The Ole Gray Mare Ain’t What He Used to Be


For many years when the sports news hits a dry spell, I attempted to entertain you from personal experiences. The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals can’t make up their minds whether they want to stick around and contend for the division championships and the Redskins and Ravens have just come out of camp and are entering preseason play. Each has won their opening games of the preseason, but the only news that holds any suspense is the RGIII health watch. For that reason, I will attempt to entertain you with the Tim Lacy version of “How I spent my summer vacation.”

My wife and I have a home in North Carolina that serves as a getaway spot. Since it is a tad under four hours to make the trip, we hop in the car at a moment’s notice. The land was a part of the holdings of her grandfather, and has been split into 10 parts to accommodate his 10 children. For this reason, these close to 100 acres are split among my wife’s generation. You won’t find any of the houses pictured in Home and Garden, but all are clean and tastefully furnished.
In memory of the old man’s birthday, all gather on the second Saturday of August. There is the roasting of the pig, the cooking of the stew in the big kettle pot, and cholesterol laden dishes that would make Paula Dean run for cover.

On a normal day, our three knuckleheads, Maddie, Jordan and John (twins), spend most of their days visiting our refrigerator. But the annual trip to North Carolina is an event awaited with anticipation. Jordan is just as happy staying home day-tripping with her mom, but John and Maddie are loaded up and rearing to go. Maddie is a little sad at first, but that lasts about as long as it takes to get the car out of the driveway.

My wife spends quite a bit of her time in the kitchen, and I get to play grandpa for all of the kids who have gathered in my living room to play Wii. Two Tylenol and an occasional threat help me maintain my sanity. I discovered a long time ago that a day trip solves most of my sanity problems because all of the kids have excellent outside manners.

A trip to a local 50’s juke joint for lunch was a hit, and I took them to a flea market that resembles a massive yard sale. John found some old school sports items and he was as happy as a clam. Maddie was in an atmosphere where the operative phrase was shopping and being a typical female, she was good to go.

On another day trip, I added three from my friend’s grandchildren and we went off to the driving range. A large bucket of balls and a cold drink after was the order of the day. In the meantime my wife was preparing hot dogs and chips and a cold soda for our return. Grandma had whipped out the old fashioned ice cream churn, and the kids took turns grinding out ice cream the ol’ school way. The kids had a ball, but it turned out to be a mistake to give the youngest of our charges a sugar-laden soda. When they returned to the Wii game, this character was bouncing off the walls.

On Saturday we prepared for the main event which was well-rehearsed and well-presented. The festivities took place under a tent and despite a driving rain mixed with thunder the spirits were never dampened.

Midweek, we packed up and returned home. After unpacking, I retreated to my easy chair, and I sat there thinking, “The Ole Gray Mare ain’t what he used to be.”

The Ole Gray Mare Ain't  What He Used to Be

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