Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

For those friends of the decanter wondering at my absence, it was a road-trip weekend for Ol’ Robbo, as Mrs. R and I tooled out to visit Youngest at school in far southwestern Ahia, ostensibly to enjoy the Gel’s sailing club Parents Weekend festivities, but also (at least for me) to see her in context, as it were. The last time I was on campus was when we dropped her off as a fresher at the height of the covidiocy, at which time everything was either locked down completely or else very limited, and the only people one saw went scurrying furtively from one safe zone to the next, avoiding all contact. Ol’ Robbo wanted to get a sense of things in full swing.

And I may say that I was not disappointed. As for the sailing club, it was nice to meet a few of the Gel’s inner ring of friends (together with some parents) as we lolled about down at the lake Saturday afternoon. The kids were good enough to haul out the club’s Daysailer, and as there was a steady 11-knot breeze blowing, one of their members very patiently and good-humoredly took batches of us old fogies out for short rides. Ol’ Robbo barely even qualifies as an armchair sailor through his nautical readings, but I was nonetheless impressed with the way the kid handled tiller and sheet as he tacked three or four times for our pleasure and then brought the boat kissing back up to the dock. And I even managed to avoid getting whacked in the face by the boom as we came about without having to be warned.

As for the bigger picture, what a difference a pandemic makes! Work-spaces actually used, late Friday afternoon classes outside, a Saturday morning farmer’s market, pick-up games of ultimate frisbee and flag-football, and parties, parties, parties. (The school has a reputation, I believe.) It was also evidently some sort of weekend for the frats and sororities, as I saw numerous shoals of young ladies in “formal” dresses, many of which I’m pretty sure their fathers had neither seen nor approved. And then there was Ol’ Robbo: Friday evening I stepped into the local packy to grab some beer for the meet-and-greet at Sailing House and suddenly realized I was a good thirty-five years older than anybody else in the place. Yikes.

And yes, by the bye, we drove. Nine hours each way just for a two-night stay is right at Ol’ Robbo’s outer limit of tolerance, but we felt it was in a good cause. The road nerds among you will be interested to know that headed out I tried taking I-68 through western Murrland this time. Quite the scenic route and not much traffic except ’round Cumberland and Morgantown. I think it’s also a bit faster. Nonetheless, it was stormy in the Alleghenies yesterday, so I decided to stick to I-70 coming back on the reasoning that it would be better to get slammed (which we did) on a road I know well (at least between Somerset and Breezewood) rayther than one I don’t much know at all. I think I was right about this, but I’d forgotten what a garbage highway 70 is between where it splits from the turnpike and Washington, PA. My hands are still aching from clutching the wheel so hard. Pretty sure I won’t go that way again.

Anyhoo, a good time was had by all.

**All facts verified by the Disinformation Governance Board