October 9: It started with a text: Uncle Loyd, a life-long Cardinals fan, wondered whether, ummmm, by scoring ten runs, St. Louis had just had a good first inning in their deciding playoff game. That triggered a slew of family texts as the Nats tumbled into their own early hole. I went to bed, clinging to my good luck radio. Woo Hoo! Back-to-back homers to tie in the eighth, and then — OMG — a go-ahead Grand Slam in extra innings. The texts exploded, the radio exploded, my heart exploded. We are going to the team’s (and fans’) first National League Championship Series! Against the Cards. (I have asked the family to start a new text group without me for that one…) *
October 10: When I was little, my sister and I went to bed with our windows open whenever we could. Even if the night was hot, I loved the night’s sounds. When the breeze was right, we heard rumbling trains bringing tourists and commuters home from New York City. We heard the distant church bells whispering the hours. And always we heard the crickets. Tonight I lay in bed listening to the DC metro full of tourists and commuters. When the breeze is right, I hear chimes too, and always the crickets. Home. And home.
October 11: I walked into our Peruvian chicken place wearing my Nats hat, Nats lanyard and Nats tee shirt. (Confession: if I’m wearing a tee shirt, it’s statistically likely to be a Nats shirt.) “Go Nats!” said the young man carrying his chicken and yucca across the parking lot. “Go Nats!” said the dad with his wife and child as they held the door for me. “Go Nats” said my neighbor an hour earlier as I trudged up the hill from the metro. I’ve decided that those two little words are better than “hello,” at least in October.
October 12: Naturally, I leaned across the backseat and buckled them in. We were on our way to Hillwood, a mansion transformed with ornament and garden into a work of art. Maybe heads turned as we drove down Connecticut Avenue: a mom in the front seat and two flat paper children in the back. I brought pins and tape to stage my photos, but all I needed were sweet teenagers who happily crouched behind chairs or balanced on rocks to hold Flat Liam and Flat Ava. I hope my flat friends had fun: the rest of us certainly did!
October 13: Here are a few more delights from Hillwood Estate Museum and Garden. Wandering at my own pace (Flat Liam and Flat Ava were very obliging), I lingered over the fabulous displays of sacred and decorative arts and the mid-century photographs of Albert Eisenstaedt. But the highlight was a remarkable installation called War and Pieces. By the Dutch artist Bouke de Vries. the work features a four-foot mushroom cloud composed entirely of icy white porcelain shards, heads and figurines planted amid icy-white angels and demons. These figures, in turn, rested on pottery fragments, and the whole arrangement sat among the lace, crystal, silver and china of a heiress’ dinner table. Add Bionicle claws and swords, and I was transfixed.
October 14: I made a loud sudden sneeze. My grand-dog Majka had already jumped off my lap. Maintaining her pace and direction, she swiveled her head to gaze at me. Do better next time, she seemed to say.
October 15: More fragments: An unexpected glimpse of the Capitol dome at twilight. A chorus —a cacophony— a city! — of birds saluting the setting sun from a single small tree. A small boat chugging up the Anacostia River flying a Nats flag. Then, suddenly, in the ballpark, Jeremiah dancing, Christmas Revels style, with knees high and each hand twirling a Nats rally towel. Finally, back outside at midnight, Nate bustin’ a move to a New Orleans-style jazz band. These pieces are the mosaic of a Curly W. This is also what a pennant looks like.
Thanks for the photo, Superfan Laura. And thank you, Nats. It’s true. It’s really true.
* October 9 post script: Always a good sport, in 2012 Uncle Loyd conceded defeat when the Nats jumped out to a six-rum lead over his Cardinals after two innings. Ha! We ended up conceding defeat to him. That Game Five is never discussed in polite Nats company.
A Reader’s Delight: Hazel shares this with us: Thinking about my own delights, it is not surprising that it turns to Gracie. She is suffering from pretty severe arthritis in one of her hind legs. I now lift her into bed every night and our walks are purposely slow and quiet. Not an easy task given that we live in a very busy area of Ottawa. …. I woke this morning with her curled next to me. I put my hand on her bad leg and tried to give her comfort. It is the absolute least I can do given the comfort and love that she has given me over the years. She is my delight and my joy. I know you know this. I hope to one day be the person that Gracie thinks I am.
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