The pool came down for the season today. Just one of those blue Intex inflatable ring pools....but it's a lunker, 18 ft across and 5,000 gallons....it's certainly large enough to cool off the Leo clan (and occasionally some guests as well). This is the second season we've had it up...it's been just about the best $200 bucks our family has spent. We love this thing. I was a little sad to watch it drain out....The kids had a blast in it this year. Gavin went from being a little sketchy about it in June to turning into a fish by August. Ivy spent most of her pool time clung to Mama's side, but she dug it too. Sometimes I'd get home from work, walk through the door, and find the house empty but could hear the faint laughter coming from the backyard. The family would already be swimming and I pretty much wouldn't break stride as I rushed across the deck and down into the backyard to join them. One of our favorite new traditions that we've started this Summer was to have a pre-dinner swim, then head over to the raspberry or blackberry patches and eat a few handfuls of berries before going in and getting supper going.
I'm super psyched for Autumn, but it was a little sad to see the "Big Blue Bag Full of Water", as Gavin calls it, go down for the year.
Also today, Gavin and Ivy participated in a long standing central Massachusetts tradition today....It was their first lunch at George's Coney Island hot dog stand in Worcester. C.I. has been a staple of the Worcester County food scene for nearly a hundred years. I'm pretty sure that you need to prove that you've eaten at Coney Island before they issue you a drivers license around here. It's a total experience: HUGE neon sign to greet you on your way in. The inside looks like some Eastern European detention center holding room meets 40's art-deco. The booths are wood, and there are THOUSANDS of names (including mine) carved into them, generations of customers..."vandalism as census" I've heard it called. They pretty much only serve hot dogs. There are a few other sandwiches on the menu, but you rarely see one served. The way to get your dogs is "Up", that's C.I. lingo for mustard, chili sauce, and onions. And chocolate milk....you GOTTA wash them down with chocolate milk. The kids aren't quite ready for the spicy of chili and onions so Ivy took hers plain and Gavin has 2 with ketchup and mustard, and chocolate milk, of course.
Coney island is a place where everyone from this area should have a memory of. I have several. In High School I found a wallet with not ID in it, but containing $300bucks taped to the underside of one of the tables (no kidding). I brought Chrissy there when we were up from college visiting my folks. When Gavin was born, my folks came to visit in the hospital and brought a dozen or so C.I. dogs ("up", of course) with them...we stunk up the whole floor with that chili and onions....great stuff.
It was nice to share that experience today with my family. They are such a blessing to me. It'll be a few years, but I'm psyched for the day that Gavin decides he's ready to take his dogs "Up". He may need an extra chocolate milk to wash them down, though.