My trip to the USA was fantastic. It was great to catch up with friends and family again, even though I'd only been gone about 3.5 months. Here are a few pics.
The Men at the conclusion of the Seventh Annual Gathering of Men. These are my high school buddies. We get together every year and rent a house in Plymouth, Vermont (the birthplace of 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge). The weekend is full of manly pursuits such as poker, golf, pool, darts, drinking beer and eating massive quantities of grilled meats. Featured second from left is the newest and smallest member of the group, Ryan. He quickly earned our respect by taking everyone's money at the poker table and shotgunning a sixpack.
The late afternoon view looking west over Lake Champlain from a beach near my mother's house in Vermont. Lake Champlain separates the states of Vermont and New York. Look carefully at the horizon and you can see the Adirondack mountains of New York state. Although I grew up there, every time I return I am taken aback anew by its rugged beauty.
Here's the main drag in my hometown of Burlington, Vermont. You'll note an odd city name paved into the walk -- "Ho Chi Minh City." The line you see in the left of the picture is an imaginary longitudinal line that runs through Burlington and north-south through the poles around the world. Names of cities that lie on or near the longitude line are carved into blocks in the pavement. Two others are Singapore and Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. Pretty cosmopolitan for a small, remote American city. According to a cool distance calculation site I found, Burlington is 8,594 miles (13,830 kilometers) from Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon.
Staying in touch with important people in my life takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth a thousand times the investment. There was a popular song that appeared in 1999 called the "Sunscreen Song." It features a guy giving advice in a conversational tone set to chill background music. It contains bits like, "Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young." True.
Listen to the song on YouTube here.