hummingbird underwears butterfly bricklayer on tulip anniversary

Hummingbirds arrived at The Martin Family Petunia Plantation…

“Plantation, Dan?” Nazy asked.

“It’s an alliteration, Nazy.”

“So is ‘petunia plant’ which is an alliteration that is also true.”

“Maybe it was an allegory, my dear. Or a metaphor.” I replied. “
Or maybe, it was a (gasp) mistake,” I thought.

“It was a hummingbird, Dan.”

“In the petunias, Nazy.”

Many weeks ago, at his school, I read “The Creepy Underwear” book to Tiger. A couple of days later, he wanted me to read it too him again, but we couldn’t find it. Then early last week he told me…

“I found the creepy underwear book, Dan. I hid the book so we can read it when you to the school.”

My schedule precluded a visit to the school, so I ordered the book on Amazon. I even told Tiger that the book was ‘on the way’.

It ceased being ‘on the way’ when it arrived on my doorstep — just before I left for the airport. I was flying to Washington State to join Nazy (who left earlier in the week) and The Martin Family scions [Darius, Christiane and (the lovely) Leandra] in Bellingham.

Note to readers: “Oh, scion of the southland, in…” is the only phrase in the Georgia Tech alma mater that any of the students sing. It is also the only phrase that the students actually remember.

Before I left for Washington, I was visiting friends…

“… but when the Democrats get back in, they’ll just explode the deficit,” a friend remarked.

“In contrast to the GOP?” I asked.

“You’re right, Dan. The GOP only cares about the deficit when the Democrats are in power.”

“Electing the Republicans to cut the deficit is like hiring an arsonist to be fire chief.” I replied. “
In fact,” I thought, “the GOP fails basic Math. If the problem is: Outgo exceeds Income, then the GOP solution: decrease Income and increase Outgo is as likely to work as a bricklaying butterfly.”
dan and leandra April 28 2018
My flight to Seattle was smooth and trouble free. Because I had no checked baggage, I breezed through the airport. The shuttle to the rental car facility was just about to depart when I arrived, but waited just long enough for me to board. This serendipitous development meant that I was the first person off. Astonishingly, the walk to ‘my’ rental car agency was the shortest. They upgraded me, at no fee, to a much nicer car. So, within 15 minutes of landing, I was on I-5, headed North to Bellingham at speeds well in excess of the speed limit. (Southbound traffic, however, was extremely heavy.) It was a miracle.

I arrived in Bellingham, eager to see our granddaughter. Nazy had regaled me with tales about this cheerful little girl…

“… she likes
everyone, Dad.” Darius said as he handed Leandra to me. As she looked at me, she eyed my beard. Her lip started to quiver. She reached for her Dad.

Everyone, Dar?” I asked as I handed Leandra back to Darius.

“Look at this Christiane! Leandra is afraid of Dad. She likes everyone but Dad. This has never happened before. Dad is scaring her. Dad is…”

“… hungry, Darius.” I concluded. “
I’ll have to come up with a Plan B for that little girl,” I thought before sitting down to enjoy a delightful meal featuring lemon chicken that Christiane had prepared.

Fortunately, I was able to make friends after Leandra woke up the next day.

The weather, which was beautiful when I landed, slowly turned rainy as we settled in. We had breakfast the next morning at a..

“… Polish Creperie?” I asked. “I thought Polish food was cabbage rolls and Pierogi.”

We had briefly considered a day trip to Vancouver, but since Christiane and Darius were celebrating their second anniversary and had dinner plans that evening, we decided to stay (somewhat) local.

“Somewhat local?” I asked.

“There is a
Tulip Festival in nearby Skagiit County. In fact, that county grows more tulips than Holland.”

“Sounds great,” I replied. “
Lots of place ‘say’ they grow more bulbs than Holland,” I thought as I recalled a similar claim I heard while visiting Aberdeen, Scotland.

nazy and tulipsss “By the way, Dad,” Darius noted. “Did you know that the story about the Dutch Tulip Mania is all fabrication?”

“Fabrication? What about the bankruptcies? Didn’t someone eat an irreplaceable bulb thinking that it was an onion? Didn’t people go crazy? I heard that one tulip bulb actually cost more than a good house in Amsterdam during the 1637 craze.”

“Great stories, Dad. It never happened.”


“A Scottish journalist named Charles Mackay wrote an article about the economics and he just made things up so the story would sound more exciting.”

“Journalist?” I replied. “Inadvertently, Darius, you’ve discovered the 17th Century roots of Fox ‘News’: exaggerate, make-up and lie.”

“Yeah, but tulips are pretty.”

Darius, taking the the scenic route, drove us toward the festival in Skagit County. Having seen the unsurpassable
Keukenhof while we lived in The Hague, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Unsurprisingly, the guy who started the festival was a Dutch Immigrant. The venue was spectacular — colorful flowers everywhere.

dar family tulips

Astute readers will note that Nazy is wearing a raincoat while standing in the mud. In short: the flowers and the weather reminded us of Holland.

Cross-Atlantic Interrupt from my good friend Bert: “You know, Dan, the sun always shines in The Netherlands.”

(Bert is very good at making lemonade out of lemons. Or in this case sunbeams out of thunder clouds.)

The flowers were beautiful. And we were reminded of Holland. Nazy and I both thought that we smelled
Stroopwafels, but although I searched diligently, we had to settle for a nice, small, piece of fudge.

(By ‘we’, I mean ‘me’.)

That evening, Darius and Christiane left us in charge of The Lovely Leandra while they went out for their anniversary dinner. Darius selected a beautiful venue overlooking Puget Sound …

We had an extended discussion about the difference between a bay, a sound, an inlet, a fiord and a strait. We concluded that it was possible for a sound to contain a bay and that, at some point, a glacier was necessary for a fiord.

While Darius was waxing poetic about the beauty of the dinner venue and the spectacular views, I interrupted with a bit of..
Anniversary 2

“… fatherly advice, Darius. If you want to enjoy the view of The Sound, you need to make sure that you arrive before the sun sets.”

“Good idea Dad.” Darius replied. Concurringly.

While they dined and relaxed (there was only one text asking about the baby’s status), we played with Leandra. She was asleep when Darius and Christiane returned. We toasted with champagne in gift flutes provided by Melika.

For last week's letter, please click here.
To see tulip and family photos, please click

Dan, Darius, Nazy and (the lovely) Leandra

selfie at Darius house

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