Kittie Howard

Friday, December 20, 2013

Amazing Grace; Off to Louisiana and Texas

From our house to yours, my husband and I send wishes for a joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year!

In the spirit of the Season, the incomparable Judy Collins, with the Boys' Choir of Harlem, sings Amazing Grace here.

A YouTube video of Amazing Grace sung in Cajun French (LaGrace du Ciel) by Les Amies Louisianaises is here.

We leave early Monday morning to join friends at the Biltmore (near Asheville, North Carolina) for Christmas. On the 26th, hub and I cut south for New Orleans and holiday cheer with family and friends in the Bayou State. Then, on the 2nd, we go to Houston for a couple of days as it's our turn to make the trip. We hope to be back in Virginia around the 10th -- and back to blogging. But, whoa, let's slow this train down and enjoy the holidays first. The little kid in me can't understand how they take so long to get here and then go by so quickly.

Happy Holidays, everyone! XOXO

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame; Blog Hop's Dream Vacation: Churchill, Canada

Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame was a nostalgic-filled visit that warmed the heart. But now that the suitcases have been unpacked and a certain degree of order has been restored, our holiday trip seems deeper in time than a week ago. Worry about the weather and anticipation and excitement about the trip have blurred into a feeling of contentment that nourishes memories.

I hope your holiday memories are just as warm and apologize for taking off without wishing each of you a Happy Holiday. But with that storm fast approaching the East Coast, we decided to leave a day early and rushed around in a crazy, organized fashion that kicked in to make it happen, a decision that turned out for the best.

Heading north from Virginia, I-95 wasn't clogged, something to smile about in spite of the bitter cold.

New York was a winter wonderland of green and white, even if my camera didn't think so.

After a fabulous Thanksgiving with friends in Rhinebeck, New York, at the Beekman Arms, the oldest continually operated inn in the United States, we went to Cooperstown, New York, to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. We'd stopped briefly years ago on a return trip from Toronto, Canada, just long enough to whet hub's appetite to see more.

The Museum's impressive Hall of Greats inspired . . . a strike out doesn't mean the game's over.

Moments of reflection . . .  distinguished careers . . . amazing statistics . . . legends that live inside kids of all ages.

This sidebar really caught my attention. With sports so popularized in the media, I hadn't realized how thin the cutting edge was, a reminder as to how important those stats are and not necessarily the personality hype around the player. Along with skill, dedication and hard work are important. There's Kardashian 'success' and then there's the real thing, the illusive 'it' in life money can't buy.

Hub was a catcher in both high school and college. A man's man who not only talks the talk but walks the walk, the team awarded him the game ball for the only game of cricket he's ever played so you know he's got his baseball act together. I took this photo of a bronze baseball scene outside through one of the Museum's windows.

Like sports aficionados everywhere, he knows his stats, but hub's also a member of the Red Sox Nation, where is loyalty is absolute. Thanks to our trip, he now has a Red Sox clock on the wall in his man cave, with a faux marble World Series plaque added to his collection, as is the new fleece jacket. Hmmm, I think the move this spring to our house in North Carolina comes just in time. . . which brings me to what's really been occupying time here: renovating the kitchen as we're selling our condo. Anyone who's been through the renovation process knows there's no translation to the mess it creates and the time it occupies. In the meantime, one step at a time . . . we're almost there.  

I've never known a baseball fan who didn't have a role model. Hub's is Ted Williams, the legendary great who suspended his Red Sox career twice, in 1943 for three years to serve in World War II and in parts of 1952 and 1953 as a USMC aviator in the Korean War, returning to baseball both times to a career that kept getting better and better, earning him a place in the Hall of Fame his first time at bat.
Norman Rockwell's iconic 1949 "Saturday Evening Post" cover, sometimes referred to as 'baseball's Mona Lisa,' invoked hub's memories of passions tempered by raindrops . . . "there's no crying in baseball" . . . 
. . . warm memories he shared as we walked back to our room at the Cooper Inn . . . 

. . . as if the icy footprints were a heart's song . . . 

the song every kid hums as he/she prepares the glove for spring practice. . . "take me out to the ball game . . . " 

* * * * *

My dream vacation would be to visit Churchill, Canada, on the western shore of the Hudson Bay in the province of Manitoba, to see the polar bears. Global warming has so adversely affected their habitat I fear the polar bear will eventually become extinct. It would be an awesome experience to see these magnificent animals in a natural setting.