Thursday, October 28, 2010


Keep this song looping in your head for the length of this blog post:

Now, just substitute "Rhondo" for "Rico".

Our boy attempted a big move on Tuesday afternoon.

Chris was up north at a two day conference.

That left Rhondo, Splitty the Maul, and myself to fend for ourselves.

Rhondo was already depressed.

He's "Mommy's boy" through and through.

Seeing as how Doc and the family have been extremely busy of late, I decided to do a "drive by" dinner prep for them.

Nothing fancy, just a pot roast and the usual side items.

I figured if nothing else, Rhondo would cheer up playing with the dogs over at the farm.

Rhondo was up for it, so I checked to see if Splitty the Maul wanted to come along.

Splitty the Maul has always enjoyed going to the farm.

But not Tuesday.

He had a project.

Splitty was busy shelling a bushel of fresh lima beans.

With Splitty occupied for the day, Rhondo and I headed over to the farm.

He'd never met Mini-D and Sero before.

From left to right: Mini-D, Rhondo the Wonder Idiot, Sero

Since the dogs were getting along fine, I stepped inside and began prepping dinner.

I checked on them throughout the afternoon.

Rhondo and Sero were running all over the place for most of the time.

Mini-D was content to remind everybody just who's in charge.

Being in charge comes with responsibilities.

One of which is not taking a nap on the back steps.

Mini-D drifted off for a few seconds.

Rhondo saw his chance.

He got in touch with his "inner lounge lizard".

All he was missing was a the bad cologne, a white shirt open to the third button, and a gold chain.

He eased his way over.

He dropped his best line.

She bought into it.

Unfortunately, I was watching.

Nobody's having no babies in the backyard on my watch.

I yelled at Rhondo.

His macho, suave demeanor collapsed into a "hand caught in the cookie jar" perp walk.

Hard to get her back in the mood after a moment like that.

That's the way it goes sometime.

"Rhondo..Suave.....The Two Foot Love Machine".

Try and drink that out of your heads.

Let me know if you find a combo that works.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday UnFunDay

Damn. Some days I create way too many dirty dishes.

Saturday and yesterday were two of those days.

I spent a lot of Saturday and most of yesterday morning preparing Italian roast pork and a roasted vegetable dip.

Italian roast pork ranks as one of my favorites.

I started with a 9.66 pound pork loin Chris picked up from Costco.

The thing was so large I had to cut it in half in order for it to fit in my 15 quart stainless steel kettle.

I seasoned it with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and thyme leaves.

Both halves were seared in olive oil to a dark brown crust. Got to have a base for the au jus. The loins were set aside on a platter.

Next I chopped up a large white onion and peeled and chopped 20 (yes, 20!) toes of garlic. They were sauteed in the oil/meat drippings until the onions were opaque.

One of the most important steps in this recipe is creating what will eventually become the au jus. I added 1/2 bottle of dry white wine (pinot grigio) to deglaze the pot. I added 2 cans of chicken stock after that. Finally I added 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, returned the meat to the pot, covered it with the lid, and brought it to a simmer.

It takes quite a bit of time to simmer it down. The meat in this recipe comes out in shreds. I let the meat simmer for 6 hours, removed the excess fat, shredded the meat, and returned it to the pot.

You need to let the au jus cook off a little bit, so at this point I left the lid ajar and allowed the liquid to reduce. A little re-seasoning at the end (a little more salt, pepper, and 4 smaller sprigs of rosemary) and the meat was ready to transfer to the big crock pot we'd be serving it from.

You can always just brown it and do everything else in the crock pot, but I like the temperature control of the stove top better.

By the time I got the meat into the crock pot, the sink was full.

Really full.

It became even more full as I made the roasted vegetable dip. Roasting pan, spatulas, blender parts.

Tossing everything from the sink out into the trash sounded like a plausible solution.

However, the cost of replacement ran through my brain leaving washing as the only option.

Yesterday we hauled most of the stuff for the party up to the University in my truck. We were full. Thank God our friend Dee was able to bring up the rest of the stuff. That's not to say that others didn't bring things. Chris' mom brought up two bowls of her "Famous Cole Slaw" and Chris' ex bought up some really killer pastries from a local Italian store. It took about 45 minutes for us to get everything set up.

Finally, after weeks of preparation, we could relax and get ready to listen to Christen's recital.

She started with a solo performance, playing a piece by J. S. Bach. Next she did a duet with a piano accompanying, playing a piece by J. C. Bach. Her third piece was another duet, with a piano accompanying, by Georges Enesco. The fourth, and final piece was her in a string quartet performing a couple pieces by Dmitri Shostakovich.

She seemed a bit nervous on the first two pieces, but by the third piece she was obviously beginning to enjoy the moment.

It was great to see.

She's a truly gifted musician.

The post performance party went off without a hitch. Christen, her family, and her friends all seemed to have a good time.

The load out was much smaller than the load in. We still had a truckload of stuff, but most of it was leftovers and dirty non-disposable serving equipment.

This morning I woke up to a counter load of dirty dishes, a sink overfull of pans, and a real lack of ambition.

Fortunately the medicinal value of three Diet Cokes was available.

Now I'm down to one pot soaking in the sink.

After all the cooking, leftovers sounds appealing for dinner.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rhondo's Sick

Wow, talk about a blow.

There are more than a few of my readers who just love Rhondo.

Okay, I love the little guy too.

He's one of my best foils and generally one of the most affable dogs I've ever met.

Rhondo (aka "Rhondo The Wonder Idiot") has been sick of late.

He's always been a bit of a sickly dog.

We're not sure of his past. When he came here, this was his third or fourth home.

We do know some things.

By the way he reacts to certain things, like being scolded, he was likely abused. He wasn't very well house broken when he first arrived. It took months to get him to be just a little bit responsible.

One day, with Chris and the girls at work, I caught him hiking a leg on his former favorite target............the paper recycle bin.

I yelled loudly at him, "NO!!!!!! BAD DOG!!!!!!!!!".

He collapsed into a quivering heap.

It was obvious he expected to get clobbered next.

What he got instead was taken to the back door, put on his tether, and left out to finish his "business".

I was surprised by his reaction to being yelled at.

Chris and I have spent a lot of time watching his behavior both together and separately over the months. He's a funny little fellow of many moods.

Earlier this year Chris' daughter moved out taking her dog "Butter" with her. That left Rhondo and Lilly here. Lilly was in her last days. She was almost 15 years old when she passed away last month.

Rhondo, now left alone, seemed to go into a deep funk. Chris called me and told me he was losing weight. His eating was sporadic, he was throwing up, and was having extended lethargic bouts.

Sounded like depression to the both of us.

When I got here last week, I was surprised at his physical condition. He had lost a noticeable amount of weight. His ribs seemed to be sticking out and his spine was pronounced when I petted him.

Oh yeah, he was still smelly. He's always had that problem.

Oh yeah too, he was still having problems with occasional seizures.

He had a small one a week ago on Monday. He had a larger one the next day. I had to put him in his crate because he was flailing about so badly.

We got him an appointment to the veterinarian on Thursday. The vet examined him, took some blood for tests, and gave him his rabies and distemper shots.

Saturday, the vet called back with the test results.

Rhondo's kidneys weren't operating properly. His numbers were all out of tolerance by quite a bit.

The confusing thing was Rhondo's behavior. He was acting like he always had. Sure he was down a few pounds, and yeah he'd suffered a couple of seizures. Otherwise he was still eating, happy to take a walk on the leash, and generally just being Rhondo.

Sunday night, Rhondo started to shake. It reminded us of a person with Parkinson's disease. Worse yet, he was running a fever. We gave it an hour, then we called the vet's answering service. Dr. Mike called back in two minutes.

After a brief discussion he told us to give Rhondo a baby aspirin for the fever and to schedule an appointment ASAP. He wasn't positive the first tests were accurate.

Chris called Monday and got Rhondo an appointment for yesterday morning.

They took a urine sample and more blood for testing. The other vet in the practice was in. He reviewed Rhondo's record and his recent tests. He examined him and then opened Rhondo's mouth to smell his breath.

He felt Rhondo's initial tests were accurate. He could smell it in his breath. I told him he's always had an odd odor about him and that we have to bathe him weekly for it.

That's when the vet said, "It's likely that this has been going on his entire life.".


That explains a lot.

Why he still seems relatively normal.

Why he still likes to go on walks.

Why he still eats, even sporadically.

He's used to it. It's all his body has ever known.

I bought him home.

He was acting a bit stressed, but he always does after a visit to the vet.

Late afternoon, he threw up twice. I walked into the living room and saw the vomit. Rhondo was sitting on the edge of the easy chair, head down, just waiting to get yelled at.

He looked so pathetic it was heartbreaking.

I picked him up gently and put him in his cage. He didn't do anything wrong, the poor fellow is just sick.

His cage is one of his happy places, so I left him in there with the grate open.

Chris came home, I told her what happened. I was concerned for the night though. Chris had a meeting, and we both had a party to attend later. I told her I felt we should just leave him in his cage while we were gone, just in case.

When we left he was sleeping in his cage.

Coming back from her meeting, en route to the party, Chris let Rhondo out back to do his thing.

She let him back in, and left him out of his cage. We were only going to be gone for a few hours. She thought he'd be okay.

He wasn't.

We came home, opened the back door, and were greeted by the most God awful smell short of death.

Rhondo had a terrible bout of the runs and soiled the carpet in two ghastly spots.

We had to open the windows just to breathe.

Rhondo, his head hanging low as if he was waiting for the executioner's blade to drop, was sitting on the sofa.

Again, there was no reason to be angry. Our boy is just a bit sick. Chris cleaned up the spots.

She was so worried about him she stayed out in the living room with him for the night.

This morning, he started off a bit lethargic. We got him to go out, drink some water, and eat some chicken and rice.

Mostly rice with a few bits of chicken. The vet says a diet with more carbs and less protein will help his kidneys have an easier time.

Later today we should have the results back from the second tests.

I have an idea of what they'll show. All the facts seem to be adding up. He was born sick and the only reason he's still here is that his body has grown accustomed to being in this condition.

What that translates into life years, we don't know. There's a high probability that he won't have a long life.

We're just going to try and make it a good life for him.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Part Of Our Maritime History

Yesterday was a classic Fall day here.

Cool, crisp air. Deep blue skies. Leaves beginning the change of season.

What's a fellow to do with a day like that?

Take advantage of it.

I got up early, fired up my lap top, and did some research at this website. It's both informative and very user friendly.

We loaded up into the AirTrafficMobile bright and early. Stopped at a nearby diner and had a scrapple and egg breakfast. Got out the New Jersey map from the road atlas.

Then we hit the road.

New Jersey has a number of lighthouses both land and sea based. We decided to take advantage of the "Lighthouse Challenge" that was in progress over the weekend.

Looking at a list of the lighthouses open, we opted for three of the southern most. While the group in the northeast side of the state are relatively close together, we were closer to the ones in the south.

Our first destination was the Cape May Lighthouse.

It's a very pleasant trip driving down to Cape May. It takes about 1.25 hours from where we started.

As we arrived in Cape May a couple of things stood out. (Click on the images to enlarge)

One, the locals will sell you all the wicker furniture you want as long as you promise not to use it....

Two, because they procrastinated, all the really good food festivals were taken.

Put me in charge of a lima bean festival and I guarantee there'd be a "There's A Starving Kid In India Who'd Love To Have These!!!!" lima bean eating competition in honor of my late mother and late brother Bruce.

Don't get me wrong, I like lima beans. My late brother Bruce, not so much. Okay, not at all. They made him gag.

But I digress.

Pretty soon we came up on the lighthouse, finished in 1859.

I told you it was a perfect Fall day.

Now I've been up in the lighthouse many times over the years. It's a really great view. However, Chris' legs weren't feeling too strong and we had a number of miles to cover.

We opted to walk the grounds, read about the history, and talk to the docents.

The lighthouse isn't the only thing to see in Cape May.

We go back in the car and drove a couple miles to an area called, "Sunset Beach". It's at the tip of the state where the waters of the Delaware Bay meet the the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunset Beach.

Sunset Beach is a relatively small area of beach. Save for a miniature golf course and a few souvenir stands, there's not much to see except for this:

The wreck of the S.S. Atlantus, a concrete hulled ship that broke loose under tow and ran fast aground here, and this:

A World War Two observation/fire control tower. It was part of a series of towers that was designed to search for approaching enemy warships and help fix their position for the big guns on shore.

It was actually rendered obsolete prior to it's completion.

Still, it is a fascinating piece of our history and was well worth stopping for.

We departed Cape May and drove around aimlessly for a while.

Not that we wanted to.

I was getting in touch with my inner "bad navigation/I'm not lost" guy thing.

Every guy has it and we all indulge it. Sometimes even those who have GPS.

When GPS doesn't know where you are, you're really in deep kimchee.

Fortunately we're both fans of architecture and the beach.

Eventually, by process of elimination, we found our way out of Cape May and on the road to North Wildwood. I have many fond childhood memories of this area. It was fun to drive through and see all the changes.

Pretty soon we arrived at our next lighthouse destination:

This isn't what most people think a lighthouse would look like.

It looks more like some guy from the government went to a private land owner on the ocean in the 1800's, pulled out the government checkbook, and said, "Hey Buddy, give ya $100 if you let us install a rotating beacon on top of the place.".

It was preserved by a dedicated group of volunteers in North Wildwood. They planted some formal gardens on the land around it making it one of the most beautiful lighthouses I've seen in all of my travels.

Here are some pictures of the gardens:

I have more pictures, but the blog site is being really slow.

I want to get the next lighthouse up here before bedtime.

Our next, and final stop for the day took us further north to Absecon, NJ. It is just north of Atlantic City.

Before we got there, my food level was near zero. Breakfast had worn off. Just south of Atlantic City is a town called Ocean City.

We were driving through and came to a stop at a red light.

On the corner was a place called, "Luigi's". The sign said, "Since 1958".

Italian? Old school Italian?

I'm in.

We pulled around the corner and walked in.

Classic Jersey/Philly Italian place.

Chris had the spaghetti and meatballs.

I had the eggplant Parmesan with a side of sweet Italian sausage.

The portions were predictably huge. Gotta love that.

Sealing the deal was a basket of crusty, hot Italian rolls. Not the big commercial bakery kind, the small local bakery kind.

I could have made a meal on the bread and sausage alone.

However, the eggplant Parmesan was as inviting as dinner at Grandmom's. It was food that was both good for the heart and good for the soul.

We paid the check, grabbed our big bag of leftovers, and headed north.

We passed through Margate.

We passed through Avalon.

We slowly passed through Atlantic City.

Traffic sucks.

Then we finally came up to the Absecon Lighthouse:

It's a beautiful lighthouse living in a crappy neighborhood.

I didn't have the heart to take a picture of the surrounding buildings.

It is really depressing.

The lighthouse grounds on the other hand are beautiful. The restoration work under way gives me hope that the best is yet to come for this old lady by the sea.

We left Absecon, drove through Atlantic City, hit Route 40 and headed home.

A good time was had by all.

Now then, my pot of ham, potatoes, cabbage, and lima beans is done.

Like M-C Hammer said........

"STOP........Dinner time!!!!!!"

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Inspiration Comes In Small Packages


It comes from many sources.

This is not a man of physical stature.

In his day he was slight of build both in height and weight.

Like most of us, he's put on a few pounds as time has passed.

Once upon a time he was the fastest in a sport built on speed.

Okay, he had a little help.

Ron Turcotte riding Secretariat to what still stands as the fastest 1.5 mile thoroughbred race on dirt in the history of the sport.

They finished in 2:24 minutes.

No other horse has yet to eclipse the 2:25 minute mark.

It was a fitting finish to the Triple Crown races in 1973.

Ron Turcotte and Secretariat became two of the biggest celebrities of both the sports year and the century.

It had a big influence on my family. It made my late brother Bruce, our oldest brother Kevin, and myself instant fans of horse racing.

Over the years, we have been to the track in various combinations, hundreds of times.

Someday I need to blog some of the many adventures of our trips to various tracks.

The "$700 Hot Dog Incident" still remains a sore subject for Kevin.

But back to today's blog.

What would possess me to write about a sports event from over 35 years ago?

I got to meet Ron Turcotte yesterday.

After a number of years out of the limelight, it was nice to see thousands of fans come out to see him. I think he was a bit surprised by the turnout.

Life's sort of funny like that. One day you're the biggest thing in sports, the next day you're a footnote.

After the Triple Crown win, Mr. Turcotte went on to ride for a few more years. He would never achieve the fame he enjoyed in the Summer of 1973. He won some major races on the way to his last race in 1978, but horses like Secretariat only come along once or twice a century.

One day, July 13, 1978, riding a horse named Flag of Leyte Gulf on the site of his greatest victory (Belmont Park), the unthinkable happened. He was thrown from his mount and paralyzed from the waist down.

32 years is a long time to be away from a sport. Many times the injured are forgotten. In today's "Breaking News" television news format, most stories are discarded in mere seconds. Media overload makes that almost a necessity.

Fortunately, the exception is still sports fans.

Young, old, black, white, men, women...............the line was full of people who just wanted to see one of the truly great jockeys of all time.

He was gracious to one and all. At one point, an old jockey friend of his walked behind the table to say hello. Mr. Turcotte was thrilled. The joy in his eyes, the big hugs, and the huge smile told those of us who saw it just how much it meant to the both of them.

I couldn't bring myself to take a picture of the moment. It was too personal to them. I wouldn't dare interrupt in that fashion.

My turn came to talk to Mr. Turcotte.

I already knew what I was going to say.

"Mr. Turcotte, you cost my older brothers and I a lot of money.".

He looked up, a bit stunned, saw how old I wasn't, and said, "I couldn't have cost you guys much.".

I started laughing.

I finished, "We all watched in amazement as you won the three jewels of the 1973 Triple Crown. We became life long fans of thoroughbred racing from that moment on. Thank you so much.".

He beamed a huge smile, and signed a print and my racing program.

Looking up at me before I walked off, he thanked me for a most unusual but heartfelt compliment.

Like my late brother Bruce always said, "A bad day at the track beats the best day at work. Nothing ever beats a good day at the track.".

I'm inclined to agree.

Once upon a time, he was the best of the best.

Today he raises money for other jockeys permanently injured in the course of plying their trade.

Know what? He's still the best of the best.

A man of sorrow concentrates on his bad luck.

A man of inspiration concentrates on the better good.

Ron Turcotte is very much the latter.

Mr. Turcotte may you continue on and live a long and happy life. It was a real pleasure to have met you. God bless you in all you do.

On behalf of myself and my older brothers, thank you.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So Sad, So Slow, So.....*sigh*...Rhondo

Look at this face.

This isn't Einstein.

He's not Marconi.

He sure as Hell isn't Lassie.

The only thing in his favor is that his luck is much, much better than that of "Old Yeller".

At least so far.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for those that don't know this little fellow, please meet Rhondo the Wonder Idiot.

He's avoided death by mere inches more than once.

Last month, while staying at a friend's house, he got caught under a closing garage door. He made a move to run out of the garage. The house is located on, but back from, a very busy highway. Had the garage door not pinned him to the floor, he'd have covered the 75 feet to the road quickly.

I seriously doubt he'd have made it to the second lane.

Before that he escaped from another place located on another highway. He made a break for it. The sound of flying fur and crushing bone was imminent. Fortunately the inflection in Chris' voice made him stop in his tracks.

The voice in his head has no such power.

Then of course, there was the "Lawn Mower Massacre".

Okay, at least NEARLY massacre.

Got fear?

Rhondo got a bath two days ago.

He needs frequent washing as he is the rankest smelling little dog I've ever been around. The best way to describe him is a cross between sour urine and dead, wet leaves.

My sincerest apologies to both sour urine and dead, wet leaves.

This morning both he and his dog pen, nicknamed "Rhondo's Condo" reeked yet again. This time I knew why. Yesterday he was in his pen and had a mild seizure. It's not his first. He's had several small seizures since he arrived here. Sometimes he just zones out, seems a bit disoriented for a bit, and is fine in a few minutes.

One incident last year, he had one out in the snow. He kept falling down. Chris brought him back in and in a bit he was his old self.

Yesterday I put him in the pen so I could take a shower. His history with floors while being unmonitored is spotty.

Pun intended.

I got out of the shower and went to let him out. His back leg was kicking against the side of the pen and he was peeing on himself.

In keeping with what I've read about dogs having seizures, I left him in the pen and monitored him. Two minutes later he got up, shook off, and looked like he was in a daze.

Pretty typical dog seizure from what I've read.

I let him out. He laid on his side by the pen for about five minutes. I dried him off with an old towel. Pretty soon he was up and about so I put him out.

His demeanor was good last night, but today he seemed really depressed.

I figured a walk would do him good, but not before I gave him a bath and washed his bedding.

It was pretty sour even for Rhondo. He rolls in the dirt he pees in outside, but in the confines of the pen he got a full dose.

He got his bath.

He got toweled off.

His mood improved.

I got his leash out.

He started racing around.

A nice leisurely walk.

He was nice and relaxed at the end.

I'd no sooner put him on his dog run in the backyard when Chris' daughter Lauren drove up to get some of her stuff from her Mom's house. I let Rhondo in the house so he could visit.

Rhondo was all perky, running around Lauren, and basking in some well needed attention.

Lauren's a bright and very busy college student. She had just enough time to say hello, scratch Rhondo, get her stuff, go see her Mom, and get back to Philly.

Dogs don't understand the schedules of their humans.

I'm not sure Rhondo understands much.

I do know he has major mood swings.

This time would be no exception.

Lauren left.

Rhondo took it hard.

Looks like I'm going to have to take him for another walk this afternoon.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

No Bull, Live From Durham

Durham, NC.

Home to some of America's oldest tobacco companies.

Home of the Durham Bulls, famous of the movie "Bull Durham".

Home of the "World Beer Festival".

My friend Otto, knowing I was heading east around this time, suggested I attend with him. He already had a ticket along with the Liquor Fairy aka Mandy and her husband Rob.

Due to a conflict in schedule, another of their friends had to bail out.

Buy a spare ticket to a beer fest? I'm in.

Saturday morning came. Along with it came lots of sunshine, temperatures in the low to mid 80's, and lots of beer drinkers.

120 breweries, over 300 different beers, and a cast of thousands took to the turf.

If Homer Simpson had a "Field of Dreams", surely this would be it.

I started off the event by leading Otto in a prayer.

Praying for beer has its roots dating all the way back to its inception I've been told.

"Otto, give me a B!!!!!!


"Give me an E!!!!!!!!!!"


"Give me another E!!!!!!!!!!"


"Give me an R!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


One "amen" later and the beer began to flow.

Hey, we were in North Carolina. There had to be at LEAST one pirate joke.

Now then, back to the beer festival.

Just some of the crowd filing in from the third base side of the stadium.

Off to the taps!

The Duck-Rabbit Brewery was handing out some fine milk stout beer.

Otto and Mandy. Rob and the baby would join us later.

Pints For Prostates. Note their motto, "Reaching Men Through The Universal Language Of Beer".

Moon River Brewery was one of my favorites.

Aviator Brewery came in with a pilsner "infused" with hops. Good pilsner beer, but the infuser seemed not to be doing much.

For a split second I thought our good friend Stevie G. had cut up a blanket and joined us. The first fashion "fail" of the day.

Looking back at the grandstands from the beer tents in center field.

I think their motto says it all.

I was pretty partial to the amber lager the Lion Brewery was serving.

I would think that most beers would be kind if given the chance.

Lagunita's "Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale" was a nice treat.

If you ever saw the movie "Bull Durham", you'd remember this from the outfield.

Otto kindly watching Mandy's beer glass while she made room for more beer.

Much to his chagrin, Otto found out someone stole his name for their own brew pub.

Click on the picture and read this guy's name tag. Sometimes it pays to advertise.

The food vendors were set up on the warning track. The view looking at center field.

Taking a short break, discussing the food options.

Otto reminding everybody, "Why yes, I have Grey Poupon.".

I can't argue with that.

Brooklyn Brewery. I really enjoyed their IPA.

Stoudt's American Pale Ale served by an American pale female.

Later in the day we were joined by Mandy's two main men, her husband Rob and their son Jackson. Rob's the larger of the two.

By the third hour of the four hour session, the crowd had grown quite a bit.

Looking back towards left field late in the session.

"Look Mom, I can walk just like Uncle Otto.".

With the morning session coming to a close, the four of us headed across the street to a cafe' for some food ballast.

Food, the only cure for a "top heavy" condition bought on by an afternoon of beer.

One of the many perks of being a baby. You can throw stuff on the ground anywhere and not get a littering ticket.

The cafe we ate at was once a cigarette manufacturing facility.

The good news through all of this was there was only one casualty for the weekend.

The bad news is that it was Otto's transmission.

Still, it got him to Durham in time for the festival.

I had certain preconceived ideas as to what a large brew fest would look like.

I've attended smaller events and enjoyed them.

Not any more.

This one spoiled me.

There's no way I could safely taste all the different beers in four hours.

Who would want to?

The number of selections vast, the brewers and their staffs very friendly, and I couldn't have asked for better company than Otto, Mandy, and Rob on a sunny Fall afternoon.

My thanks once again to one and all.

Yesterday a nice drive north cutting across the Chesapeake Bay at Annapolis. I would have liked to stop, but I really wanted to get to Jersey.

Annapolis will have to wait for another day.

In the meantime my mail's on hold, everything is buttoned up, and I'm looking forward to the Fall and Winter weather that will soon come this way.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.