Extra Points: Father’s Day Caps Amazing Weekend
For the last 13 years, a part of Father’s Day for me has meant a trip to St. Mary’s Cemetery in Lower Township.
It’s where my dad, who passed away in 2007, is buried.
I spent a few minutes at his grave late Sunday afternoon, telling him about my wonderful day that served as the end of a fantastic weekend full of celebrations of various milestones.
Friday represented a family trifecta. June 19 marked 38 years since I was lucky enough to marry my high school sweetheart, Karen Newton. We celebrated our third anniversary in 1985 at Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, where Karen gave birth to our son Kyle. It’s also my youngest brother Paul’s birthday.
We toasted the occasions at Kyle and his wife Ashley’s home, along with our grandsons Hampton (4) and Graham (2), and our daughter, also named Ashley. The usual game of “Let’s spray Poppy (me) with the hose” was followed by burgers and grilled sausage washed down with margaritas.
Talk about cheeseburgers in paradise.
I had little trouble sweating out the tequila on Saturday. It began with a morning trip to Second Avenue beach in Cape May with Karen, Kyle, Ashley (wife) and the grandkids. Rather than relaxing with Karen under an umbrella, I spent the next two hours or so building sandcastles, jumping waves, and walking about a half-mile to the jetty with Hampton and Graham because Hampton felt we would get a “better view” of the daily dolphin parade.
On the way back, they asked for water ice. Poppy was nominated to escort Hampton to the concession stand, which was actually only about 500 yards from us, but when you have a 4-year-old on your shoulders as you trudge through calf-melting soft sand, it seems like five miles.
It feels even longer when you’re walking back while the 4-year-old holds two cups of cherry and mango water ice, which before too long start to melt and roll down your back as you search for your chairs while at the same time trying to maintain that six-foot social distance among fellow beach goers.
A 90-minute afternoon nap preceded our annual anniversary dinner at the famed Washington Inn in Cape May. It was the site of our rehearsal dinner in 1982 and Kyle’s in 2014. While Cape May is filled with tremendous restaurants, it remains our favorite for special occasions.
Saturday marked the first time we dined there al fresco. It was also the first time we had to wear masks as we entered and exited the property. Still, we enjoyed a terrific, romantic meal and even managed to share a laugh. At the end of the meal, the wait staff brought out a beautiful cake, which prompted me to respond, “Wow, I didn’t expect this!”
“It’s not for us,” Karen whispered. “It’s for the family that’s seated next to us. The cake says, ‘Happy Birthday Tony’ on it, for goodness sake.”
Ashley (daughter) gave me a heartfelt card on Sunday morning with a gift six-pack of “Twisted Tea” and a variety pack of “White Claw” hard seltzer since “You already have five bottles of Patron in the refrigerator.”
Kyle, Ashley (wife) and Hampton and Graham met us at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House for breakfast, also outdoors. That always means allowing them to take turns squirting tiny containers of Half and Half into our coffees – half goes into the cup and the other half winds up on their shirts – before they devour chocolate chip pancakes.
Kyle gave his dad (me) a new beach hat to replace the one that makes him cringe when he sees it – it says “Beach People” on the front – plus a framed photo of the grandkids.
That was followed by a three-hour visit to their house, which included squirting Poppy with the hoses attached to their new inflatable pool and a trip to their play room where Poppy soon found himself on the floor reading Sesame Street books and sampling 200 toys.
Another nap preceded a solo trip to Trenton Ave. beach, where I did some swimming and relaxing while reflecting on an amazing weekend.
I told my dad, and my mom, all about it at the cemetery.
I also visited with my maternal grandfather, and my grandmother, who are buried nearby.
I called him Poppy.