My wife and I got in the car at 11:00 today and drove north. As we went from New Hampshire into Vermont, the traffic slowed down and the cell service deteriorated. When Interstate 91 came to a halt, we got off the highway and headed northwest. At 3:23 we found a turnout somewhere along the side of the road through Groton State Forest. We joined a few other souls standing around and got to witness one of the most spectacular events I’ve ever seen. I thought I had seen a solar eclipse in the backyard of my childhood home in 1970 in Holden, Massachusetts. Not so. That was a partial solar eclipse. Not the same thing. This one was total. And it differed from the other one I saw just by the slightly more than two minutes that it went total. The forest quieted down. It got darker and darker. The stars came out. And then, the eclipsing sun, that you could only look at through those ridiculous cardboard glasses that everyone had, went behind the moon. Total darkness. The glasses came off. And then this bright sparkly ring of light appeared in the sky. It looked exactly like all those pictures you see of a total solar eclipse.  Right in front of us. It was incredible.

We celebrated for about three minutes, got back into the car, and beat the traffic back to Massachusetts.

The glasses have made it into my Real World Stuff™ collection.


It Happened Again

I went to the Hanover Theater in Worcester, Massachusetts again tonight. This time I saw Classic Albums Live, the Michael Jackson – Thriller show. It was incredible. I took one of the children. We had a great time. The music was impeccably performed. It was billed as a bunch of musicians who get up on stage and play an album, note for note, cut for cut, start to finish, live. That might not sound too thrilling (pun intended), but it was amazing. They got up on stage and played Thriller, note for note, cut for cut, start to finish, live. Then they took a little break, came back, and played a whole bunch more Michael Jackson songs. The aisles were packed with people dancing: Kids; adults; older adults; really old adults. And they were all smiling. And clapping. And having a really good time. When there wasn’t any more room in the aisles, people stood up at their seats and started dancing. Everyone I saw was having fun. The performers were having fun. Even I was having fun.

This doesn’t usually happen.

But it did happen once before, and recently. And it was at the Hanover Theater again. This time, it was with the other child. And the boyfriend. We went to see Buddy Valastro, the guy from Cake Boss. He showed up in town with an even sillier premise. Take an Italian baker from Hoboken, New Jersey and stick him on stage in Worcester, Massachusetts with a bunch kids and parents from the audience. Add some cupcakes. He teaches us how to decorate them. We laugh at the audience members as they try to imitate his designs. He tells stories. And everyone smiles: The kid; the boyfriend; the dad; the people on stage. Once again, everyone in the room was having a great time.

Family friendly entertainment?

I didn’t think that existed anymore.

But it does.

Search it out.


The Price of Fighting the Fight

Ten years ago, our area was overrun by the Asian longhorn beetle. We’ve been fighting it ever since. Teams of specially trained inspectors have permeated our forests and neighborhoods as they search for the beetles and their paths of destruction.

They claim that the beetles threaten our trees, but to date, not one tree has fallen victim to the bug. This does not mean, however, that we are safe. So far, about 30,000 trees have been cut down. They say that they have done this to protect our woodlands.

I wonder who is winning.


Why We Need More Hurricanes

I believe that we should schedule hurricanes a little more often. I got an incredible amount of stuff done yesterday:

• The generator is all tuned up and working great.

• The sump pump (the one I installed hastily during the last flood) is now in its new hole in the floor and properly piped.

• The chainsaw has gas in it and runs well.

• The lawn furniture and the fire pit are stored in the garage.

• The barbecue grill has a full propane tank.

It’s a shame that it takes the threat of such destruction to accomplish so much.


A Great Cook?

One of the child’s friends was over for dinner the other night. I made chicken sandwiches on the grill. After the first bite, the friend exclaimed,

“This tastes just like something from Burger King … except better for you.”

End of story.