My family and I had a wonderful day today.
When I say my family, I mean my wife and three children.
And I also mean my extended DailyKos family.
People like barb wires, kredwyn, Wolf Boy, mrsdbrown1, Oortdust, pastordan and Mrs Pastor, JanetTinMD, holy handgrenade, RPPA, Ides, RenaRF, jsmdlawyer, Brother Feldspar, Cabin Girl, Brother Feldspar, Halcyon, Rick (sorry, I can't remember your handle) and, of course, DCDemocrat.
Fellow Berkeley County campaigners Lynn and Sarah joined us. With children and spouses and other friends, there were 31 people there.
Let me interrupt recounting today's events for a moment...
Did you ever plan a party and you wondered if anyone would show up and you felt trepidation about it?
I had one of those moments this week. I had posted four diaries about today's event. DCDemocrat posted one and pimped it every where as did a few others. But organization is not in my skill set. And I didn't know how this would turn out today.
I called DCDemocrat. DCD, I said to his voice mail, tell me this isn't going to suck, that people aren't going to cancel at the last minute, that everything is going to be fine. Even if you think otherwise, call and tell me it's going to be great.
He called me back later. It's going to be fine, he said to my voice mail (we don't actually talk to each other, just to our voice mails). It's going to be great.
And you know what? Always listen to DCDemocrat because he's always right.
I know. I went to the wall with him on the Kerry-Edwards campaign in West Virginia. And when you go through a trial by fire like that with a man, you learn to trust him.
So when he said it was going to be great, he was right. Today was a great day.
Have you ever had one of those days where even a passing thunderstorm cannot dampen a good time? Where lightning bolts cannot match the charge you get from meeting people?
That's what today was like.
When my family and I arrived (on time for something for a change) there were already people gathered and talking.
Ides flew in to Dulles and rented a car. Holy handgrenade drove in from Philly, smoking a big old stogie on the way. Mrsdbrown1 and her wonderful husband and children drove up from North Carolina even though they had to turn around and drive home to attend a niece's baptism tomorrow.
You just don't meet friends like this every day.
So you probably want me to get on with this and give details.
We hugged. We chatted. We waited for 30 minutes for late stragglers then we took the bus down and we posed for pictures on the rocks. I did not know at the time my oldest daughter, 7, was scaling a cliff face. Pictures by BrotherFeldspar here.
We posed for the group photo and then we walked to the point where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers merge. I'll leave it to poets to describe the scene, but it's one of the prettiest on the planet with Maryland Heights on one side and the Virginia hills on the other and the rapid water underneath.
We walked up to the Catholic church where a priest flew the Union Jack to prevent his church from being bombarded. I entered with pastordan and DCDemocrat and jsmdlawyer. The church's sanctuary has a beautiful grace. I pointed out the carved marble of the altar, a scene from the last supper and pastordan said it was probably carved in Italy then he went and prayed at the front pew and we left.
Some of us walked up to Jefferson Rock to see a view Thomas Jefferson described as worth a voyage across the Atlantic.
Once there, we were caught in a sudden downpour and waited out of the rain under a tree. It was a soft rain and it felt nice being under such a shelter with such good people. Holy handgrenade joked that it rained because he entered the church and I said it made God cry. Then a lightning bolt flashed in the sky. I pointed out that it might not be wise standing under the tallest tree on the top of a hill with lightning in the air so we moved back down the hill to the church.
I walked down chatting with barb wires, a lovely woman. I wish I had the chance to talk to everyone with us, but everyone seemed to be always talking to each other, genuinely enjoying each other's company.
We split up to eat lunch because no restaurant could hold all 31 of us. We got back together to chat more while some of us toured the John Brown Museum (not the wax museum).
About 4 p.m., most people departed to return to their homes. A group of about 14 of us stayed to walk along the river and throw walks into the water and shoot slingshots and listen to the 1840s music of the brass band and to see the Civil War re-enactors describe their equipment. Then we went to have dinner at the Hilltop House where JanetT and a friend are staying tonight. (Cabin Girl and her sons are staying at the Comfort Inn to go biking on the C&O Canal tow path tomorrow.) The adults drank beer and wine and the children ate more cake than they should, and it was a lovely if exceptionally noisy dinner filled with the kind of conversation that people have in intelligent movies that play only in the artsy theaters (except for me, of course. I was relegated to the kids table -- my C&J past catching up to me).
We parted with plans to get together for lunch soon and for jsmdlawyer and his wife to celebrate my birthday with my wife and I.
It was a great day. DCDemocrat was right.