For no obvious reason, tiredness trumped cleaning house.
A review of my Facebook explained everything: the last six weeks of summer exploded with activity.
It began with a four-day visit to Washington, D.C., with one son, our only daughter and their families.
Packed everything, except my husband’s “brownie points” – he lost all of them when he suggested I ask a Facebook friend the secret for her great weight loss. He had failed to notice my recent weight loss.
Facebook records that I noticed my son and pregnant daughter comparing stomachs in D.C. He can tease, but next month she will lose hers faster than he does his.
Washington educates and exercises visitors and provides city transportation – which begins with a good pair of walking shoes. Walk to the national treasures. Walk to the station, the bus stop or the taxi stands.
The first day my step counter hit its all time high of 17,550 steps in one day. My feet hurt.
We walked briskly to the National Archives to see the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We wanted to see the promises of a people on how their government will work. Another couple thousand steps took us to the office of U.S. Sen. John Boozman for passes to see the Capital … and to catch a ride on the Senate’s secret, underground tram.
Walking around the Capital we learned more – including the fact that, “Slave labor built a significant portion of the Capitol.”
We took a long walk over to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Having just finished a biography about the original aeronautical research scientists, we had to see the Wright brothers’ exhibit.
Our slow walking tour of John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts concluded with a flute concert and a delightful surprise: flute players throughout the audience picked up their flutes and played with the stage performers in two pieces.
The last day we took a tour bus that required short and long walks to memorials:
Lincoln — too crowded to replicate the awe I felt the first time I stood at his feet reading his words.
Washington Monument — hurry up, stand in line for the appointed ride up the elevator to look out little tiny windows at the district and beyond.
Jefferson Memorial — awesome statue … but why were all those officers in bulletproof vests hurrying around outside and carrying big guns?
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier — silence, hot concrete, precise ceremony and, in the distance, the somber dignity of a military funeral with the presentation of the flag and black horses pulling a wagon with a black-draped coffin.
Relishing the non-walking time of the bus ride back to our rooms, we simply watched the 15 year-old and 4 year-old cousins taking dozens of pictures of each other.
We left the capital at a crawl in six lanes of heavy, slow traffic. Beneath the Facebook picture of traffic the caption said, “Do not EVER complain about traffic in El Dorado.”
The next week we visited friends, siblings and the other four sons and their families in Indiana, Michigan and St. Louis.
After each family or touristy visit, I left a trail of pictures, including one of FROG jam – made with figs, raspberries, orange and grapes. It tastes almost as good as the fancy French pastries our Michigan son’s wife made just for us.
St. Louis and a bit less activity as we watched grandchildren and just visited.
We returned home to discover I had lost all my brownie points weeks ago when I grabbed checks for our joint checking account instead of my personal account. I wrote a lot of checks and never noticed it had two names instead of just one. On Facebook, I teased my husband for being so frivolous with his money and promptly transferred money to fix his problem.
Two weeks to recuperate and re-organize before we traveled back to Indiana for a Labor Day weekend wedding. We took three grandchildren. Evidently, I had promised to babysit the young ones long before before our granddaughter gave us six weeks’ notice of her impending wedding.
The eight year-old grandson returned home and told his mom he had helped with the wedding. In honor of the groom’s love of Star Wars, those seated on the aisle (including my grandson) held plastic light sabers over the newly weds as they left the church. Oh yes, and let’s not forget that he caught the garter. He decided it was a frilly sling shot.
The drive to Indiana took one day. One day for the wedding and two days more leisurely days of driving home.
Two weeks later we only had to drive to Hot Springs for a wedding.
Two weddings, two trips to Indiana and Michigan, two trips with grandchildren and too little time to prepare and recuperate.
Good thing I have Facebook to remind me. I am too exhausted to remember a thing.
Joan Hershberger is a staff writer for the El Dorado News Times. She can be reached at email@example.com