July 7, 2018: Miniature Golf, Picking Up Dominica

Saturday. Today was a huge day.  This is our last day in New York for this summer, the girls’ first time ever playing miniature golf, the day that we get Dominica from the airport after her and Madeline’s month long adventure in the UK, and the day that we head back to Texas.  A lot squeezed into a single day, for sure.

The girls were totally passed out when we started the day.  They need their sleep for such a busy, eventful day.

Since this was a beautiful morning, and my last time on the farm this year, I took some time to walk around early this morning and get some pictures.  Dad is selling the farm in the very near future.  Next summer might be our last time up here, potentially, and I wanted some more pictures to remember what it looked like towards the end of having it.  We’ve had the farm more than forty years.  Hard to believe our time with it is nearly up.

It really was a perfect morning for a walk around the farm.  It is hard to believe how much it has changed since my childhood.  You can really see where the pool used to be.  Between the pool and that large tree used to be the farm house where I grew up till I was a late seven year old.  There used to be a Catholic shrine in those heavy shadows in the hedge row, a big brick structure with lights and everything.  There was a cabana large enough to have a guest house that was fully plumbed with a shower attached to the pool area.  In front of that pine tree used to be the basketball court where I learned to play basketball, and to ride a bike, and to play tennis.  That’s where my giant childhood sandbox was, which was always full of Hot Wheels and toads.  Connected to that was the old black top drive way and three car parking lot.  The big locust tree and the berry busy (currents? We were never sure) were near that pine tree.   In the hedge row used to be a big square laundry rack for drying clothes outside. At the bottom of the little rise there was the garden that mom always tended.  And the asparagus patch.  Just before the horse corral, which, of course, used to have horses.

None of these things are in the picture.  But just this one, empty picture is so full of “what used to be there.”

Once the girls were up, we decided to do breakfast in Perry at John and Sarah’s.

It was on the late side, so Liesl opted for breakfast of pancakes.  Luciana decided that she wanted mac and cheese for lunch and got the largest, most delicious portion of mac and cheese ever.

Ciana said it was her favourite mac and cheese of all time.  Liesl tried a taste and loved it too, she says that she will get it the next time that she comes to New York.  The portion was so big and Luciana ate every bit of it, too.  The waitress said that they had never seen anyone eat so much, let alone such a tiny little girl.

From “breakfast” we went to the Charcoal Corral to play miniature golf.  It was dad’s idea.  Neither of the girls has ever played miniature golf before and they are the perfect ages for it.

The girls were very excited, and it was perfect weather.  The course in Perry is loaded with water features and things that made it extra interesting for the girls.  It was busy, but not crowded.

As it was their first time, there was a lot of learning to do.  And some frustration.  But overall, it went really well.  Everyone had a lot of fun.

Liesl was pretty confident and got right into it.

Luciana was a bit more nervous.  But eventually got into it.

We had a really nice time.  It was a lot of fun and the girls really want to do this more often.  They improved so much throughout the day.  At first it was pretty hard, but by the end they were doing great.

It was a great outing with grandpa, one that the girls will remember for a long time.  This was a very special day out in New York for them.

Once back at dad’s house, the girls took some time to run around on the farm as they won’t have a chance to do so for a long time now, and you can’t enjoy open fields of grass in Texas like you can in New York where it is actually safe to just play in the open grass.

The girls love the farm.  They are both very sad that we are not keeping it.

Later in the afternoon, while I packed us up to leave, they got in some quiet time with daddy’s dad while they could.

By late afternoon, it was time to go.  We have a lot of driving to do this evening.  Francesca and the Grices are picking up Dominica and Madeline from New York City and driving down to Hagerstown, Maryland where we are meeting them.  I’m driving straight down there with Liesl and Luciana.  Then tomorrow we will caravan down I81 on our “old route” from New York to Texas that we’ve not done in a while.

Our drive tonight went pretty smoothly.  Down I390 to the I99 corridor that I’ve not done in forever.  It was nice to see the old route again, it brought back a lot of memories of pre-child era commuting between New York and Washington, D.C. that I did so much.

Taking US 15 through Williamsport was so reminiscent.  I still remembered every twist and turn of the road.  The memories just flooded back, it was like I was twenty five again, heading off on another work adventure through another small town going from one part of the country to another.    It was amazing how much driving that route made me remember it all.  The feelings just flooded back.

The entire route is one that I used to drive often.  I still know all of it.  The girls may have never seen most of it.

We got in to Hagertown about a half hour after Francesca and Dominica.  We had some problems as the GPS took us to totally the wrong place to find the hotel.  It took a bit of exploring to finally find our way to the Hilton Homewood Suites where they were waiting for us and we finally got to see Dominica after a month away from us in the UK!

We were off to bed pretty quickly, it was late and we have a long day of driving tomorrow.