Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Long Weekend

So, I took a couple of days off from work, and headed down to Maryland to visit with my cousin and her family. While we don't get to see one another often, we do always have a wonderful time together and this visit was no exception.

We started down on Saturday morning, stopping off at the local diner for an early breakfast at 6am. My eyes were blurry and barely open, even after the coffee. A 3 hour snooze later, and I awoke right at the toll for the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Happily, I'd slept thru that part of the trip and did not have to face down the bridge I loathe. Annie's house was just a hop, skip and a jump away from that point :)

After greetings and some coffee and bagels, we all piled into 2 cars (yes, there were that man of us) and headed to the Renaissance Fair...only to turn because of the line of traffic to get there! We headed to Home Goods and had lunch at a nifty place called The Italian Market. Good sandwich :)

We headed home, and waited around until it was time to head out to dinner...that's right...we were going to Medieval Times! Ok, I will admit to making fun of the commercials for it. I mean, seriously...JOUSTING?? Well, we got to the place, which was in the Arundel Mills mall and naturally we laughed at the cheesy little castle set up. We walked in, and promptly had a red and yellow striped paper crown slapped on our heads. Yes, our knight was the red and yellow knight. We decided he would be the Knight of McDonalds, based on his color scheme. We had our photo taken with a princess (she didn't look very royal...just like she had on part of a Halloween costume, but was missing the essential part of the princess get up: a crown) Anyway, we found a seat and waited for our color to be called to enter the arena (I kid you not) We amused ourselves by taking photos and making fun of our crowns. When we got to our seats, we were in the first row. Oh joy! We were given nifty little flags to wave that looked like something a beginner in rhythmic gymnastics would be using, and waited for the show to start. The horses were beautiful. The actors, not so much. We joked that they were all theater majors from Towson University who needed jobs (see that, Mike Rowe? Medieval Times could possibly have been in your future had your arm not somehow found it's way up the business end of a cow ;) ) There was some overly dramatic dialogue, some nifty horse play, some interesting fight scenes, and some very busy "squires" chasing around the arena with giant baskets on sticks: horse pooper scoopers, if you will. All of this went on while we ate our better than expected chicken dinner~with our hands. That's right folks! Medieval Times does not provide flatware! Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, greasy fingers and all! We headed home, and ended our night by singing karaoke...because that's just the way we are when we are together LOL

The next morning we were up, bright and early to head into DC. Well, that was the plan. By the time everyone rolled out of bed and showered, we didn't get OUT of the house until after 11am...when we had wanted to be in DC a half hour before that. But, when we finally got there, we headed to the WW2 Memorial, where Ranger Sandy was going to be meeting us. I don't think there are words to describe this glorious memorial. It is a monument truly befitting the greatest generation. Placed unobtrusively between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, the WW2 Memorial stands in majestic honor to those who served, both abroad and on the home front. It is truly a memorial to the entire generation, honoring those who served, those who gave their lives, and those who did what was necessary at home to keep the country going while fighting the war. Fountains rise up in majestic glory as two towers flank them, one for each theater of operations: Atlantic and Pacific. There is a pillar and wreath for each of the 50 states as well as US territories involved in the war. Over 4000 stars stand proudly behind the fountains, one for each of the 100 lives lost in the hard fought effort to win the war. Ranger Sandy told us that they actually fly veterans in for free on Wednesdays and Saturdays and Senator Bob Dole is generally on hand to greet them. Sunday was no exception. There was a veterans group at the memorial, easily identified by their T-shirts. We knew Bob Dole was there when Ranger Sandy ran back to the Ranger Station and was surprised to find the Senator there and had the good fortune to have her photo taken with him!

After we walked around the memorial and found Kilroy, Ranger Sandy led us down the reflection pool and toward the Lincoln Memorial, where we found the Vietnam Memorial. Such stark contrast to the WW2 Memorial. While the WW2 Memorial celebrates the victory, the Vietnam memorial has a much darker tone to it. 800 feet long, the Vietnam Memorial is a black granite wall with the names of the fallen and those still listed as MIA etched on it. It is a somber and sobering reminder of a war not nearly as popular as WW2, if a war can be popular at all. We noted things left at the wall by visitors: photos, flowers, unit pins and a loaf of Wonder bread. It's as though the wall's primary purpose is healing. On the other side of the wall, down a little path, is the memorial for the nurses. 4 nurses were killed in action during Vietnam. It is a group who's service is necessary but has often gone unrecognized.

After hoofing it back to the rest of our party who had decided not to take the little stroll down to the Vietnam Memorial with us, we thanked Ranger Sandy for the wonderful tour and headed home, where we played a rousing game of Clue after dinner (honestly, you just can't make this stuff up) because, much to my cousin Mikey's dismay, the giant HD television had gone kaput...ON GAME DAY! So, we really had no other choice but to do something other than watch TV LOL

Monday was a relaxing day. We slept in, then went to Bob Evan's for breakfast (mmm...biscuits!) and did some shopping after. We went to Olive Garden for dinner, and then played more Clue (TV won't be fixed until Wednesday LOL)

Tuesday...well...we came home, our fun filled weekend officially over.

I want to thank my cousins for a WONDERFUL and fun filled weekend!! We have to do it again soon...but this time, you all have to come up to NY!! Thanks again to Ranger Sandy for being kind enough to give us a fabulous tour of the memorials, giving us info and insight we never would have had without her! Oh, and we'd never have found Kilroy without her!

Photo's will be uploaded and posted later...

Tomorrow is back to work...bah!


newsjunkie said...

It was great meeting you and showing you around the Mall! Next time, get a wheelchair or scooter for your mom and we'll do a real tour!!

And since I know you're DYING to see it...

newsjunkie said...

Oh and it's 8 nurses who are listed on the VVM, not 4. :)

Lisa said...

It was great meeting you too! My parents both send their greetings and thank you's to you!

OMG..Bob Dole had his good hand bandaged?! Poor Bob better lay off that viagra ;)

newsjunkie said...

Yeah I'm not sure what that was all about. He was still shaking hands with people who held theirs out. I wonder how his dr appt for his knee went on Monday. LOL