Happy Thanksgiving to All

Wow. What a busy month since the last post. The timing of the last update was ever so close to Halloween, so the delay in these pictures is unfortunate. Nevertheless, this year was quite a blast . Hadley could walk around in her costumes and hold out her basket. It was all quite cute. I say costumes because just as last year, she had more than one as last. She was both a bee and a monkey, as the pictures attest.

A Baby Bee   Happy Monkey

I love leaves!   Seriously, I love leaves

Also in the interim, we packed up the car and dragged Keri along west to Williamsport, PA to visit the lovely Great Aunt Ede. It is always a treat to see her and since we were not going to be passing through this year on the way to Chicago, we tried to make a special stop just to see her. So many Scrabble games were played and her spirits seemed lifted. While there, we also got the chance to meet another relative, Great Uncle Frank and Great Aunt Pam. Since they lived in Hawaii for so long and only moved back to the mainland in the last few years, this was the first time that the girls got to meet this particular branch of the Little clan. Having lunch with them made the trip all the more enjoyable. If only we could cut the drive down things would have been even better.

Ede and family   Frank and Pam

Been Swimming   Happy Pigtails

Crouching   This Big!

I recently spent a few days in San Antonio for a work related conference. While the weather was cool or a bit dreary most of the time, I got to spend a little time with Ali’s Aunt Joey while there. The conference was great, but kept me pretty busy the whole time. It was long time to be away from my girls too. Fortunately, I did get the chance to see a few sites the morning I was preparing to leave, just not as many as I would have liked, however.

Alamo   San Jose Mission (front)

San Jose Mission (side)   San Antonio Riverwalk

That brings us up to Turkey Day, and I hope everyone has a good one.

Lost in Leaves

From MA to IL – Stop One Williamsport, PA

Well the first week of our trip across America ended in Dakota country. Having trekked from Boston to Chicago, we spent the first week mingling with each of our families. It can be an interesting dynamic with competing schedules and desires, but everything has worked reasonably well, so far.

Photo: Keri, Aunt Ede, and Ali

On our way to Chicago we made a short stop in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania, to visit Ali and Keri’s Great Aunt Ede. At eighty-five, Aunt Ede is still a dynamo of hospitality and general activity. She was quite the host for our short stay in Williamsport, taking us out to dinner, where she was spotted by one of her card club colleagues, and making sure we were well fed before continuing on down the road. She nearly held me in particular in an almost Calypso-like spell with her warmth and generosity. Ede and I certainly shared a sweet tooth and had it not been for the heat, she would have baked, and my guess is that I would have been even less likely to want to be tempted away from the double desserts that are a staple of Ede the hostess.

Photo: Little League Museum Sign

Aside from the prospects of meeting Aunt Ede, the mere mention of Williamsport was exciting for additional reasons, namely because it is the birthplace of Little League. More than that, I came to find that the first ever Little League diamond, Carl E. Stotz Field, is still open for ball, despite having hosted its first game in 1937. The late Mr. Stotz even has a monument commemorating his achievement at the World Series complex, as seen below. Williamsport also serves as the sport’s headquarters and hosts a museum celebrating the world’s youth playing the great American pastime. While at times the museum borders more on the hysterical than historical, it is still a must see for anyone in the area. Below and to the right is a snapshot from the lobby. Another baseball related site in town is Bowman Field, the second oldest minor league stadium in the country, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ A ball affiliate, the Crosscutters.

Photo: Carl E. Stotz Memorial Photo: Little League Museum Lobby

Photo: Bowman Field Crosscutters Sign

However, Williamsport’s crown jewel is the complex devoted to the Little League World Series, including the final’s home, Howard J. Lamade Stadium. I must say that when I was a twelve year-old, all-star shortstop, hardened on the base paths of Village Green in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, there was no more majestic place outside the Show. How I dreamed of stepping into the batter’s box of that hallowed ball field? From the moment I first saw kids, my own age, on television playing baseball in that place, I was captivated like every other kid that donned a cap and leather mitt everyday the weather was warm and the rain was at bay. It even had a fence in the outfield, which might as well have been a professional park as far as I was concerned. It was some time before any of the fields in Glen Ellyn had any kind of fences, which basically meant that you hit the ball as hard as you could and ran like hell hoping you could beat a throw to home. Well, I was pretty fast, but without a limit to the field of play, I hit a whole lot more triples than round-trippers.

Photo: Howard J. Lamade Stadium

Before giving over to the beautiful game, soccer, I absolutely breathed baseball as a youngster and believed Williamsport was the pinnacle, like every Little Leaguer. Well, I was twenty years too late and the place was empty, but I couldn’t have been happier traipsing the hallowed ground. As a matter of fact, I am not sure I could have enjoyed it nearly as much had I made it there before now. I made sure that I saw just about everything, taking pictures the whole time. The place was still as fantastic to me now as it was when I was just a kid imagining what it must have been like. I especially liked the Casey at the Bat Monument beyond the left field wall, just adjacent to the scoreboard. Ali and Keri showed great patience, waiting in the wheels while I covered every inch on foot.

Photo: Little League Museum Exhibit Booth Photo: Casey at the Bat Monument

After falling victim to Aunt Ede’s hostess charms and all the Little League allure, I was a little remiss to leave, but we had to make tracks to get back near those fields of my youth. Thus, we resumed our westward trek with designs on arriving before sundown, which was successful.

Photo: Howard J. Lamade Stadium from Behind the Plate

More on the rest of week one to come.