Land got ahold of us in a major way this month of July. Leaving Pelican at Shelter Cove we flew to Albany NY where Mike’s brother and his wife picked us up. They would become our fabulous tour guides for the next week. The four of us drove down to Cooperstown where our Pascagoula family was enjoying a week of baseball at amazing facilities in the town where the MLB Hall of Fame resides. We stayed at Cobblescote on the Lake which proved to be a wonderful B and B on a quiet lake with cozy accommodations, nice folks and good food.
Cooperstown hosts around one hundred teams of twelve year olds per week for the eight weeks of summer. The town is all about baseball! The boys and coaches stay in barracks and move as a unit all week. The first few days they play for their seed, then they have to keep winning to remain. The CBA Stars played great baseball and finished in the top 20. We had a blast cheering them on.
Mike’s brother Pat and his wife Pam moved to Holly Valley, Vermont a few years ago and we had never seen their place. It’s a beautiful log home in the mountains surrounded by ski resorts and quaint small towns. We were treated to the production Our Town at the famous Weston playhouse with Christopher Lloyd as the narrator. Very cool venue and very interesting play. July 4th week in Vermont included as much Americana and one could possibly imagine! Food, friends, fireworks, fire pit, a parade, yard games, adirondack sitting from coffee to wine, and a visit to the Vermont Country Store. To say Pat and Pam are wonderful hosts is an understatement. Pammy never stops feeding and fussing over you! Patrick chauffeured us all around their mountain and was an excellent tour guide. It was hard to say goodbye but you can be sure we will be back!!
Onward we drove in a rental we picked up in Hartford where Pat was catching a flight on Sunday afternoon. The parkways through Connecticut and New York were picturesque even with the bumper to bumper traffic. We arrived at “the Mansion” in Union City New Jersey that Katie had booked for the baseball families to reside while they toured the Big Apple. Though more like the Adams Family home, a little creepy and creaky,we found it a comfortable roost for this big gang where all ages could gather at the end of our long days of walking in the city. We rode in on the “chicken bus” and did every touristy thing NYC has to offer from the 911 memorial fountains on the south side to the shady sidewalks of Central Park. Though we had been there many times it was fun to see the newcomers in our group as awestruck by the city as we were on our first visit there.
After hugs and high fives to the baseball family Mike and I piled into Katies car with she and Harris and Maggie for the long pull down I95 toward Hilton Head. An overnight stop in Fayetteville North Carolina gave us an opportunity to explore it’s cute downtown shops and let the boys go to the Special Ops Museum. Then it was “on the road again”!
Arriving back to Hilton Head on Thursday evening enabled us to be part of the welcoming committee for the big week that was to start Saturday the 14th. Mom rented two enormous and beautiful houses for the Tracy clan to gather for the week of the 14-21. One was beach front where the kids all stayed. Ours was a lovely quiet retreat with an infinity pool and great balconies.
We had such fun all week catching up with one another, hugging babies, laughing, chatting, drinking, cooking, biking, eating, reading, sleeping and splashing in the pools and the ocean. Every night a different group prepared the meal for everyone, and we ate good!! We were entertained by the cast of cousins performing Greece Live! Thursday we hosted the grown ups at our house and included some cousins and even an old friend Kurt Faulhaber who I had not seen in years! It was a fabulous week we will all remember with smiles for years to come. Though Ben and I had a tear filled goodbye I am feeling so blessed to have shared this week with this family that I love! Our cruising adventure has kept us apart but the memories will hold us together.
As I write this, I am in my home town of Cleveland at my sisters new home in Bay Village. We brought Mom here for an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic. The trip has given us a chance to reconnect with old friends, Jay and Ann Gieb and Mike and Katie Kahler over dinner and cocktails. We’ve spent quiet moments visiting with Mike’s aunts who are still amazing though into their 90’s. We have driven past our old houses, old haunts,and old high schools. We have spent hours enjoying Lynn and Tim’s new home and new yard. I have walked miles along Lake Road that traverses the shores of Lake Erie,remembering when my life was oriented by the water to the north. When we moved to the Gulf Coast it took years to remember the water was south!
The bonus of this trip is that there is truly nothing like an Ohio summer. Being here takes me back to my childhood. From the birds singing in the morning outside my open window to the smell of the fresh cut grass, I am not sorry to be one more week on land in such a beautiful place. Soon enough, it will be August and school busses will once again replace the space on the road now occupied by tourists and travelers. The wonder of summer will give way to the routines of the fall and, other than college football, I have never looked forward to summer’s end. I was never that Mom who relished the first day of school. August is not my friend. But fortunately, the memories of this year’s July will no doubt sustain me until the first tailgate and kick-off make it all tolerable.