I was 18 years old and in the Navy in 1968 when I first met Bob, 50 years ago, and Bob and I have been friends ever since. This past weekend we celebrated his 80th birthday and fifty years of friendship. The weekend was one of those weekends where every minute was filled starting early Saturday morning with a Lacrosse game in Seekonk where our granddaughter Grace was playing goalie for her team. And it turned out to be another win - a perfect record so far this season. Grace loves the game and it is fun to watch the kids play, just wish I understood the rules better. It seems like the refs are calling fouls for very arbitrary reasons..I gotta study the rules more. After the game we came home did a few chores and hit the road for Middletown to pick up Bob for his birthday.
We arrived in Middletown just after noon and headed out to the Sons Of Liberty Distillery in South Kingstown on the other side of the bay. This was a surprise for Bob, he had no idea where we were going. As we crossed the bridges over the bay we were stunned by the views, as there was absolutely no wind or humidity. The bay was like glass and you could see for miles - from Block Island in the south to Providence in the north - a rare sight indeed. Soon we arrived at the Sons Of Liberty - Bob was surprised and delighted as I think I can safely say that spirits are pretty high on his list of things he likes. We arrived just as they opened at 1:00 and had a drink and chatted waiting for the 1:30 tour. What an education I got, as I had no idea how whiskey and spirits are made. Cameron was our tour guide, a funny and knowledgeable guy who has found the prefect job for his personality. We learned that all whiskey starts out as beer and then is distilled several times and filtered many more times - what a process. Everything they make and sell is made in this one facility.
They were very proud of their still, which was made by Vendome Copper and Brass, it was amazing. It has a five stage evaporator - sounds like I know what Im talking about right? The tour was followed by a tasting. We had a very good time. Carol bought some of their alcoholic lemonade and Bob got a few bottles of the 'Peat Smoked American Malt Whiskey' - a very limited edition -they said they only had 120 bottles left.
From South Kingstown we headed north and up to Cranston where we stopped at the local REI Outdoor shop so Bob could finish up his shopping for his summer trip to Africa where he is going on safari. REI had what he needed and in short order we made it back to our house for hor d'oeuvres and drinks and chatted before heading out to the movies.
We saw 'Isle of Dogs', a Wes Anderson film which I loved. Bob was relative neutral and Carol didn't have much good to say about it -- so, I will call it mixed reviews. We finished up the evening at The Black Duck, a new local pub just down the road from our house. This was our first time here at the Black Duck, but the dining area where we ate used to be Dee's Place, a breakfast place where my friend Christopher and I had breakfast for 10 years or so. We still have breakfast once a week and gave up on Dees probably five years ago when it changed hands, and then it closed up. It was strange eating in a familiar place that was at the same time unfamiliar. Back at the house we chatted and nibbled for another few hours before our eyelids got too heavy to hold up.
Sunday morning we had coffee and headed out to return Bob to Middletown and stopped to treat him to one of our favorite breakfast places, Grazianos in Island Park in Portsmouth. Always a good place for breakfast, good portions, friendly service and always a good price. Back at Bob's I helped him out with some computer issues he was having before we went on our way. Carol need to do a bit of shopping before we got to our Sunday hike. We hiked the Sakonnet Greenway Trail for only a couple of miles but it was such a pleasant (about the first one we have had this year) that we really enjoyed the hike. After a stop at a grocery store and at Lowes we made it back home in plenty of time for me to refinish a table and the hammock stand, while Carol got some planting done and the lawn fertilized...all in all a busy weekend.