History Lesson

NOTE: This was written 15 years ago!

We took a family trip to Boston as a sort of summer kick-off, the weekend after school let out.  We needed some down time, an opportunity to relax, get away from computers, cell phones, faxes and schoolwork.  September 2 will come soon enough.

Boston was chosen for it’s close proximity to home, ease in transportation and it’s rich history.  The wide variety of food, shopping and more food was also a necessity with four growing children.  So off we went.

By way of the Old Town Trolley we arrived at the harbor and boarded a boat for a cruise to the other side.  Ambling around in Boston Harbor (if boats are allowed to amble), we learned about the landfill that is the base of the immense Logan Airport.  We saw little red striped tugboats lined up to bring huge ships into port.  The Cormorants were zipping past, just inches above the surface of the water, looking for a lunch of fish.

As we approached the end of our sail many of us headed to the bow to catch first glimpses of the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, and berthed almost next to it, the USS Cassin Young, a destroyer similar to those which were built in Boston’s Charlestown Naval Yard during World War II.  One made of wood, the other metal.  Quite a “then and now” experience.  And in no way to be overlooked, looming behind the vessels upon a hill was a monolith of granite, The Bunker Hill Monument.

“Look honey, there’s the Bunker Hill monument, that’s where some important battle took place,” a woman standing next to us, said to her husband.

“Excuse me but actually the battle took place on Breed’s Hill and the monument was put on the hill that they were supposed to fight on and the fight was the first major battle of the American Revolution,” piped up our 9-year-old daughter.

The man and woman turned, looked at our daughter, smiled and thanked her for the history lesson.

And what was my response?  Of course, I was the mother beaming with pride and gave her a generous hug.  Not only was her response spontaneous but accurate as well.  I said a prayer of thanks for the teaching she has received in Hamden’s public schools and an extra thanks to her teacher Mrs. Longo who read “Patriots – A Story of Bunker Hill by Gregory T. Edgar to the class after a visit to the school by the author and his wife.

If you’d like to hone up your history facts about the American Revolution, the following website www.americanrevolution.org is a treasure trove of information.  In the event you don’t have time to read the book, head to Boston, or see the monument itself, you can see a series of paintings about the Battle of Bunker Hill and others about the American Revolution by John Trumbull at the Yale University Art Gallery right here in New Haven.  To check hours of operation their website is www.yale.edu/artgallery/

And, the next time someone asks you, “So, are Hamden Public Schools any good?” You can respond in the positive and for further information refer them to one of its’ fourth graders.

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You Take My Breath Away

Yes, it’s an old song from 1978 by Rex Smith. Yes, there was a made for TV movie with him in it and he was the guitar teacher and yes, he sang the song. Yes, every teenage girl I knew fell in love with him — and the song, way back when. Little did I know that 3 years later I’d marry the true love of my life. Fast forward to 2015 and 34 years later we’re still married and I still take his breath away. Sort of.

We accepted a wedding invitation to our friend Matt’s wedding in Colorado and planned a week’s vacation around it. 3 nights near Denver and the wedding venue, 3 nights in Golden near Red Rocks State Park. It was not meant to be.

The non-stop flight was okay. Much better than the Texas trip! I had taken my motion sickness meds and felt fine when we landed. We collected our luggage our rental car and took off for the hotel. We ended up sitting around for 3 hours between the restaurant and the lobby waiting for our room to be ready. When it was ready we found out it was not feather-free. Not good for either of us. We put in a call to housekeeping and they said they’d remedy it while we were out to dinner. We went to dinner, ate fantastic food and went back to the hotel. They traded out the feathers but we lost two pillows in the process so had to call down again. Then, we slept. Well, I slept a little. My husband did not.

We weren’t sure why he didn’t sleep well. Was it the feathers that had been in the room? Was it jet-lag? Was it just a different bed? Not really sure we had breakfast, headed to downtown Denver and I did the driving as per usual so I don’t get sick and don’t nag him either. He was navigator.

We wandered around the downtown, not doing much as neither of us are big shoppers and decided to take the capitol tour. It was getting quite hot out and we thought it’d be interesting. It was but with no A/C in the capitol we cut out early to find a cool place to quench our thirst. Hard Rock Cafe was on our list! We guzzled water which is important before, during and after trips to higher altitudes and shared some Tupelo Chicken Tenders. Hubby said he was feeling tired and short of breath. The heat? The altitude? Just needing a vacation? Hmmm…

That night, friends came to visit and after we all had dinner in the restaurant I swam in the pool with them and their little ones. Hubby sat on the chair watching us and taking pics of our fun. He was quiet. He is normally quiet but even more so since we had a brief argument earlier that afternoon. Yes, even Christian couples who have been married 34 years argue. Anyway, we said “Good-Bye” again to our friends who now had kids ready to sleep and we headed to bed too.

We woke up on the day of our friend’s wedding, our 34th wedding anniversary and my honey’s breathing was not improving. If he exerted himself too much he had to take deep breaths. His sleep was lousy again and of course, my mood was too as I was still trying to figure out how to make nice after our argument. Happy Anniversary. Yeah, Right. He gave me a gold necklace and I gave him a card. He is extremely hard to buy for and doubly hard if it means carrying something on an airplane!

The wedding was beautiful, the food great, the Lord’s presence felt. Matt and his family so appreciative that we had traveled all that way to be there on his special day. We got to know Matt while he was an undergrad near us and worked with the teens at our church. We were honored to be invited and reassured his mother numerous times she owed us nothing for keeping him under our wings while he was near us and far from her!

Back at the hotel it was clear that my honey was lagging behind. We walked a short distance to a Mexican restaurant and even that effort was huge. BP up, O2 down, mild asthma type symptoms. Not good. Not good at all. By Sunday morning I refused his valiant offer of heading over to Golden and try and instead insisted we find new flights and go home. We did find a flight out that afternoon on a different airline and at a layover in Atlanta ate supper. During supper he said he felt like he could breathe again. I was as relieved as he.

Guess what? We got delayed just at take-off time by another medical emergency on our plane. What are the chances of that happening two in a row?! An elderly woman got on late (we had waited for her) and the pilot made a last minute decision to go back to the gate when statements like “I hit my head hard on the last flight when I stumbled and fell,” and “I have a headache,”,and “My vision is blurry,” and “No, I can’t take Ibuprofen, I’m on Coumadin,” were strung together. The pilot apologized, we taxied back to the gate and the ambulance met us there to pick her up. We arrived home and got into bed at 3am.

I’m supposed to go on a trip alone in August. I’m not sure I can get up the courage. They say bad things come in 3’s. I’m praying instead that “The 3rd Times the Charm”.

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