1. To my everlasting relief, everything went smoothly today as I flew from Spokane to Seattle and Seattle to Newark on Alaska Airlines and picked up the rental car I had reserved at Newark Liberty International Airport. I know it's odd because I live in North Idaho and I'm supposed to hate driving back East, but I could hardly wait to get back on the Garden State Parkway and the New York Thruway, read multiple direction signs with lots of arrows, and drive through E-Z Pass toll road stations and look at New Jersey service centers again. I loved driving from Newark to Valley Cottage and look forward to Monday's drive to West Wareham, MA to meet up with the Troxstar.
2. I'd only been to Valley Cottage once, a day or two after Josh and Adrienne's wedding, while they were moving into their new house. Upon my arrival this evening, Debbie poured me a genuine hop bomb, a Triple IPA, called More Political Flow, a collaboration between District 96 and Obercreek. It was perfect, packed with citrus flavors, refreshingly bitter, and amazingly smooth and easy to drink for such a power packed 10% ABV beer. I enjoyed a small glass of More Political Flow and then had another small glass of a second Triple IPA. District 96 asserts that F.O.A.P.B. (Father of All Photo Bombs) is the biggest IPA they've ever brewed. I'll take their word for it. It also weighed in a 10% A.B.V and deeply satisfied me with its multiple tropical and citrus flavors and its remarkable smoothness.
As I sipped on these beers, I was reminded of a sunny day, February 4, 2017 to be exact. That day I visited Eastern Market in Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill neighborhood, visited Capitol Hill Books, and strolled on down to a quiet eatery called EatBar on Barrack's Row.
I ordered a Double IPA I'd never heard of, brewed in Astoria, Queens, NYC by SingleCut called Softly Spoken Magic Spells (the closing line of Pink Floyd's "Time").
I loved that beer. It put a magic spell on me. While there were many, many good reasons for us to move from Maryland to Kellogg in September of 2017, I knew that once we did, I would be giving up ready access to this kind of New York/New England IPA and now, nearly four years since our move, I continue to feel the loss.
But, tonight, sitting at Josh and Adrienne's dining table, back with Debbie after nine months apart, what once was lost now was found in the two beers I drank tonight and I experienced a small, but significant source of amazing grace.
3. Debbie also fixed a delicious dinner for all of us. I don't know the last time I had sloppy Joes (better than salami sandwiches). Debbie cooked up a delicious batch with potato salad and cabbage salad as sides. What an evening! I met my granddaughter Ellie, got to be around Jack and see how much he's grown up in the last couple of years, enjoyed a splendid reunion with Adrienne and Josh, and, as a bonus, Josh's sister and daughter, Andi and Nya are visiting this weekend.