I am about halfway through my whirlwind 2010 US Tour, the first major stop being in southern Maryland, where I visited my two first cousins, Cindy and Heather, and their families. Cindy Gilmour and Heather Muldoon, in defiance of convention, have lived next door to one another for the past heaven-knows-how-many years, existing for the most part in harmony and peace, despite conflicting views on everything from politics to religion. Their adjacent properties have become known family-wide as “The Gildoon Complex”, taking its name from the blending of their married surnames. It could as easily have been “The Mulmour Complex”, I suppose, but that just doesn’t have quite the same ring. They live right on the water, and both families make fine use of that, with sailboats, motorboats, kayaks, canoes, and rafts.
Cindy and Heather’s father, my Uncle George, lives close by and is a regular visitor. He is the last member standing of that generation of my family, and we try to hook up once a year or so when I am back in North America. At the moment, he is busy converting all of his slides and home movies to digital format, and he had this gem from my distant past. I guess I was about six at the time, standing next to his Rambler station wagon in the driveway behind our first house in Pennsylvania. The picture has a few issues (note the blurry section of the car, likely from slight movement during conversion), but the basics are all there:
From there, it was on to Monticello, the home of President Thomas Jefferson, now a World Heritage Site. Of all the presidents’ homes, Monticello is far and away my favorite. Jefferson had a major hand in the design, and included such up-to-date touches as wine elevators, skylights, sleeping alcoves and automatic doors (the doors from one hall into another are connected by means of a bicycle-style chain and pulleys, so when you push on one door, the other automatically opens along with the first).
Now I am in Nashville, visiting friends at BookPage, stocking up at Trader Joe’s, and sampling old and new favorite restaurants throughout Music City.
It’s been ages since I have had ribs or Mexican food, so I intend to postpone my summer diet plans for a few more days (at least…).
I hope to get over to Cheekwood to see the Chihuly glass exhibit, but time is growing short and I am not sure I will make it. From here I will head to Louisville to spend the weekend with my daughter Jenifer, and from there, quien sabe?