Monday. I'm pretty sure it was day 45 of the heatwave and the temperature was hovering around 1,000 degrees again. I leaped from bed and dressed in workout attire because even though it was 976 degrees at 7AM I was thrilled to take a look at my old hometown and equally excited to take a walk utterly alone.
The town has been largely ruined by what I can only assume is a distinct lack of urban planning. It has been happening slowly for a long time, but really snowballed once they allowed the Super Wal-Mart to go in. That place is a pox upon the land and I don't care at all if the residents appreciate its presence or if it's a major employer. Yuck. BUT. The historic downtown is pretty much as I remember it. Better, even. It was nice to walk among the old Victorian homes and cool old buildings of the town again.
After breakfast the girls, Jeremiah, Dad and I headed up to the tower for a view of the valley. Mom is still in a sling from rotator cuff surgery and missed out outdoor adventures (and somehow also managed not to appear in a single photo from the entire week. How does that happen?). I love going up to the tower. The view is always beautiful and it's just a very Home thing to do. The girls loved it too. They stopped to look at flowers, butterflies, a caterpillar, a spider, some rocks...dear God everything, along what I once believed to be a very short trail from the top of Massanutten Mountain to the fire tower. To my delight, they both climbed all the way up the steep steps to the top of the tower unaided. When we got there the thinner air must have been intoxicating to them because they were literally bouncing off the walls. Dad stood in front of the steps the entire time, such was our fear they'd bounce all the way back down on their heads.
After lunch we dumped the children on Mom and Dad and headed to Stephens City to see Keith & Ellen's new house (I believe they moved in 2 years ago) and Ro's chickens. As soon as they moved into the sticks, Rosellen began raising chickens and selling their eggs. She gave them all names like Teresa, Autumn and Phyllis so that no one would get confused about their status in the home and try to eat them. They're beautiful, these chickens in the mist.
After a tour (oh yeah, the house is great too) we headed up to DC to watch the Nationals lose to the Giants. Again. We got to enjoy the brand new stadium! In 1,000 degree heat! It was a lot of fun. Jeremiah and I purchased hats. Some guy working for the team came over near the end of the game and invited us to be on "the big TV". He was apparently charged with making some statement about the game and required wildly cheering fans to back him up. He was a absolute tool, but hey, "big TV"!