Saturday, July 7, 2012

Itty Bitty Scavenger Hunt

Our first foray this summer is not really a "first"-- for us.  Is is our second year to participate in an activity created  specifically to draw people to the historic district of downtown Fredericksburg, VA and is called the Itty Bitty City.  Pictures of objects are taken within a specified grid of the downtown area and posted in the paper.  The general public head to the streets from May to July in search of these familiar and slightly hidden items.
The city only yields these sought after treasures to the keen eyes of the diligent.  But, lest you think this is a drudgery, let me tell you that every person we met on this quest had a child-like nature that carried them along.  You could spot them easily by the crumpled and well worn newspaper clutched in their hands and a look of expectation on their faces.

My husband and I decided to include some of the oldest grandchildren in our city's game of hide and seek.  Their shorter legs helped us keep the journey to a slower pace and their delight in spying and finding what we were looking for was motivating.  I do have a confession though....the shorter legs on a large grid did lead to some frustration and  no amount of ice cream could bolster their initial eagerness.  So, my husband and I would go out a day or two before and find the sought after treasures and then gently.....and indiscreetly.... direct our young helpers in the right direction.

Each time we ventured out to the city, we found something besides the items we were looking for.  Down a side street I found a brick building that bore the inscription of our local hospital.  Compared to the existing facility, that is sprawled over several acres of land, this scaled down version was reflective of a time when our area was much smaller in population and size.  I wonder if the tenants in this former hospital, now converted into apartments, knows that their dwelling is a part of local history?

Our tribe of seekers took three consecutive Monday evenings to find all 20 of the objects and when the last one was discovered....we celebrated as if we had won a Superbowl.    The creator of this city's hide and seek did a great job this year!  She kept us hunting and learning.  But we enjoyed the journey as much as the discovery.  We met new people who left their air-conditioned home and their every day routine and became a part of an  adventure.  We came together as a family unity and worked together as a team.

And our reward was just what we had hoped for....we got to know our city a little bit more as tourists and not just as residents..........and we held the hands of our grandchildren....our legacy...a little longer.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


A place of refuge
I am always so excited when summer makes its way back around.  It's the school girl rush of feelings that hark back to the days when summer meant a release from the drudgery of forced early morning rising and the repetition of multiplication problems.
It must be muscle memory that causes me to drag out my stored bike and polish it up, oil the moving parts and ready the basket for treasures to be found.
I yearn to be outside on sunny days.  Lounging by a pool or, better yet, sitting at the beach watching the sun light up the water with diamonds and the sounds of children's laughter as the musical score.
But I am long past my childhood summers and the days that knit the seasons together do not look much different from each other.  Usually our summers hold the promise of a week long respite from our daily life.  The King and I (not to be confused with the movie) are not ones for doing the usual, so we have decided to become tourists of our own land.  To trounce around our own city and state and become better acquainted with the unique features that have been waiting for us since our arrival here 27 years ago.  Weekend vacations that help us carve out the time to just us and open our eyes to the state made for Lovers.