Our vacation plans this month have included a birthday celebration. That’s what we’re doing today—celebrating our nation’s 239th birthday. We’re excited about being “live” in Washington D.C. at the National Mall. It is also the 200th birthday of “The Star Spangled Banner” and John Williams will be conducting the National Symphony Orchestra in a NEW ARRANGEMENT (yea!) plus lots of great entertainers including, Patti Labelle, Frankie Valli, Jordan Sparks, Phillip Phillips, Michael McDonald, Sara Evans, Kendall Schmidt and others. The host is Tom Bergeron and Kermit the Frog. Be sure and tune it in on PBS tonight and listen for Amy’s Soprano voice above the crowd. Then one of the finest fireworks displays in the nation follows.
After saying good-bye to the grandkids Wednesday, we drove up to beautiful Savannah, Georgia for a few hours of sightseeing and had a late lunch at Paula Deen’s restaurant (The Lady and Sons).
We did the buffet so we could taste a little of everything. I didn’t do that. I tasted a lot of everything because it was quite good. My favorites were the chicken (both fried and barbecue), the barbecued ribs, the best mashed potatoes and gravy I’ve ever had, wonderful black-eyed peas, tasty collard greens, and yummy creamed corn. The pickled green tomatoes were a special treat from the salad bar and the pecan pie with home-made whipped cream was tops.
I didn’t think her “special” macaroni and cheese was a winner, the green-beans and brisket were so-so and the rice was just rice. That’s the end of my food review.
We left Paula Deen’s place as “Arthur” was building from a tropical storm to a full-fledged hurricane right off the coast where we were. We watched the huge black thunder-heads turn day to night and dump enough water on us by the time we got to Fayetteville, we could have ended the California drought.
Thursday morning we drove to Monticello, the “little mountain-top” mansion of our 3rd President, my favorite. It’s located 115 miles south of D.C. Jefferson worked on this home for 40 years and continued to re-model and tweak it for another 12 years (until he was 80 years old). Seeing this marvel and understanding the genius of Thomas Jefferson’s skills as an architect, inventor, designer, meteorologist, politician, gardener-planter, botanist —you name it—he did it extremely well…this tour was worth the whole vacation.
The greatest memory happened mid-afternoon, after we had finished the home tour. A severe weather storm-alert with wild lightning, thunder and rain roared into the area (over 60,000 folks lost power for a few hours) and Jefferson’s “Monticello” was officially closed. Amy and I took refuge in Thomas Jefferson’s wine cellar. Jefferson was proud of the fine wines he turned out plus the hundreds of bottles he procured from Europe every year.
The next time I have a personal conversation with one of you, forgive me if I casually bring up the big storm we witnessed and then I’ll gently drop the fact that we hid out in Jefferson’s wine cellar till it let up. I can be such a wise-ass, can’t I?