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Summer breeze makes me feel…

August 18, 2009

“Don’t waste time,” the grandfather says at the end of Danny Maseng‘s play, and these past few weeks of summer have lived up to that mantra.  I’m writing now from Selbyville, DE, just outside of Ocean City, MD, during the penultimate leg of our family’s two-week road trip.  As has become the custom when I have too much to write about, here are five brief thoughts – place-holders for future writing:

1- The Founding Fathers.  Our trip included stops in Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA, so the infusion of history has been exciting and bountiful.  Just thinking of them nailing the windows closed at the Second Continental Congress, during a hot and putrid Philly summer much like the one we’re enduring, makes me amazed yet again at their dedication.  I’ve been enjoying Joseph Ellis’s American Creation as narrative enhancement to all we saw. It is second only to Tammy reading If You Were Alive When They Wrote The Constitution aloud in the car as we cruised along 95 for information and great details.

2- Blogging.  My dear friend Robt has a delighful blog filled with treats and links.  You can find it here, or in my blog roll to the right.  I’ve been loving the Muppets / Quentin Tarantino mash-ups, althought some work better than others (check the YouTube links) and am looking forward to his new film.  I have several friends who are avid bloggers, and somehow need to find time to work that into my daily internet rounds.

3- Free things and secrets.  I thought a family trip to DC would be easy – lots of free museums and attractions, ’nuff said.  Right?  Not exactly.  You can’t just drive around the monuments and memorials (know the difference?) at night so easily, or can you just stroll from one to the other.  Tickets for most things are free, but during peak season (aka, when we were there) you need to know the times of distribution and the times you might want to visit and be prepared to spend morning hours waiting in line.  I had great conversations with the spouses who joined me in line at the Bureau of Engraving or the Washington Monument, and all of our spouses were back at their respective hotels getting the team ready for the day’s outings.

4- Free things and truly special things.  Getting to watch President Obama take off in Marine One; Touring the West Wing; Seeing the Oval Office – one beautiful thing about our country is that the White House is available to the public.  But I gotta say, it is rather wonderful having a great connection to get you in!  My former student helped create truly memorable experiences for my family, even though the boys were pushing each other off of couches outside the Cabinet meeting room while eating Presidential M&M’s.

5- My brother is a Rabbi and we were all able to celebrate Shabbat together and participate in an evening family service.  I’ve seen him in this role many times over the years, from our days at Camp Harlam to summer Israel trips, but now he’s the head honcho at a new synagogue.  It was fabulous.  I only wish we were able to be a part of that world each week.  My thoughts went out to two former students (a motif in this post) who are in Israel preparing to be Jewish leaders – into all of their hands is placed an important task, and my excitement about it and pride of all of them (sister-in-law too!) is matched by the need of dedicated followers and do-ers.  Judaism teaches that the action itself can be just as, if not more important than, the reasons behind it.  Great leaders light the path, but can’t go it alone.  The same was true for the differing viewpoints and goals of John Adams and George Washington, and yet they were both dedicated to the cause of revolution.  They helped to establish a world in which all participants have a duty to play a role.

So as my kids squabble over a toy or a turn with a sand shovel, or who gets to choose the next song played in the car during the final legs of our road trip this weekend, I’ll be thinking about all of this as the curtain prepares to rise on another school year of fresh beginnings and reflections on what people did during their summer vacations.

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