This summer we have enjoyed hosting 13 visitors for a total of 18 days. Every visitor and every day brought us joy. On June 1, Lilli dropped off Violet on her way to business in Atlanta, then returned for two days of telecommuting. What Violet most wanted to see was the “pencil,” also known as the Washington Monument. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she then made a model of the Mall using a real white pencil, surrounded by paper flags, with the Capitol at one end and the Lincoln Memorial at the other. Violet loved seeing deer in our back yard, playing on the xylophones in the studio and the Big Wheel outside, swimming at Washington Golf and eating at the pool snack bar, and seeing a performance of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” at Encore Stage. She and Lilli visited local friends and heard a flute/harp recital at out church.
Next, Amy Mahoney brought her children for a couple of nights during a month-long stay with her husband’s parents in Fairfax. Tom is an army doctor stationed in Afghanistan through October. Jack, 4-1/2, enjoyed visiting Gulf Branch Nature Center, digging for worms and collecting bugs. Katherine, 2-1/2, liked trying out all the musical instruments in our playroom. Amy and the children all loved swimming at the pool and having Steve read stories. We’ve known Amy since she and Shelby were friends at Emory. Amy moved to DC after they graduated in 2000. She and I were together on September 11, 2001. We attended Amy and Tom’s wedding in Glastonbury CT in December 2003.
On July 3, I took the train to Philadelphia to meet my brother Joel, his wife Elisabeth, my nephew Andy and his wife Cindy Kirkpatrick, who had just returned from Europe by ship and were making their way back to Texas by train. Joel treated us to a tour of the Barnes Collection. We saw a wonderful Cezanne exhibit and many other Impressionist paintings rarely seen outside that special museum. Cindy, Andy and I buzzed by the Liberty Bell and the Constitution Center, encountering members of the US Army Fife and Drum Corps; then we all took the train to DC. Cindy had never been to Washington, so during the next two days, we crammed in as many sights as we could, almost equaling Andy’s 1974 record. In this photo album you can see Philadelphia and Washington through their eyes, including Museums and Memorials on the Mall, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and fireworks on the Fourth. It was a memorable celebration of Independence Day with dear relatives.
My niece Susan Kirkpatrick Barker has a special place in my heart. She was the first newborn I ever got to care for, in St. Louis, for a week right before my sophomore year at Rice. She and her three children arrived July 13 from Waxahachie, Texas. Her husband Ernie flew in the next day after videoing another pro baseball game (his job is taping football, basketball and hockey games). We had seen Ben (12), Grace (9) and Sarah (8) many times in Texas, but this was their first visit to DC. Ben went to the piano immediately and played music he has been learning and composing. He returned often, getting better and better–what a joy to hear! Grace was always snapping pictures with her new camera. We enjoyed sharing our photos with each other; she has a good eye and a steady hand. Sarah was especially attentive to the exhibits she saw in the many museums we explored; it was a revelation to her that George Washington owned slaves. All three kids had the characteristics of good travelers: curiosity, adaptability, and stamina.
Ernie enjoyed playing in a one-day golf tournament with Steve and reading my blog (thanks!). Susan appreciated the many parks and savored comparing this trip to DC with earlier ones. It took me two albums to record their visit: Barkers, Day One and Barkers, continued. We admire this family. They are all so helpful and easy-going. Ernie left a day early to prepare for an intensive week at Camp Esperanza, a special place for children with cancer. This was his 25th year as a volunteer counselor. The young men with him in this photo all started out in Ernie’s cabin as 6-year-old boys and have now returned to camp to serve with him as counselors.