Dog Perfect Days of August

It has been a perfect summer weekend - the weather, outdoor activities, the company and the food. Friday - I woke up at 5:30 am, went biking with my triathlon pal, Sue. Not only did I get up early, but Sue led me on to a two loop course around the Art Museum/River Drive trail, where we logged in 24 miles by 8:30 am! Then it was off to to work for a quiet and short work day. I had a ton of energy and felt great about the early start, which is unusual, since I am NOT a morning person. The bad thing about getting up so early is that by the time it was 9-10 pm I was ready for bed! Scandal! Saturday, I woke early for an early morning appointment. Afterwords, Liz and I treated ourselves to an early morning breakfast at our favorite diner - Sam's Morning Glory. Since we had dinner plans with friends later in the day on Saturday, and a trip to see Liz's family on Sunday, I was inspired to make gazpacho and bake blueberry/raspberry pies to take along for each visit.

Mid-day on Saturday, we hopped in the car and went over river and through the woods to Riverton, New Jersey, to visit with friends Roger and Astrid. A visit with R&A must be like what it was like to leave Philadelphia and go to the "country estates" of Chestnut Hill or Mount Airy in the 1700 and 1800's. When we go to their sprawling late 1800 home near along the riverbank of the Delaware, I feel as though I've headed back in time to a simpler more genteel era. Riverton is small, charming and quaint town; many of the houses are large and ornate in a Cape May kind of Victorian period style. Even though we were only minutes away from Philadelphia, the sounds from the New Jersey side of the Delaware River - the wind whispering through the trees, songs of cat birds, warblers, nut hatches, and screech owls, along with sounds of passing trains and the train horn blowing in the distance erased over a 100 years and miles.
Roger & Astrid, our gracious hosts made the visit even more lovely with the food and activities we shared with them. Roger took us all sailing on his gorgeous, painstakingly restored and well-kept 30 year old wooden sailboat. The weather was perfect, enough of a breeze for a sail out on the Delaware River. We have heard tails of Roger's "high River" adventures, both last night and in the past, but we've not had the opportunity to set foot on his schooner. Invitations had been tendered, but for whatever reason, either we were too busy, bad weather, boat still in dry dock, our chances to board the good ship Glywyn did not arise.
Carpe Diem Matey! Unfurl the sails. Grab the jib, raise the mast and steer the rudder, it was time to set sail for an hour long excursion around the Riverton Yacht Club, zigzagging the river along the Riverton, NJ side - beautiful, well-kept Manor Homes and lush green lawns;

And on the the Philadelphia/Tacony, PA side of the Delaware River - an abandoned industrial wasteland, views of congested I95 North and an old shipping warehouse being stripped of it's aluminium siding slowly and steadily each day.

Let it be known to all land lubbers - sailing is hard work. Roger was constantly on the move, tying lines, moving the sail masts from starboard to port, steering the rudder astern or ahead and always keeping a watchful eye to the water and weather vein to see from which direction the wind was blowing, lest we crash into rocks or other boats in our path.
Oh, he was in his glory, eyes full of light and glee, scrambling along the deck and prow of the boat keeping the boat steady. Even though were were going 5-7 miles an hour, on the water that can feel like a ride on a roller coaster going 60 miles up and down. Roger he kept us on smooth waters despite the occasional chop or wake from ski jets and speed boats whizzing by. His three maidens, first mate and wife Astrid, land lubbers Liz and I were cradled in our seats, contentedly lulled by the mostly gentle rocking of the boat.
After our tour, Roger took us back to the dock and we walked the short distance to their house while he packed up the sails and closed up the boat for the night. Watching him open the boat and unfurl the sails, climb down to his living quarters and bring up the pillows, anchor bob-flag and other assorted sailing necessities was like watching a kid readying his club house for an "Our Gang" meeting. Captain Roger and his floating club house - no girls allowed, except that he had only girls aboard!

Around 6 pm we headed back to their house for a swim in the pool. And yes, it gets better! They treated us to sailing and swimming and then a the perfect summer meal - Lobsters and Fresh Corn! It was like going to New England without the long drive and wickedly funny accents!

Sunday - Can it really be Mid-August in Philadelphia? It's not humid and 90 degrees. We have clear skies. It's a dream. But boy, is summer flying by too fast. I can just start to feel Fall creeping around the corner. A cooler breeze, a few leaves beginning to turn prematurely red and brown. I'm not ready for the summer to end just yet. Ah well, we did enjoy the day nevertheless. More great food and company, this time with Liz's family, her dad and his wife, Liz's sister, and Liz's grandmother, who is 88 and in fantastic shape and spirits. What a grounding and connecting day and weekend this was, reminding me how lucky I am and how wonderful it can be to visit with people you love. Good friends, good food and good times. I can't ask for much more.


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