America, June 26, 2004
The only way to really enjoy a Saturday
Stretching along both sides of the Potomac River in Washington DC, is the C&O Canal National Park. Once a shipping canal stretching to Ohio, the C&O Canal is now a great green border for the Potomac, protecting her shores from development, and creating the best spot to BBQ in all of DC; Flectchers Boat House.|
Now Fletchers Boat House, as the name suggests, is mainly a spot where wanna-be city anglers rent rowboats and canoes to attempt an afternoon of fishing on the Potomac River. Next to the boathouse is a barbeque area that's a microcosm of what I love about Washington DC.
There are about a dozen grills and picnic table areas strategically placed under large trees in a meadow with breathtaking views of the Potomac River and the far shore. It is here that on any random weekend during the summer, groups, families and even lone couples come and grill the afternoon away.
Those groups are always a little United Nations, with Latin America, Africa, and Asia well represented. This day is no different in that way. It is different in a whole other way, one that makes it very special to me.
This day is Grilling with Mom day!
My Mom, the originator of all that is Wayan is here in Washington DC for the week, and to celebrate I invited all my friends to a giant barbeque with her and I, or actually, Mom, myself, and Mom's good friend from Florida, Sequita.
Mom and Sequita met in Library Science classes, and spent every Saturday for a year keeping each other awake to get their Masters. Now both are good friends, gossiping non-stop about the fun they have as librarians for their school system in Florida.
The two of them took DC by storm, checking out all the monuments and museums during the week, even watching Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy vote on the Senate floor. Now they are taking my friends by cool and kindness.
As I manned the grill, tossing in river driftwood and charcoal to keep the flames hot for burgers and dogs, Mom and Sequita sliced tomatoes, onions, and cheese, and passed out chips and dip to all the hungry hands.
They entertained with embarrassing stories from my childhood, their travels, and twenty years of teaching. Then they had fun commentary on the Mexican party next to ours, as the birthday girl there swatted at a piñata larger than her. With my own piñata envy raging, I went over for a closer look, but kept my mouth shut when they handing the little girl a bigger stick and left her to beat the piñata to bits.
Back at our own barbeque, we broke out the badminton and were whacking birdies with glee when Little Umo stole the show. Little Umo, a precious three year old, thought he should be the official birdie batter and would steal our birdie for his own badminton. If he only had talent, we would've adopted him, but alas, we sent him back to his own party, a reunion grill for folks from Central African Republic.
Next we went into soccer mode, kicking the ball around as we watched a Chinese barbeque group pack up to leave. They joined us for a few kicks till one good whack from yours truly almost dented a Mercedes. It was time to put that ball away!
And alas, after six hours of food, fun, and friends, it was time for our own barbeque to end. Time for us to say goodbye and wander back to our lives and loved ones. Time to make memories of this Grilling with Mom.
Time for me to say thanks to one and all: Ali, Amy, Christina, Elizabeth, Eric, Faheem, Holly, Jeff, Jin, John, Karen, Kristy, Lina, Matt, Melissa, Mohammed, Sarah, Sequita, Terri, Tri, Wayan