Saturday, June 17, 2006

Vacation Progress

We achieved our primary purpose for coming here last Sunday. Granddaughter Amanda graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, NH on a day that turned out to be just about perfect for an outdoor graduation. It rained from Wednesday, June 7, the day we arrived right through Saturday. STA, the school's short-form name, anticipating bad weather, erected a large tent accomodating 1700 people in the event the rain continued. Sunday dawned cloudy but by 10 AM it was clear and the sun shone for the first time in almost a week. Janet arrived at 11 AM to get seats for the family. She found the tent already full, so we took seats in the bleachers just outside the tent.

The graduation ceremony, as such events will, went on .. and on .. and on. The main event, the handing out of empty diploma cases to each student, who strode to the stage, received congratulations from the principal, the school's spiritual adviser, and a diploma case from another faculty member. It was their moment in the spotlight, recognition for four years of study, countless examinations, and a passing grade. Amanda graduated with honors and as a member of the National Honor Society, a feat performed by her mother 25 years earlier. We were justifiably proud as were the parents, grandparents and families of the other 145 who graduated that day.

Since then, we've relaxed, visited, worked (some). I spent most of the day yesterday with my Mom and my sister Betty at their' home in Littleton, MA. Mom turned 88 on June 5, the day we left Key West. We missed her birthday party, held on the 4th, an opportunity lost to see most of the extended Kelly side of our family. Only I and our brother Jack were not there physically, although he was undoubtedly there in spirit as we were.

My visit yesterday was also an opportunity for Janet to spend some quality time with her two brothers and a sister-in-law. Brother Frank drives a regional transit bus in the city of Lowell. Jim is my age, a retiree from the Postal Service and occasional substitute teacher in the Lowell school system. They were finishing up some research we're doing for the Key West Chicken Lady into her family history, much of which was in Lowell, an immigrant city through much of its history, and currently home to an Historic National Park that memorializes the city's industrial history in textile manufacturing.

Janet went off today with her cousin Jane to explore some of their favorite haunts along the Maine coast, particularly Ogunquit, a picturesque tourist village with some of the attributes of Key West (but cooler, and m-u-c-h colder in the winter!). They'll feast on New England fried clams, rest along the Marginal Way, and browse the quaint shops that make up Ogunquit's downtown area.

At 4 PM today we went to watch grandson Cameron pitch, and later catch, in a seven-inning Babe Ruth League baseball game. His team won the game in a walk-off in the seventh (and last) inning of a game that was tied at 4-4 in its last three innings. Cam was invited a few days ago to play with the local American Legion team, made up primarily of 16-19 year-olds. It's rare for a 15 year-old such as Cam to get an invitation to play Legion ball. He's making a rep for himself as a pitcher, catcher, and sometimes infielder.

Good on you, Cam.

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