The US Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, has special meaning for us. We both taught there while we were on active duty, 1977-1980 for me and 1995-1998 for Suzanne. It was a great surprise when Suzanne’s good friend Marilyn Dyer asked us to come over on Sunday to talk to her grandson Logan, who will be entering the Naval Academy with the class of 2018 in July. Logan is a top student and a star lacrosse player. We spent a most enjoyable hour with the Dyer family talking about the Academy and life in the Navy. Here we see Nolan, Tom, Brooke, Logan and Lynn behind Jim and Marilyn. Jim also served in the Navy aboard a destroyer. It was especially nice being with such a delightful family. Tom and Lynn are both mechanical engineers, and their kids are all very bright, outgoing and good in math and science. Maybe Logan won’t be the only Naval Academy grad in the family… The only sobering part of the visit was the realization that both of us served at the Naval Academy before Logan was born!
What a gory title… Bull’s Blood… no pun intended. Our good friend and neighbor Chris Lavender had given us a bottle of red wine by that name a while back, and frankly, I was a bit apprehensive about serving it to unwary guests who might be “put off” by the name. So I waited for an appropriate occasion to pop the cork and imbibe this dry red wine varietal from the vineyards of Eger, Hungary.
The birthday of composer Franz Joseph Haydn (March 31, 1732) appeared to be an auspicious date (born in Austria, for many years Haydn served as Kapellmeister to the Esterhazy family of Hungary). Unfortunately, Suzanne had flute choir on that night; then our mountain biking trip got in the way, and I deemed it unlucky to take the wine with us the following week on our sailing trip, since cattle aboard ship are considered unlucky. Finally, I uncorked the bottle this past Saturday night, with the closest event being the feast day of the Venerable Saint Athanasia the Wonderworker, Abbess of Aegina (790-850 AD). As a young girl, she was said to have experienced a mystical union of a star with her heart while weaving at her loom. In any case, the wine was quite good, and went very nicely with pasta. Thanks again, Chris, for the Bull’s Blood and the unplanned history lesson!
One of the hazards of life in The Villages is getting safely across our busy roads. That’s why we have so many golf cart tunnels; but for our resident turtle population, who move somewhat slower than golf carts, getting from Pond A to Pond B with a four lane divided road between the ponds is a serious matter. I was driving down Morse Blvd. the other day when I saw a very large female (I think) Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox) in the middle of the road, and there were five or six cars and trucks behind me. I stopped, turned on my hazard lights, jumped out and scooped up “Sarah”. Running quickly over to the cart path, I found three carts already stopped to watch the action, and there was a young guy who offered to carry her over to the pond across the second fairway of the Caroline course. It was a festive moment, with everyone feeling good about helping out one of our aquatic residents. As always, I felt our Susan watching over my shoulder.
The next entry has to do with probability theory and salmon. No, it’s not related to the extremely low probability of my catching a fish on our upcoming summer tour, in spite of the grief that My Good Friend Bob gives me about my piscatorial prowess. Rather, it is related to the probability of people wearing the same shirt color… here’s the story… My Lovely Bride decided that she wanted some variety from my normal breakfast menu of gruel and water, so we drove over to First Watch on Highway 27. As we were seated, she noticed that there were four of us similarly old coots (sorry, sophisticated, debonair guys) wearing salmon-colored shirts and sitting in the same seat positions in four consecutive booths. The probability of this happening in an unstaged manner is impossibly low; I’m glad she got an iPhone photo of us, but now regret not going out and buying a PowerBall ticket. (By the way, our breakfast was amazing: I had the chorizo, onion and avocado omelet, and MLB had the Belgian waffle with warm almond butter, strawberries, and granola.)
While we’re on the subject of food, we recently went to Bonefish Grill for dinner with My Good Friend Bob and His Lovely Bride Jan to thank them for watching our puppies while we went sailing. (It is very comforting to be able to leave your canine babies in good hands – I think Rudy and Gretchen enjoyed their vacation away from mom and dad for a few days).
As our server placed the bread with olive oil and dipping spices on the table, I mused that the green mixture looked like what gets stuck in the underside of a lawnmower. My fellow diners looked at me strangely… “What?” I will admit that this concoction is part of what makes dining at Bonefish Grill such a treat.
Speaking of MGF Bob and HLB Jan, the other day Bob brought his motor coach to the house to polish its huge aluminum wheels in preparation for their trip north this summer. Even with a polishing wheel on his power drill, this was an all-day job. And for an old guy like Bob, being bent over for hours must have been hard. I thought I might offer some moral support and unwanted advice, but I found that Jan had the project completely under control from her comfy lawn chair.