Oh yeah, I was on Spring Break...kind of. I took a little (large?) part of West Point with me on the Glee Club trip down the East Coast. I'm not going to lie; I wasn't too excited about the trip. All things considered though, I not only had a blast, but I learned a lot and met some great people and even made a couple of people I'd consider "friends"...something I don't throw around lightly.
I'm not sure where to start, so I'll try and go chronologically, but, normally when I do that, I forget stuff and the end gets shafted. Anyway, here we go...
I started out staying with a family in DC. The couple were really funny, she was a USC grad and he was a Kentucky grad (I think). She was a pilot and he was a transportation officer and now both work in or for the Pentagon. They have a three year old son who is really funny, but I didn't get to see him much as they dropped him at a neighbors house so they could hang with us. They drank good beer, they cussed and they have a birthday party every year for their son where they invite no children. They do, however, have a margarita machine and have a steel drum band play. Their house was huge and one room was unfurnished. I stayed in the "hotel room" and Mike stayed in the "don't ask/don't tell" or "carribbean" room, depending on who you asked... We performed in the Kennedy Center (not the main stage, so don't get too excited) and the Library of Congress...which was really cool. Afterwords, I drank free wine in a room covered in gold leaf and frescoes. The dome of the Capitol Building was framed in huge windows and the sight was amazing.
From there we went to Virginia where I stayed in my friends room because his parents hosted us. I had a whole day off where I sat out in the sun under a tree and read almost all of East of Eden, which is an amazing book. I wont go into how amazing it is right now because that's an entirely seperate blog, but thank you Alex for getting it for me. You're amazing. I also saw Capote, which I really liked.
From Virginia to the Bible Belt...yes folks, I have seen the things we've only heard and read about. The Baptist Churches down there are as omni-present and important as, say, surf shops in Oceanside. They are both community centers and Churches. The Churches come complete with "music ministry wings" or plaques that read, "this wing furnished to the glory of God by Mr. and Ms. so-and-so" and have architecture and decor reminiscent of hotels. (imagine gold leafed mirrors and marble tables with gaudy gold urns and table lamps in the back of St. P's...it just wouldn't fit) I stayed with an officer on Fort Bragg who will be in charge of me next year, so that was a pleasant suprise. We went to the 82nd Airborne Museum and then to Pebble Beach Golf Course where, since I don't golf, I initiated a couple of freshman into the joys of sushi and bar food.
From there to Greensborogh, NC and a Methodist Church (they all have huge pipe organs, by the way...something that they love out here on the East Coast...I personally miss my hippie hymns of yore) I met some of the oldest old grads ever and stayed with a great couple who graduated in '53 or '54, I can't remember. They made me laugh and I wrote a little som'n on myspace about em earlier.
From there, we went to Florida. Florida is awesome, it's like California, with less traffic and more vegetation. We stayed with my Friend Patty Silvola who quit earlier this year. His family is great and reminded me of my own family, particularly his Grandma.
She is Forrest Gump....no really, she is. Here are some of the things she did:
- She was in Pearl Harbor for the attack
- She was in Lebanon for the Marine Barracks attack
- Her family gave Samoa to the US
- She was "1st Lady" of the Saudi Embassy for years
- She speaks arabic
- She knows the dude who played the Joker in Batman
There is more, but I can't go into it all here. We hung out, four cadets and Pat, for about four or five hours drinking beer and listening to her stories. She kept us all enthralled and I'm going to send her something in the mail...maybe a picture, I don't know yet...either way, she amazed us all.
I hung out with a kid named Mike who is a real good guy. I think I consider him a friend now. He's a military bratt with these crazy eyebrows that go up on the outside of his face kind of like wings and give him a slightly sinister appearance if it weren't for the fact you can tell nearly immediately he's just a genuinely good person. He's political and literate and likes good movies...so you know we got along. I'll post pictures soon...and sorry I've been away...I'm sure you all...both of you...were waiting nervously for my return.