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Halfway home

I’m in a motel in Washington, Pennsylvania, which is ironic because I was in Washington, DC this morning (or actually in a small Maryland community within the DC Beltway).  Some highlights:

The process of reconnecting with my family continues.  I met a whole bunch of cousins, cousins-in-law, and cousins once removed over the weekend.  I’m learning a lot about how much of who I am is genetic.  And in talking with the family, I’m getting my memory refreshed on things I’d forgotten.  For instance, I had a vague recollection of having been to DC once before, but I’d forgotten it was a school trip over the summer rather than a family trip.  And when cousin Cynthia mentioned that our mutual grandfather had been an avid chess player, I remembered that he’s probably the one I learned the game from.

I ate well, thanks to my DC-area cousins Barb, Mark, and family, and a close family friend named Charles.  Thanksgiving dinner was large and diverse, and I got to try two types of almost everything: two kinds of turkey (regular and smoked), two kinds of dressing, two kinds of fruit side (including an intense cranberry relish), and two kinds of vegetable (Brussels sprouts and Aunt Shirley’s creamed onions).  I’ve never tried Brussels sprouts before, but I kinda like them.  They taste rather like broccoli leaves (the dark, flat leafy parts of the plant, not the florets).  Oh, and three kinds of pie, including pumpkin, mincemeat, and my favorite, a chocolate pecan pie.  And on Friday, Charles made home-grilled pizza of various types plus a salad.  This morning, we had brunch with turkey hash, pumpkin coffee cake, cranberry coffee cake, and assorted other stuff.  We were joined for brunch by six additional people (five more cousins and another family friend), though I had to leave right after in order to get a fair amount of driving in today.

Driving through the Appalachians in this weather is a bad idea.  Especially since my windshield wipers are lousy.  At one point today, it was snowing and the wipers just smeared it out.  I had to pull over to the side of the freeway at one point because I had no visibility.

I also ended up driving much longer than I intended to today.  I don’t like driving after dark, but I couldn’t find a suitable motel until about half an hour after sunset.  Maybe I was being too picky.  But I survived.

Oh, I forgot!  On Friday, Cynthia and I went to the National Air and Space Museum, and I got to see this:

The Enterprise and I

Awesome, huh?  I know there’s all sorts of controversy about the restoration adding all that detail, but still, it’s the Enterprise!  The actual one, right there in front of me!  I can’t remember whether I saw it on my first trip as a kid, but now I have.

Though as much as I geeked out over this, what really bordered on a religious experience for me was this:

Columbia

Okay, it’s a blurry picture — not Cynthia’s fault, it’s my lousy camera phone — but that’s me by the Apollo 11 orbiter module Columbia.  This little ship has actually done what the Enterprise only did in imagination: orbited a world other than Earth and carried people who set foot on that world.  I guess you can’t tell from my expression — I guess I’ve inherited the Bennett men’s reserve more than I realized — but like the craft behind me, I’m over the moon in this picture.

I have more pictures which I’ll probably put up on Facebook once I get home.  For now, I’m worn out.  I wasn’t even expecting to write this much.

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  1. Barrie Suddery
    November 28, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Awesome pictures, Christopher!

    “One day,” I keep telling myself, “I’m going to go and see these things for myself.”

  2. charlie
    November 28, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    AWESOME! that looks like a lot of fun!

  3. December 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Congratulations!

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