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The Kids in the Hall

July 12, 2011

Despite my enthusiasm this morning, Day 1 didn’t start out quite as well as I’d hoped. There was massive traffic for the first hour and a half, which should have taken 40 minutes. After another hour or so I realized that my GPS had sent me on a horribly roundabout route. By the time I righted the ship I was about 2.5 hours behind schedule.

But traffic cleared up, I eventually found my way, and my kids were tanned, dressed in real clothes, and as happy to see me as I was to see them. After a too-brief visit with Abby, I somehow found room in the already overpacked car for Sam’s giant duffel bag, and he and I were off.

For an hour, I didn’t even put the radio on; I just listened as The Hamster regaled me with tales of his two-week foray into sleepaway camp that were alternatingly funny, interesting, and horrifying. Late-night bunk parties, frogs captured and cared for, attacks from the resident psycho kid, new nicknames earned, freaky things noticed on nature walks, bracelets made in arts and crafts, and a general dearth of sleep, manners, and personal hygiene acceptable nowhere but within the boundaries of summer camp.

Before I knew it we were in Cooperstown, where I found first a reasonably priced gas station (badly needed by that point) and then a free parking spot a block away from the Baseball Hall of Fame. The day had officially turned in our favor.

Once inside I allowed Sam to set the pace and he zipped through the museum, partly because a lot of the exhibits on display right now are not of great interest to a not-quite 10-year-old, and partly because he was exhausted (See: late-night bunk parties and lack of sleep). But when it came to the Hall itself, adorned only with the bronze plaques of all the inductees, we lingered.

I love that room. This was my third time there and it was just as awe-inspiring as the first time. Even better, Sam loved it. He looked at every plaque, checking for players he’d heard of (he counted exactly 40). He was especially excited to see the plaque for Alexander Cartwright, known as the Father of Modern Baseball and in whose honor Sam got his middle name, Alexander.

After what seemed like approximately six hours in the gift shop we left, briefly stumbling upon a free outdoor jazz concert before heading to tonight’s “home”: the Lake View Motel, a dated but clean motel extremely well situated about 6 miles from the Hall of Fame and right on the edge of Lake Otsego, with beautiful views of the lake and the mountains that surround it. Finishing out the baseball-filled day, we grilled hot dogs for dinner at a little hilltop picnic area behind the motel, enjoyed the view and the perfect evening weather, and then headed inside to watch the All-Star Game until Sam fell asleep.

Even including the disaster of a morning, the day turned out to be supremely enjoyable.

Surprisingly, though, the best (and worst) part of the day was probably when Sam noticed Ozzie Smith’s plaque in the Hall of Fame.

Sam: “Ozzie Smith? Isn’t he a rock star?”

Me: “No, that’s Ozzy Osbourne.”

Sam: “Oh yeah.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeremy Chwat permalink
    July 13, 2011 8:43 am

    Sounds like a great start to the trip! I have heard that the Wizard of Oz plays a mean base guitar though… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Safe travels.

  2. Yehuda and Esther permalink
    July 13, 2011 10:02 am

    No stop off at Hoppy’s? Great picture, Yaacov was very excited to see Cy Young’s plaque.

  3. ABH permalink*
    July 13, 2011 11:00 pm

    Alas, they gave me Abby and Sam at the same time and the car is so ridiculously overpacked that I didn’t have room to take them both to Hoppy’s, and couldn’t leave Sam behind because he was officially no longer a camper. Abby will have to settle for being taken to Hoppy’s on Sunday by her mother and grandmother.

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