Art Parker headshot

My flight from Baltimore was late landing Sunday night. And then I had to drive back home. The drive from Birmingham to home seemed like forever – it always does, and by the time I opened the garage door it was closing in on midnight.

I was returning from the Washington D.C. area after my usual summer visit to see my daughter and son-in-law, Catherine and Michael. I’ve been gone since last Wednesday, which meant I was behind as far as work goes. Over the weekend I communicated with our News Editor Brian Hodge and sports guru Tim Gayle to try and stay up to date. It is my week to write a column so telling you guys about my trip is the quickest way to complete the task. I just know you guys are breathing a sigh of relief – you don’t have to listen to my rants on politics this time.

It was the first time I have been on a plane since I received my pacemaker/defibrillator implant. I was prepared to endure the unpleasant experiences with TSA at the airports. To my pleasant surprise there was no problem and I failed to set off alarms in either Birmingham or Baltimore. It seems like all the airports now have a machine that checks you without all the electrified hoopla, buzzers and bells. There was one thing different this trip. The TSA agents were actually warm and friendly -they usually act like they haven’t been fed in a week.

Catherine and Michael live on the Maryland side of D.C. and both work in the District. Catherine works at George Washington University; Michael has been with the Labor Department forever. I love visiting but I’m glad I don’t live there. Being that close to the Federal government and politicians inspires me to walk around with one hand on my wallet. If my daughter didn‘t live there I would never go back, I promise.

I arrived last Thursday around noon. Catherine and I got up to date on things since her last visit this past February. Michael arrived home later on and we took off to one of my favorite restaurants in America - Crisfield Restaurant in Silver Spring, Maryland about six miles from their house. Crisfield is not a glorified uppity big-to-do restaurant. It’s my kind of place. It kind of reminds me of the old John’s in Birmingham or an older version of Jubilee in Montgomery. It’s a smallish place where you just show up and eat wonderful seafood. As usual Crisfield served up the goodies and when we left I felt (and looked) like a beached whale. Even though my consumption at Crisfield was excessive it didn’t take much effort from Catherine to persuade me for an additional treat just a couple of doors down. Moorenko’s Ice Cream Café specializes in ultra-premium ice cream with less sugar and milk certified antibiotic free. The reduced sugar helped me justify my participation in the dessert nightcap especially when I saw a flavor entitled Wild Blueberry. You have no idea how good this stuff is. No wonder Moorenko’s mantra is “Cheaper Than Therapy.” Believe me, the world’s most renowned shrink cannot help you solve life’s woes as much as this ice cream.

Of course we went to Laurel Race Course since Dad and Daughter are avid and well-seasoned horseplayers. I enjoy Delaware Park more than Laurel but the drive to Wilmington is a bit much unless one has tons of time to kill. The weather was beautiful my entire visit but especially nice the day we went to Laurel. If the weather is good I would rather be at a horse track than anywhere else. Father and daughter both had successful days at the track, which meant I got stuck buying dinner.

Catherine wasn’t feeling well on Saturday and my back was killing me. We just sat around and took it easy and enjoyed seeing one another again. I know you feel the same as I - your kids may live far off but they are still your kids and you love every moment you have with them.

Back to work. Time to get ready. School is in session and football season is upon us. We are planning to have an abbreviated football preview in the printed edition next week, AND a complete Fall Sports Preview in an e-edition format on our website before the first football game. We will naturally include the girls and have a volleyball preview as part of the e-edition.