tied up to the public dock, ate a fun picnic on the boat under the eyes of envious tourists, and toured a little of the Naval Academy grounds.
I come from a Navy family and four of my family members have graduated from Annapolis, so it was a particular joy to be back there and to have our picture taken with Bill the Goat's statue. When Plebes (first year students) are asked by upper classmen, "How long have you been in the Navy?" they are required to have memorized the answer, which begins, "All me bloomin' life, sir!" That's how I feel about the Navy, too. Even though I am no longer a Navy junior nor a Navy wife, I'm still a Navy person.
And, finally, home to that sweet face and wagging tail. Our cousin Jan sprung Cora from the doggie spa where Cora stays when we are away for a long time and brought her home so we'd have her a day earlier. We treated Jan to an early dinner to say thanks, and then home again, home again, jiggety-jig.