Bye Bye Redbird
We finally got our kids back and we did what any American parents who have been separted from their kids for months would do... WE LEAVE TOWN! Because really... WHAT'S ONE MORE DAY AWAY FROM HOME?! Ummm, yeah.
We were blessed with a set of tickets to the Cardinals game again for last Saturday's game which started around 3 PM. So we got up, ate a healthy breakfast of chocolate covered and powdered mini-donuts. (Hey, I woke up at 3:30 am, couldn't go back to sleep, so I decided to go Walmarting. Those donuts jumped into my cart by the time I made it out of the store... You try to resist their call at 4:30 in the morning...)
Anyway we decide to leave early enough to hit one of the kids' favorite places which we discovered last year while in St. Louis: the Old Spaghetti Factory. They were excited about the prospect of yummy garlic bread, great food and neat old-time surroundings.
We arrived and our waiter looked like a cross between a classic Italian and this most recent Superman. He was a very handsome young man. But something about him seemed put off or down, I noticed right away. I made sure to thank him for everything and to show appreciation for his service. And I wasn't the only one. Mr. Right, the girl and the boy all chimed in with kindness. I told Mr. Right that our waiter seemed as if he was having a bad day. He agreed with my assessment, and we just tried to not add to his burden.
At the end of the meal, our waiter came to make sure we were all finished. He turned to leave, took five steps and then did a U-turn, arriving back at our table. He said, "I know we're not supposed to talk about our customers, but I have to tell you something. I was having a really bad day, but your family has really been a delight to serve. Thanks for putting back faith in good people."
And that made the entire trip worthwhile... I'll let you use your imagination as to how many good conversations we had with the kids on the way to the game.
We made it to the stadium just in time. Although it was a 100 degree day, the time outside wasn't miserable. We had brought frozen water bottles and a softsided cooler filled with ice to quench our thirst, grapes and cherries to help with hydration and hunger and little fans to cool us off. God provided several soft breezes which went a long way to comfort us. (The only down side was that we sweated in our seats so much, we looked as if we had peed our pants whenever we stood up.)
And God gave us a great seatmate for the duration of the game. She had a water sprayer with a fan and she kept spritzing those around her to let others cool off too. At one point, the boy said quite loudly, "That lady is so kind to do that. She's quite generous." (But when I tried to encourage him to tell her, he clammed up. Well, it's a start.)
We enjoyed our time, fellowship with those around us and the game itself. It helped that they actually had three homeruns which we got to witness first hand. And it really was a blessing to be at a winning game. That always adds to some of the joy in attending a professional game.
And if anyone's keeping track, you may want to invite Mr. Right and I to very important sport games. We've recently realized that almost every profession sports game we've attended resulted in a win. (The two we attended were for the Royals... and really, you can't expect miracles all the time.)
We made it back home that night, safe and sound. Now we have the wonderful task of convincing the kids that they can go to bed at 9 PM and they'll still live. It's good to be together again. It's good to be a family.