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Best part of summer vacation? Getting home in time for the 4th of July | Ferry Home Companion

Journal columnist Howard Schonberger - Journal file photo
Journal columnist Howard Schonberger
— image credit: Journal file photo

Returning from an eight-day vacation gets greater every year you live here.

Nonetheless, we had one helluva' good time at my brother-in-law John Humphrey's 90th birthday last week in New England. We were up at dawn to catch the bus on the ferry and Highway 5 to SeaTac.

Breakfast at the airport was leisurely. Alaska provided all our needs getting to the plane. The flight to Newark was smooth.

Helen's daughter, Mary Sawyer, picked us up for a ride to her home in Poughkeepsie. Next, we went to our hotel near Boston, close to brother John and Nancy's lovely retirement center.

One of John's sons and daughter-in-law, and other family members, had an early summer evening party featuring the local prize-winning barbershop quartet putting on a beautiful show prior to a tremendous feast of corn on the cob (a favorite of "Cornhuskers" like me) and beefy dishes that made you drool. Testimony on John's school days, WWII days in uniform, college buddies, and family members made it a time to remember.

One of John's gifts was a "Sneaky Pete" pool cue. The next day we foolishly asked John if we could go to the pool room, where John had been playing with some other residents on a regular schedule.

"Sure," he said, "although I might be a bit rusty."

I should have known better. I hadn't racked up a game in over 50 years. He practically ran the table by the time I finally earned a point. It is great to imagine him and his Sneaky Pete taking some unsuspecting sucker to the cleaners.

The last time we were back east it was baseball season: so we went to see the Red Sox beat the Yankees.

Due to our older bodies, we decided to go to a minor league game in Pawtucket, R.I., which is closer to where brother John had rented out a few rows of box seats behind first base. The weather was perfect, the Paws were superb and it went down to the line before they were closed out in the top of the ninth inning.

That night one of Helen's nieces, Ann, and her husband Ray, invited us to go to their favorite restaurant, the Warren Tavern, "If they're open Mondays."

Open? It was a blast of history, trivia, wild music and good brew.

It turned out that Monday is trivia night. Four questions had been asked but they seated us at a table for six when I said we were a branch of the Friday Harbor Hellbox Team. The boss okayed it.

We learned that night that Warren Tavern was opened in 1780. It was where our revolutionaries conspired to beat the British, located near Bunker Hill. Washington, Paul Revere, and a list of our national heroes revered this joint.

A much shorter list celebrated after the war ended.

The food was New England seafood... extra good brain-food since we were four questions late in our scoring. I can't recommend it too highly. I invited the manager to come visit us Thursday, where Oren and Peggy Combs have their trivia night at the Rumor Mill.

He's gonna try.

Then, to come back home just in time for Lin and Pam Pearson's last parade as principal guides and sponsors. What a decade of dedication!

And now we're celebrating Helen's Birthday today at home with the grandkids and their parents from all over the globe.

They come from Germany, Africa, Asia, Italy. Turkey... you name it. And they all love it best here. You know why? It's because our flag is still there.

And I've never seen better fireworks symbolically protecting it!

— Go with the F.L.O.W.  (Ferry Loves of Washington)

 

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