I had to hurry through the last post (sorry for the typos), as I had to get a shower and meet Dan and
his Dad to go to breakfast. We've been off to that and to some souvenir shopping, and we've got a brief thirty minutes at the hotel before we leave for the day. Dan and his father are hoping that whatever crawled in me and died is finally expelled during this time, but I fear they will suffer for a good bit more of this day.
I want to describe The Hartland Inn a bit more, where we had dinner on Friday night. One of Dan's sisters (Liz, frequent reader of this blog and a solid Republican) asked me when we were finished dinner and on the way out what my observations were. As I craned around to do a final omindirectional scan, I concluded one thing. With the exception of a sole flat screen TV, there was no other physical evidence that the past 50 years had even happened. Truth be told, it could be more like 75. It was the place that time forgot. I am told many of these supper clubs are just like it.
After the Hartland Inn experience, we met up with Dad (Tim) and Linda, who couldn't be with us at dinner because he was committed to his men's golf group banquet dinner, where he is apparently a big cheese(head) and an avid golfer. Across the street from where they were meeting was a little dive bar that reminded me of the bar where a good bit of the action in the movie "The Deer Hunter" occurs, except again for the five or six flat screens. We were there for a few hours, and members of Tim's men's club young and old would come forward to greet Dan, the conquering Hartland hero. Hartland is a place where it seems to me, unless you have a damn good reason to leave, the wise move is to stay. Dan obviously had good reasons to leave, but it is clear this place tugs at him...as it should.
We headed back to Tim and Linda's place some time after 11, where Dan and I had a set of twin beds for the night. Having warned Dan that I would not be available for spooning, we headed off to sleep, or at least that was the plan. I put my earplugs deeply into my ears and my mask on, and headed off to slumberland, only to be awakened by both aural and seismic activity ushering forth from Dan's respiratory system, as he metronomically snored with a passion and volume that I had never heard before. Remember, I had ear plugs in. There was no hope that I would be able to sleep there, so I grabbed my blankets and decamped to the couch in the den, where I was able to grab a few hours of shuteye.
We spent much of Saturday morning sitting in the kitchen meeting discussing the news of the world as various elements of Dan's family passed through. One vignette is worth sharing. Have you ever seen the movie "Tin Men" with Danny Devito and Richard Dreyfuss? It is one of the all time funny, great movies--about aluminum siding salesmen in Baltimore in the early 60's/late 50's--complete with some spot-on Baltimore accents. Well, Dan's dad spent a career in dental supply sales, and Dan's brother in law Steve is in a similar business today. Listening to the two of them swap stories about trade shows and sales calls and great triumphs of marketing and the personalities in the business and ... well you get it...I found myself thinking that I had been dropped into the Tin Men movie--except these were "Tooth Men". It was really interesting and fun to listen to--Tim Karbler has great stories full of mythical midwestern heroes of the dental business, including the man with the patent on the pneumatic lift for the chair, and the guy who filled a helium balloon full of fifty one-dollar bills and exploded it over his booth at a trade show.
After a bit, we packed up for Green Bay, about two hours north, but first we would lunch with an old shipmate of mine from the THOMAS S. GATES--Steve Hampton. Hambone was my boss on that ship and we have remained fast friends ever since. He lives here now, having spent his first fifteen years growing up essentially down the street from where Dan grew up. They went to rival high schools, but their knowledge of the area maps closely. We met at an Applebees (mistake, my steak was a weak effort), but the conversation was good and it was great to see Steve again. He's with GE healthcare, and he and his bride have downsized apparently after his two girls have moved out onto their own into a place twice the size of what he left in Virginia.
Lunch ended, we began the trek to Green Bay, which included the stop discussed in the last post in Theresa (terr-essa) and the Widmer Cheese works. Autumn is in full bloom here, and the colors are astounding. Lots of rolling hills, lots of geese and ducks, a hunting and fishing paradise wherever you look.
I could really like living here....if it weren't for the winters. More later.