Whale Watch

For six out of the last seven years, I’ve taken my grandchildren on an “adventure.” This year — number seven — it will be whale watching.

First, a little history. One of the things I never thought about was gifts for the grandkids. That was Karen’s job. I just had to pay for them. One day shortly after she died I came to the panicked conclusion I had to do something. Now, I can’t tell you what size clothes they wear … or what is “in” along the toy line .. or what their special interest of the day is. I will even admit, with 18 grandchildren, I have to group them by my children to even name or count them.

So, I’m sitting commiserating my plight with Karen over a morning coffee. She didn’t answer, but later that night, by happenstance {is anything ever happenstance?} I saw an ad for the Radio City Music Christmas Show {I generally watch the New York City TV feeds}. Hmmm. Light bulb. A way to bring the family together for joy.

The next morning, with the sun gleaming off her urn, I started researching the Christmas Show and, lo and behold, they have a traveling show as well. And that year, they had a show booked in Cleveland, which was even more enticing since a passel of the urchins were from Ohio and Illinois. And so it began …

We’ve been to the Radio City Christmas Show — the traveling show in Cleveland and Boston and the real deal in New York City. Three years ago {wow, has it been that long?} I booked an Easter cruise for them out of Boston. Then it was a whirlwind trip to the Jersey shore/Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken/taking the ferry to New York City/Empire State Building observation tower. Last year, I decided to blend history — okay, football history — with fun and frolic by taking the kids camping in Wisconsin. The feature was Brett Favre’s induction ceremony into the Packer Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field.

This year, we’re heading to Boothbay Harbor. ME, for a whale watching adventure in just a couple of weeks. I think everyone is getting excited. There will be 14 of us camping at Balsam Woods in nearby Abbot, ME.

But the real point of this post is the planning that goes into such an adventure. For me, it’s an idea and let things fall into place. For my daughter, all the details are spelled out. I’ll let her tell you …

“So — a few things from your planning freak of a sister:

* We have 2 cabins and a campsite. Bring sleeping bags and pillows for sure! I will grab some sheets from the camper to lay over the beds but we will rely on sleeping bags for comfort. 🙂  Does anyone have an air mattress? I am thinking we will need a couple of those as well but I only have one.

* Don’t forget shower shoes … camping bathrooms are kind of gross. Put your shower stuff in a ziplock bag if you can, or a portable shower bag that can get wet. That will help us keep track of everyone’s things and make it easier to carry to and from the shower house. Don’t forget a shower towel too.

* Don’t forget swimsuits and towels. There is a pool at the campground but we aren’t far from the beach too!

* Can everyone bring a can or two of bug spray and sunscreen? If we all bring one or two, we can share and it will be cheaper than us all buying multiple cans. Make sure the bug spray repels ticks as they are bad this year.

* Does anyone have camping chairs they can bring? I have 3 or 4 but clearly that won’t be enough for all of us.

* Can everyone bring a game or two for downtime entertainment? Board games. Card games. Yard games. Sports stuff. Whatever. The more options we have, the better. 🙂

* Here is what I was thinking for food. Let me know if you have other ideas. If you want to chip in or bring anything, let me know.

* Breakfast and lunch we will keep simple with cereal, pop tarts, oatmeal, PB&J, deli meat, chips, fruit (probably apples and bananas). I can bring my griddle and do pancakes one day if you want and we could venture into the world of eggs if we wanted to too.  Dinner we can make use of Jay’s fire making skills and have hot dogs, campfire pasta, walking tacos, sausage/tater foil packs, hamburgers, pizza (totally ordering that …). I will also bring a portable grill.

* Snacks — can we all commit to bringing a big quantity of something to share? I’m thinking things like granola bars, nutrigrain bars, trail mix, cheese sticks, goldfish, etc. … whatever your kids like to eat. Then we can get things for campfire snacks — smores, popcorn, campfire pies, etc.

* Drinks — I will keep a couple coolers with water in them. I will pick up some koolaid flavor sticks too.

* I’ll bring pie tins and a popcorn maker for the fire. I think I have some sticks too for dogs and marshmallows. I can see if my neighbor has some we can borrow as well.

* I’ll grab plates, napkins, forks and foil for the week and some bags for leftovers just in case.

Am I missing anything? I’m sure I am … I’m just super excited for the week and can’t contain all the stuff swirling in my brain right now!

Love you -) ”

All I can say is she is her mother’s daughter!

Over the years, we’ve been through blizzards, microbursts, 100 degree heat in Green Bay {who would have thought that was even possible?} and sore legs from walking. I’m proud to say we never lost a kid {that’s not to say we might have WANTED to} and it’s been fun watching them grow and interact with their cousins. Over the years there have been a couple of frowns over the long weekends, but each time we {my chaperones and I} quickly turned them into smiles … and there were a ton of them!

There are those who say I am crazy {if they know me, they do have a point}. Others think it’s the sweetest gesture ever {I wouldn’t go that far}. But it is a fun time as I corral the grandkids for — hopefully — another memory making experience.

And I’ve felt Karen’s presence and smile of approval during the junkets.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The probability of meeting someone you know increases greatly when you are out with someone you do not want to be seen with.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in celebration, encouragement, family, grandchildren, joy, Karen, love, Maine, Memories, relationships, travel, vacation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Whale Watch

  1. Chris Brosnahan says:

    I remember the first time we went to Radio City…IIRC to see either True Grit or The Out of Towners…first the lights dimmed, then the organist started playing…what a great sound and surprise!!!. Can’t remember if the floor show was before of after the movie…but the organ alone would’ve impressed me at the time…haven’t been to RCMH in prolly 50 years, but for a kid (as least to me (16 or 17) at the time) it was an impression and event that to this day (at 66, soon to be 67) is still an impressive milestone in my life…everrtyone vfrom the NYC area should see this icon of Manhattan history/culture at least once before they die (or it’s banned by the politically correct as’too American’)


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