Friday, June 22, 2012

Capitalism, Fish, and Sports

For some months plans have been in the works for the Beilmans, the Brannings and Spike and me to meet up in Atlanta for a weekend of fun or family bondage as one of us calls it. If you're planning such, let me recommend the Hampton Inn in Alpharetta/Roswell. It's a block from 400 which will zip you downtown or to Buckhead in a minute, is adjacent to the North Point Mall and lots of restaurants. Even more important, for some reason it's half the price of most other hotels in the area. $69 a night will get you a king or double queen, both with a sofa bed as well. Not to mention complimentary breakfast which is another story.

These two enjoyed a happy cousin reunion and if at all possible always sat in the chair together.

First up was the Georgia Aquarium. As I ordered our tickets online and pressed the credit card confirmation I wondered how it could cost so much to look at a bunch of fish.
Even when we like fish as much as we do.
Believe me, it was worth every penny and more.

We couldn't believe our eyes.
Or tear them away from the gigantic wall of water.
Benjamin quickly settled in.
I'm thankful I'm not in charge of window cleaning.

Made me wonder what it must have been like for the Israelites to walk through the parted sea.
It must have been the like this only much more mind boggling.
And noisy, I would think.

Then on to The Varsity for lunch.

This is capitalism at its best.
Hundreds of people lined up for America's favorite food.
The hot dog.
I had a BLT.
Hot dogs and I had a parting of the ways moments after I toured the hot dog factory as a child.
It's not nice to terrorize impressionable children by forcing them to watch the hot dog making process.
But here, the crowds, the aroma, trays of dogs, chili dogs, o-rings, fried pies.
It was a piece of cholesterol heaven!

Spike eats enough hot dogs for the two of us combined.
This prompted a family discussion on forbidden foods.
We are a family divided.
Mayonnaise is either a highly savored or scorned food item.

If you ever wondered what Bunny and Mary Kelly looked like, or acted like, or thought like as children, well, here you are.
It's true. History repeats itself. I love history.
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

That evening we gathered up a picnic supper and took it to Wills Park in Alpharetta.
It's a great place with a huge playground, picnic tables, space for running and frisbee throwing.

And the first family kickball game on the baseball diamond.
There are no photos in order to protect me the innocent.
I insisted (Grammy's prerogative) that the youngest serve as team captains.
That was the only way to ensure that the teams were not loaded.
And the only way to ensure that I would get to be on a team.
It took only about three minutes of watching the finals of the trials for Women's Olympic Hammer Throw to remove any shadow of doubt that this writer has absolutely no athletic ability or strength.
But I am a Calvinist athlete.
I was chosen simply because of the love of my Captain.
The lack of confidence in my athletic prowess was reinforced by my favorite local son-in-law who announced, "Grammy's up! Everyone move in."
I did not disappoint.
We laughed and cried and laughed and ran and kicked and laughed and tagged and laughed until we didn't even notice the spectators who had gathered in the stands.
 For all the wrong reasons.
We have decided to hold an annual family kickball tournament.
Young Jack is in charge of the logo design for our t-shirts.
The next morning the guys headed to Legoland at Phipps and we girls headed to the American Girl store right near the hotel.
Talk about capitalism.
Whoever invented this racket is a genius.
Everything is tantalizingly displayed behind glass or in boxes.
Meg chose the mini cupcake display for her doll Julie.
Sorry, Julie.
If you want the cupcakes you have to also buy the $80 tea table.
You never saw so many grandmothers toting a bow-headed little girl in one hand and several credit cards in the other.
The least expensive item for sale was a minute plastic dollie wrist watch with a stick-on clock face for those who have absolutely no concern about time.
BTW, there were no dollie cell phones if any of you want to get on the stick with that.

Before heading home Sunday we stopped by to visit my parents, Gramma and Grampa Spehr. The children were all dolled up, sweet and well behaved chatting with their great grandparents.

My brother Jack brought Max and Bailey over, too. I'm grateful that these cousins all were there together and that my mom and dad enjoyed a visit with my kids and grandchildren.

We came home happy and thankful for such a fun weekend with no worries about what to cook or cleaning a house.
I love family bondage.

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