Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Did any of you catch that giant, That’s-No-Moon-It’s-A-Space-Station Super-Dee-Dooper Blood Wolf Moon last evening?  (I know friends of the decanter in New England did not, as I was chatting with Sistah in Maine in the afternoon and she was griping about the blizzard they were dealing with.)

Anyhoo, Ol’ Robbo did.  Not the eclipse itself, but the moon-rise at sunset, which was so huge and beautiful that it even tore Youngest’s attention away from her iPhone long enough for us to have a discussion about why the moon looks so much larger at the horizon than it does overhead.  (By the time of the actual eclipse, Ol’ Robbo was comatose for reasons which ought to become apparent as you read on.)

We were watching it -fortunately heading in the right direction -as I drove the Gel home from a softball camp for teens being held at one of the local universities.  After swimming varsity her first two years of high school, the Gel has got tired of the water (although she’s still acting as a manager) and decided she wants to go out for JV softball this spring.  As she hasn’t picked up a glove since little league, she figured she’d better do a camp prior to tryouts in order to brush up her skills.

The camp, open to teenaged girls, runs for three Sundays, four hours each time.  Mrs. R dropped the Gel off and I went over after Mass to watch for a while and bring her home.  I found myself pretty impressed:  While the camp is advertised as being open to all skills levels, it seemed to me that almost all of the participants were pretty advanced, the types who played travel and all stars in little league and then “A” team in middle school, and were now gunning for varsity and college scholarships.  (Youngest told me one of the gels was 14 and had travelled for it from Upstate New York.)  Nonetheless, from what I could tell the Gel looked perfectly respectable among them.  I watched her do some batting drills: While her eye was naturally somewhat out, her swings looked quite good.  Afterward, she told me she felt like the old moves really came back to her naturally, and didn’t feel the least awkward about being outclassed.  We shall see how things go.  (The JV program at her school is pretty inclusive, not cut-throat.  Indeed, one of the friends who encouraged her to try out is this year’s varsity captain.)

I was doubly impressed because I was only about fifty-fifty sure the Gel would even go in the first place.  Not only was it going to be a strange, new environment, she’d also been up all hours the night before hosting a birthday party for herself and a mixed group of about ten of her friends.  Needless to say, Mrs. R and I were up all hours as well.  Not only was there incessant “thumpah-thumpah” echoing up from the basement, we also had to take turns attempting (largely unsuccessfully) to calm the outraged outbursts of our highly neurotic dog.  Plus, there were a couple boys at the party and we weren’t going to send them home in the middle of the night in a pouring rain (our part of the Northeastern storm), so we had to do sentry duty as well.  Once everyone called it a night, the boys slept in the basement.  The girls slept upstairs.  We stayed in between them.  (One of the dads had asked – only half-jokingly – when dropping off his kid if we were some of those “cool parents”, the kind who encourage drinking and turn a blind eye to other goings on.  No, we’re not cool parents.)

My godmother says we should “cherish” these events because once we’re empty-nesters, the silence will seem uncanny and disturbing.  She may be right, but as far as Ol’ Robbo is concerned, no more parties at Port Swiller Manor.  From now on, a few friends is just about my limit.  Mrs. R concurs.  As she put it, “If Youngest wants to take a big group out for her 18th next year, fine.  If she wants a graduation party, she’ll need to find a friend who has a pool and throw it there.  We’re done.”

Heigh-ho.

UPDATE:  Took the gel to have her choppers cleaned this morning.  Guess who gets to have their wisdom teeth yanked this summah? (Not me, heh-heh).  When they told me, I made a little joke about how much I had enjoyed the Demerol when they yanked my own set back in the day.  It was as if I’d farted in church.  The dentist gave me a very thin smile and said they were “really trying to keep the kids off that sort of thing”, like I was some kind of dope-peddler.  Is it any wonder I simply avoid talking to people these days?