Matha and Sara

Friends and family gathered on a wide lawn encircled by lush North Carolina mountains on this the twenty-sixth day of July. Matha and Sara are getting married! The weather was beautiful and the ceremony was filled with love, warmth, tradition, commitment and personal reflection.

Gretchen and I were so happy to share this moment in Matha and Sara's life! They're obviously deeply in love and committed to each other. We wish them the very best, on this the beginning of a long and joyful life together!


At the reception, Paula said when she was asked who she was bringing to the wedding, she said "Five Supreme Court Justices"! Her comment reminded me that the struggle for equal rights and justice for all is long and hard. Certainly, in my life time, our country has seen much progress in this area. But we have more to do....not to mention the fact that the subject is not even considered in most of the countries in the world.

Thanks Sara and Matha. Your wedding and reception were wonderful....just like the two of you!

Ben, Lauren, Gretchen, Tom, Paula, Betty, Bert


This is a poem Sara and Matha included in their wedding program. I really like it!



by Aaron Kramer

Come, all you who are not satisfied

as ruler in a lone, wallpapered room

full of mute birds, and flowers that falsely bloom,

and closets choked with dreams that long ago died!


Come, let us sweep the old streets,

sweep out dead leaves with a relentless broom;

prepare for Spring,

for whose light footstep eagerly we bide.


We'll sweep out shadows, where the rats long fed;

sweep out our shame--and in its place we'll make

a bower for love, a splendid marriage-bed

fragrant with flowers aquiver for the Spring.


And when she comes, our murdered dreams shall wake;

and when she comes, all the mute birds shall sing.


P.S. After the wedding I had to download a new song to my iTunes library...LIFE IS BETTER WITH YOU by Michael Franti. :)


Mobjack Bay Vacation

July 10

Gretchen and I arrived at the cottage we rented on the Ware River off of Mobjack Bay about 2:00 p.m. The cottage is beautiful, just as advertised. It was originally the overseer's house on the Glen Roy Plantation. Glebefield was one side of the plantation, the other Churchfield.

The manor house is next store, part of a subdivision derived from the old plantation grounds. One unique feature in our front yard is the ice house, built to store ice delivered by ferry in the days before refrigeration. It is quite cool in the ice house even on a ninety degree day!

We checked out the dock at the cottage but didn't feel great about keeping our boat there. But following a few calls, we had her docked at the Servern Yachting Center and went for a cruise of the Severn River out to Mojack Bay. Great first day!

July 11

Rain, rain, rain...not a good boating day! So, we drove to the farmer's market in Yorktown to get veggies for the week. Then we went to Topping, VA, to Merroir for lunch. It is a renowned restaurant owned by the Rappahannock Oyster Company. The name is coined from terroir, a French term denoting the taste wines get from the earth. Hence, Merroir is the taste given to oysters from the sea! The roasted oysters were delicately wonderful but the crab cakes were too rich...from cream or mayonnaise....we were not impressed.

Following lunch, we drove through Urbanna in the rain and then visited the Deltaville Maritime Museum. They have a wonderful new facility, but the artifacts within are not very impressive at this point in time. The museum has restored the F.D. Crockett, a large boat used to buy oysters and other seafood from fishermen on the water. It is an impressive boat. They also have a family boat building camp starting this week...a neat idea!

We ended the day with cocktails and an excellent dinner of the vegetables we gleaned at the market (egg plant, onion, pepper, tomatoes and corn) over pasta....superb!
July 12
Beautiful weather and a great day to be on the water. Not a perfect flat day for motor boats but the sailors were happy as well today. First we headed up the Ware River to find the place we are renting. The photo below shows the boat dock on the right of the folks who own the cottage and the yellow house on the left is the old manor house of Glen Roy Plantation. It is a long way up the Ware River so we were glad keeping our boat at their dock did not work out. It is a long way down the river to the Chesapeake!

Next we explored the North River. It was lunch time when we arrived at Greenmansion Cove, so we anchored by the plantation manor house for which the cove is named. After lunch we headed upriver until we saw Elmington, one of the loveliest estates on the Bay. Note the owner's yacht....I'm sure its value alone is more than the Morgan's net worth!

On our way back to the cottage we decided to try a vodka tonic for cocktail hour. We picked up some blueberry flavored vodka. It was horrid, we'll stick to gin and tonics! Maybe we should have bought regular vodka and made it the same way as we do G&Ts? Oh well, another day!

July 13

The weather forecast was for thunderstorms and showers in the afternoon but the morning through 2:00 p.m. looked good. So we crossed Mobjack Bay out to the New Point Comfort Light House. A north east wind was building 1-2 foot waves in the bay and we learned that motoring through the chop is no more desirable than sailing through it in a small boat. So we headed back up Mobjack Bay to the East River. We were keen to see a tide mill on the estate of Sally Tompkins, the only woman commissioned a captain in the Confederate Army. She ran a hospital during the Civil War with a 95% survival rate! We thought we saw her house but did not see the mill. Reading the cruising guide tonight leads me to believe we were not up the creek enough to see her house. So maybe tomorrow we'll return!

Following our boating for the day, we walked around Gloucester Point Park and went to the visitor's center at the Virginia Institute for Marine Science. We saw Brandon Conroy's photo on the student wall, a former CVGS student. He told me at Cheryl's retirement dinner that he was working on his PhD at VIMS.


July 14

One thing for sure....this has been a sailing week in terms of weather. Winds and waves everyday have certainly prevented us from going long distances in our motor boat. Today we motored across the Mobjack Bay to the East River again. We read the cruising guide and wanted to try to find the tide mill. Once again we failed, not for lack of effort. We even churned up some mud going up the creek where it's supposed to be! As we left the East River to go back to the marina, a storm looked like it was going to get us pretty wet. But it passed over the Severn River to the east and we put away our foul weather gear coated with only a few rain drops!

July 15

Calm winds and waves were what we found leaving the marina, so we decided to head toward the York River. Given motor boat conditions, we quickly found the small channel on the southern entrance of Mobjack Bay and scooted into the York. We decided to do a big loop (not the Great Loop for sure), but rather the Goodwin Thorofare off of the Poquoson River back into the York River. We ducked into Back Creek to see the large scallop fishing vessels and to see if the worst marina I have ever stayed in has made any improvements....doesn't look like they have!

The water looked pretty calm leaving the Thorofare, but the wind and waves were building coming down the York. We headed back to Mobjack Bay knowing we would have to run several miles the into same wind and waves to get back to the marina.

Goodwin Thorofare

Back in the Severn, we anchored for lunch and I utilized my lifetime Virginia fishing license and new fly rod for the first time. Didn't catch any fish but I did have some good casts. It was a "river runs through it" moment!

This evening we headed to Southwind Pizza in Matthews for dinner. It is an eclectic place, packed on this and from what I glean every evening. The food was great!

July 16

The weather was for substantial wind and waves, the result of a cold front that moved through during the night which raised Small Craft Warnings. Arriving at the marina, we found the forecast was accurate. So we decided to take the boat out of the water on this our last boating day. It was a good choice since it took us until 2:00 p.m. to get the boat ready to travel and then cleaned up at the car wash. We finished the day walking around Yorktown....need steps you know! Stopped at Whitley's Peanut Factory on the way back to the cottage. Great stop...we tasted everything but purchased the traditional salted peanuts to bring home!

July 17

Time to head home. We had a leisurely breakfast, packed the car and headed home. We stopped in Gloucester Courthouse for a sandwich and made it home by 3:00 p.m. We had a fun week even though the weather was really unsettled for this time of year. The Chesapeake is known for calm summer days, but we only had one morning like that. Hence our crushing range was curtailed. The boat handled well and we did get out on the water all days but one. Gretchen and I look forward to our next trip, hoping we will have more "motor boat days" up near the Bay Bridge


Fourth of July

The week of the Fourth began the Friday before, when we headed to NC to help Katie with the kids since she was working the weekend. It was cool to see Henry loved reading his Bad Kitty book before bedtime.

We went to the Life and Science Museum and yes....took the train ride! It's is very interesting to see what captures the kids' interest each time we go there.

Sunday evening we headed to Lynchburg with Henry for his summer vacation visit. Monday found us at Homestead Creamery for a tour and samples....their ice cream is wonderful. Obviously, Henry liked the hair net we all had to wear on the tour! Then we headed to the Lake for some boat time?

We saw a crane on a barge.

We went for ride down to the dam and then anchored for a swim in a cove. Henry made his first leap off the dock when we left the boat at the Benders.


Unfortunately, last night Henry had a bad stomach ache and threw up! It must have been something he ate. Today we are taking it easy but he is improving!


Henry said he really, really, really wanted to go to the lake. So, we went for a boat ride, swam in the lake and then he wanted to fish. I got a rod from the boat house and rigged it with a fake minnow. Within a minute of his first cast, Henry caught a fish. He was hooked!

Grandma and Henry enjoying the water.


Henry went for a bike ride with Grandma when she walked Blackwater Creek this morning. Then we went to Walmart to get Henry a fishing rod. I mentioned he was hooked! In the late afternoon, Kelley and Maggie arrived and we enjoyed cocktails and dinner on the porch.


We all headed to the Benders for the July 4th weekend. It was a full house with Jenny, Jeff, Jessica, Josh, William, Janelle, Andrew, Hunter, Kelley, Maggie, Henry, Gretchen and me.

We spent the day boating and swimming plus Henry got to try out his new fishing rod.

Maggie and Henry got to meet their cousins Hunter and William and they had a great time playing together. Of course it was great that Kelley could catch up with Janelle and Jessica as well; it's been awhile since they have seen each other.

Jenny put together a shrimp boil for dinner. So the evening ended with good food, good wine and good conversation!

William, Maggie, Henry and Hunter.


On the Fourth, we took Maggie and Henry to VISA to participate in the games. Maggie decided she would not participate this year but Henry had a good time. Back at Benders, Henry fished for hours, and his patience paid off as he caught a huge fish! Look at that smile....a fisherman is born!

We ended the day with the traditional Fourth of July picnic, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and so forth. Gretchen, Henry and I took the boat out on the Lake to view the fireworks. Henry fell asleep on the ride to the marina, rallied for the fire works and fell asleep on the way back!

Imagine the house with four kids six years old and under plus eight adults. Jenny always says she wants a full house. I asked her if she still felt the same after the weekend? She said absolutely! Perhaps then, a tradition was born this holiday! Thanks Jenny and Jeff, it was a great weekend!



Lisa's Wedding

Mid-June and Gretchen and I are heading to pick up Katie enroute to Minneapolis for Lisa and Luca's wedding. It's an exciting time. All of Gretchen's brothers and sisters will be there as well as many of the cousins. After an easy flight, we checked into the Foshay, once the tallest building (30 floors) in Minneapolis which is now dwarfed by it's siblings. The Foshay is now a plush W Hotel, a very nice place to stay!

Reflection of Foshay Tower

The festivities began with the families going to a local brew pub for dinner. We got to meet Luca's family and catch up with our family members! The evening ended with a night cap in the Prohibition Sky Bar on the 27th floor of the Foshay.

Friday Gretchen and I walked to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a very neat small exhibit space next to the Walker Art Center. The centerpiece of the Garden is the Spoonbridge and Cherry. It is a striking sculpture.

For the rehearsal dinner, the Signorelli's hosted a dinner cruise on Lake Minne-Tonka. It's a large lake about a half hour from downtown. The weather cooperated and we had a beautiful evening on the water! Thanks Tim and Kathy!


Saturday was a beautiful day for a wedding! At 1:30 p.m. We all walked across the street to St. Olaf's Church and the ceremony began with a stunning bride walking down the aisle with her dad! Forty-five minutes later the Signorelli's walked back down the aisle, a brand new couple with a lifetime ahead of them.

Let the celebrations begin...and they did with a two hour happy hour followed by dinner and dancing, all at the Foshay. One highlight for me was Jeff's toast to the bride and groom, very personable and well said!



Although I left the reception at 10:30 p.m., I'm told the millennials danced until the strike of twelve and then retired to the Prohibition Sky Bar for a night cap! Oh, to be young!

What a wonderful wedding weekend it was. We so enjoyed all of the festivities and catching up with all our relatives. Liz and Jeff, thanks so much for your hospitality. You planned a perfect weekend to launch Lisa and Luca into their life together!





Audrey is three!

It's hard to believe Audrey was three years old last Saturday! She is a sweet adorable girl who is also sassy and a person who knows what she wants. I'm sure I'll be writing a similar description in blogs 3, 6 and 9 years from now! Gretchen and I went to Hillsborough for her party, a summer pool and spray event with water balloons!

Several of Audrey's friends from The Little School came to the party but one poor guy felt sick on arrival and had to go home.

Of course, food and cake were on the menu.



Katie made this really cool water sprayer for the kids to run through. Henry loved it and the young girls eventually got up the nerve to go through it. I'm sure the sprayer will get a lot of use by the kids in the cul-de-sac this summer.



Happy birthday Audrey! Grandma and Grandpa loved being at your party. It was a fun time. Thanks Katie for inviting us!

Cousin Tori and big brother Henry with the birthday girl!