Delights: April 8 to April 14

April 8: Baseball is back! Yes, the temperature hovered near the 40s last night, the wind blew relentlessly and the Washington Nationals lost. But when the players trotted onto the field for the opening ceremony, when red fireworks exploded in the sky, and when Nate draped his arms across my back as he arrived at our seats, I felt just fine.

April 9: My friend Jennifer had planned every bit of her funeral service: the hymns, the readings, the choir anthem. She had spoken proudly of her historic church, her years in the choir and her many friends. The funeral service was lovely, and I drove home along the Potomac River in the mood to cherish life. 

With Rimsky-Korsakov on the radio, I noticed everything: the Washington Monument emerging from the trees on the route from Old Town Alexandria to the capital city; the boats moored along the river; and the runners and cyclists following the river trail to Mount Vernon. I kept going and looked at the Lincoln Memorial across the river and the beds of daffodils transitioning to tulips. I saw the forested island near the Kennedy Center and the Capitol in the distance. I’d seen it all before, and yet today I was entranced. 

Several times a week, Kevin rides his bicycle on a 19-mile loop that encompasses a lot of this. I thought I understood his commitment: we all need exercise, right? Now I truly see what Kevin already knew: we need beauty too.

A bird of paradise from Jennifer’s funeral arrangement.

April 10: I love watching professional golf. Maybe it’s the lush green grass, the colorful golf attire,  or the sunshine and views. Actually, though, I think I love watching professional golf because it brings out the best in me: rooting for every competitor to make the best golf shot of their ability and leaving outcomes to the vagaries of course, weather and luck. 

Today’s Masters Championship tripled my joy. First, I watched my hero Rory McIlroy finish a magnificent final round by improbably sinking a chip shot from a sand trap. Woo hoo! Then his playing partner, 25-year old Collin Morikawa, did exactly the same thing. I hollered again. Finally, the TV camera swung back to McIlroy, who had flung his arms high in exuberant joy and celebration with Morikawa. 

These golfers are competitors. They are competing for money, prestige, rankings. And there they were, transcending all of that: profoundly happy for the good fortune of someone else. 

Rory McIlroy, from my television, cheering for Collin Morikawa.

April 11: Last week, our oven died just as I was about to bake my weekly loaf of whole wheat chocolate chip banana bread. I frantically texted a neighbor. Sure, they replied, we’ll turn on the oven for you.

Today I stirred up another loaf, but instead of carrying the hot full pan back to my house, I asked if I could hang out with their little daughter May while the bread cooled briefly in its pan. Sure, they replied.

I popped back over to remove the banana bread from the oven and set a timer. Then I carried a basket of train tracks down to the basement to play with May. “Let’s clean up first,” said May. “Good idea!” “Let’s read a book next,” said May. “Wonderful!” “Now let’s play trains!” she chirped. “My favorite!”

We assembled the wooden train pieces in curves and circles, ramps and bridges. We created new routes and pushed the train cars about while making appropriate train noises.

May’s father called down the basement steps. “Your timer went off, Carol Ann. You can leave.” Wait, what? I called back up the steps, “Do I have to?” 

My friend Pat Miller captured these beautiful Easter colors of the Kansas River near her home.

April 12: Now that I’m a substitute teacher, I have regained my love of Spring Break. I decided to make a day trip down to Colonial Williamsburg, one of my all-time favorite places in the world. My fifth graders had just taken a class trip there and I yearned to return to the place my Dad had taken us so many times.

Equipped with a precise schedule, a picnic lunch, and a hogshead of excitement, I stepped back to the 18th century in the years surrounding the American Revolution. (But we’re all friends, now, right?) I listened to skilled actors embody George Mason (who drafted an early version of the Bill of Rights) and the Marquis de Lafayette (who politely answered questions about his old buddy Alexander Hamilton). I learned about cabinetmaking, tobacco growing and casting pewter. I admired museum galleries of decorative and folk art. And in the shadow of the Governor’s Palace I bumped into a family from Falls Church, whose son has the same 4th grade teacher that Nate did 18 years ago. (“Maybe you’ll substitute for me this year!”) 

I ended my day on the Market Square enjoying a fife and drum performance and, eventually, at the patio bar of the Williamsburg Inn. There I chatted with a pair of local teachers also enjoying such a lovely moment. 

And I remembered: today is my Dad’s birthday. I imagine him smiling at me. And, Dad, I tip my tricorn hat to you and to all the fun we had.

April 13: Three days after our old washing machine gave up the ghost (it was a bad month for our appliances), its successor swaggered into place. It is large, deeply electronic, and slightly eccentric. (If you can think why I’d need to run my washing machine remotely — and who will sort and load the laundry — let me know.)

Our new washing machine is also sweet. In contrast to our dryer, which emits a slightly annoyed bleat when it’s done, our washer twinkles a little tune. After the fourth load, I counted: twenty-five cheery notes in a distinctly 18th century pattern. Could I have heard that tune yesterday in the pipings of a Williamsburg fife? It’s certainly fun to think so.  

This photo is from 2019 when my friend Kathy and I visited Colonial Williamsburg (and sipped and savored delights from the Williamsburg Inn patio bar).

April 14: A sunny bench beckoned me to linger outside our library. Oh, I had laptop work to do indoors, but I also needed to finish Lincoln on the Verge for our book group. Easy choice. 

I’d read the book in three sittings: to Arizona, from Arizona and now in placid sunshine. I was transfixed by this masterful nonfiction account of Abraham Lincoln’s thirteen-day, 1900-mile train trip to Washington, DC, and his first inauguration — all while states seceded from the Union, a new Confederate government was forming, and assassins waited everywhere. The author Edward L. Widmer wove all these strands together along with miniature biographies of the cities and hamlets where he stopped and accounts of Lincoln’s 101 (!) speeches on the way.

The author reminded me that Abraham Lincoln, confronting unimaginable crisis, “responded as he always did, by standing up to his full height and doing his job.” 

We know how the story ends, and I always weep. The calendar once again came back to me: today is the anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. I hope I will always stand up to my full height and do my job. 

… And go to baseball games! This photo is courtesy of my sister, who is attending a minor league game between the Charleston Riverdogs and the Columbia Fireflies. (She’s rightly proud of catching the pitcher in action!) Earlier this week, Jeremiah saw the Delmarva Shorebirds and my brother-in-law Loyd is going to see the Iowa Cubs tonight. Play ball!

P.S. And Dianne, Jeremiah and Loyd all independently sent me photos of their minor league games. If you go to a minor league baseball game (or a sporting event of any kind), consider sending me your photo and I’ll post it!

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20 thoughts on “Delights: April 8 to April 14

  1. What bad luck having two key appliances break down in one week! Still, the situation was resolved and you had a nice time waiting for that delicious sounding banana loaf to bake.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that was bad luck. But I’ve gotten to know our young neighbors much better. Asking for help (for most people are eager to help) is an under-appreciated delight. (And my husband really does love the banana bread!)

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  2. Cynthia Jurrius April 15, 2022 — 5:28 am

    Such a joyful week! Play ball!

    Cynthia Jurrius Sent from mobile

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for saying hi! Maybe I can entice you to a ballgame this year…..

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  3. I think it is a law of the universe: Household appliances and other useful things must break down in batches. Happens in our house all the time. I think I might have written this before, but one of the things I enjoy most about your posts—and I love many things—is the sense of place I get from your writing. It proves what the writer Joseph Campbell once noted: The center is everywhere. Finally, delightful to read how much fun you had playing with May. Not all adults retain a joy of play, but you most certainly have. Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laurie, for your insights, especially about “a sense of place.” I do enjoy being fully present to wherever I am and to whatever I’m doing. Maybe that’s part of what Joseph Campbell means? I certainly get a sense of place from you; Maine is so much closer to me now!

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  4. That 18th hole at the Masters by McIlroy and Morikawa was such a heartwarming, joyful scene to watch. Thanks for sharing the joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Were you watching it too? Heartwarming and joyful, indeed. I’m glad to share it with you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read your Apr 12 entry with a lump in my throat. We will celebrate with my Dad this weekend his 82nd birthday. I recall when I was impatient him this past week because of a phone tech issue… I chuckle at his glee at his revisit to an old neighbourhood yesterday … and because of yet another timely reminder from you, I give thanks that we have more memories to make.

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    1. Dear Ju-Lyn — I salute your Dad’s birthday and the celebration you certainly had. I hope, as you reflect on your old and new memories, that you share those stories not only with your children but also with your Dad; he will be so grateful to know how these small moments continue to bless you.

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      1. Indeed. And opportunity still to bless each other with gratitude and expressions thereof.

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  6. Your post brought back happy memories of our visit many years ago to Colonial Williamsburg. We’d never seen anything like it before and were massively impressed, even though – as Brits – we clearly had ancestral links to the colonial oppressors who provide the backdrop to much of the Williamsburg story (but like you say, we’re all friends now! 🙂). What a great way to encourage an interest in history amongst young people. Incidentally, looking at their website, it’s good to be reminded that the stories of all ethnicities and cultural heritages are told at Williamsburg – again, very impressive.

    Sorry to hear of the demise of your two appliances, but at least the bread didn’t suffer. Mmm, chocolate chip banana bread, I’m drooling as I write this!

    I also chuckled at your story of reliving childhood pleasures by playing trains with May. Happy days, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear P — I’m delighted you enjoyed the Colonial Williamsburg visit (yours and mine). And I was thinking of you when I inserted that “friends” note! Williamsburg has come a very long way in telling ALL the stories of the people there. And it occurs to me as I write this: hearing from a Loyalist would be enlightening as well. Not only because the American Revolution was a true colonial civil war, but also because it will help us listen to all points of view with respect and maybe empathy.

      And you are so right about playing trains: I loved it as a child (plastic tracks) and as a Mom (wooden tracks). And now I get to play as a neighbor too?? Happy days indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is very insightful. Carol Ann. Of course it’s axiomatic that “history is written by the victors”, but the American Revolution is such a pivotal, defining moment in US history that I suspect – generally speaking – Loyalists are simply dismissed today as “losers”, without much thought as to the very real hopes and fears that motivated their stance. So it would be an interesting (and brave!) move by the people who run Williamsburg to feature a Loyalist perspective too. Such a move might lead to a greater understanding of the difficult choices facing ordinary people then – and now! – in times of great change.

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  7. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, however the drive home along Potomac River sounds idyllic.
    Wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear friend — Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind words about Jennifer. If you haven’t seen them already, my post of March 16 links back to a few of stories she shared with me (including one about Princess Elizabeth in Newfoundland). https://fashionedforjoy.com/2022/03/17/delights-march-11-to-march-16/

      And you are right about the Potomac River route. I went out of my way to drive that stretch again. Maybe in spring I’ll get on my bicycle…. I hope you visit again!

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  8. Happy to hear of your good times, a well-self-prepared funeral, and happy sports, and see marvellous glimpses of your spring. The roof and the flowers beneath are amazing. Over here still poems and still no Luka. Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Manja. I missed the Monday game but was relieved to see the outcome (despite no Luka). They are indeed a team that comes together for each other.

      I’m glad you liked the photo of the tulips and violets at the Governor’s Palace. Because I don’t stoop that low anymore (ha ha), I took the photo without seeing it, and had to rotate the image a bit to make the wall vertical!

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