Here’s to Joel…Part Two

Washington, D.C.-Day 2

On Sunday morning, with coffee in hand, we made our way over to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.  It was early and quiet, which made the whole experience even more emotional than I could have ever imagined.  Welcomed with words from Dr. King’s 1963 speech “Out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope”,we entered the memorial by walking between two towering boulders. Dr. King waits just beyond the massive entrance.  Carved into an enormous slab of stone, with arms crossed, Dr. King faces towards the Jefferson Memorial, as if he’s looking out over the Tidal Basin.  Surrounding the sculpture, an inscription wall displays many of Dr. King’s inspirational quotes, all beautifully engraved and perfectly placed.

Looking up at this powerful piece of stone, I was scared to imagine what our world would be like without this courageous man.  It was a moment of reflection on where we are and how far we’ve come.  However, almost daily, I am reminded that intolerance still exists in this country and, I can only hope, that Dr. King’s message will never be forgotten.  I also hope that children all over the world visit this memorial and feel what I felt as I read those quotes and stood, so small, beneath him.  He is a true example that one person can inspire millions just by standing up for what they believe in.

Just across the bridge from the Dr. King Memorial is the Holocaust Museum.  While it wasn’t our original intention to combine these two emotional visits back-to-back, it worked itself out that way.

The Holocaust Museum stirred many feelings inside of me: anger, sadness, disgust, and fear-to name a few.  I felt emotionally exhausted by the time I walked out of the building and into the chilly Washington air.  There were many questions racing through my mind: How could people treat other people in such a horrific way?  Why did this have to happen?  How do I properly convey this to the children I teach?  How do we make sure this never happens again?  I’m still not sure how to answer.

If there is one museum to visit in this world, this one is it.  In fact, I suggest all human beings take a walk through this place.  It won’t be a pleasant visit, but it will be necessary.  Necessary so that we as a human race don’t ever allow something like this to ever repeat itself.  I thought I knew what happened during the Holocaust.  I found I was sadly mistaken and had a lot to learn.

After a morning of inspiration and sadness, we took the subway back to the hotel.  Again I have not learned to compromise fashion for comfort and, as a result, my feet were not cooperating with me at all.  Luckily, the Washington Metro is a quick and easy alternative to walking.  Furthermore its safe and clean which is always a bonus.

After a short rest at the hotel, we decided to head out for lunch and take our chances on a restaurant I picked at random: Capitol City Brewing Company.  The atmosphere proved to be just what we needed after the morning we had.  We were able to eat and relax while watching the Knicks game.

All of a sudden the world is in love with the Knicks.  Its Lin-tastic from what I hear.  I love basketball.  I’ve played it at the varsity level, I coach it at the middle school level, and I love watching it at the college level.  Yet I’ve never been entertained by the NBA.  Perhaps all this Lin “hoop” la will give me a reason to give the NBA another chance.  Even Paul is into it which shocks me.

While dining at the Capitol City Brewing Company, one of the bartenders approached us and asked us where we were from.  He said we looked strikingly familiar to him, but he couldn’t place how he knew us.  When he realized we were from NJ, his face lit up as he exclaimed that he was the former Manasquan High School assistant wrestling coach.  Since my husband was the former Belmar wrestling coach, the connection was made instantly.  Paul had coached many of the wrestlers that went on to wrestle at Manasquan.  Can you believe how small a world it is we live in?

Since we had so much to talk about with our new-found acquaintance, we spent most of our afternoon at the Capitol City Brewing Company.  This also afforded me some time to talk Paul into going shoe shopping.

Let me preface this by saying I almost never ask Paul to go shopping.  Wait.  Correction: I almost never ask Paul to go clothes shopping.  I may beg and plead for his company at the grocery store, but that’s it.  Usually, all other shopping trips are with my Mom.  However, my feet were throbbing in pain and I just hoped and prayed that if I closed my eyes and believed hard enough, a Payless shoe store would instantly appear at my feet.  I didn’t need anything expensive, just comfortable.

After leaving the restaurant, I dragged my not entirely thrilled husband to any store I could find that sold shoes.  I did find a Payless, but I didn’t find shoes to suit my needs.  Nor did I find shoes at Banana Republic or Macy’s.  Although in a moment of desperation, Paul did pick up a pair of Coach shoes and said, “these look good’.  I agreed, but knew I would never get away with the price.  I instantly flipped them over to show him that shoes covered in the letter C have a big C attached to them.  He was grateful for my honesty.

I decided to suck it up and be tough and make it through the rest of my trip in the heels that I brought with me.  For two reasons: I couldn’t take Paul’s resistance to shoe shopping anymore nor could I find anything remotely appropriate for what I had packed.  If I am going to live in Paris this summer, I need to invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

At night we visited the Dr. King Memorial again to capture some nighttime photos.  Paul also took photos on the Mall of the Capitol in the distance, as well as the view of the Jefferson Memorial from a nearby bridge.  Since neither of us were very hungry for dinner after our grand lunch at the Brewing Company, we decided to have a small snack at the Hay-Adams as a celebratory end to our last night in D.C..  It was a wonderful way to warm up after walking in the cold and we found ourselves ordering a cheese plate and a crock of French onion soup.  We even made a toast to Joel and wished he was with us to show us around.

Farewell D.C…

The next morning we packed up the car, made our way safely around Dupont Circle, and into a lovely residential section of Washington, D.C..  There we found a quiet and secluded section of Seventeenth Street that sits near Rock Creek Park.  On this little stretch of road adorned with perfectly manicured lawns, sits the former childhood home of Dr. Joel Shappirio.  For a minute I could imagine my mother-in-law pulling up to this very place to meet Joel’s family for the first time.  It must have been very exciting.

After saying goodbye to the footprint of Joel’s roots, we headed towards Annapolis for a short visit.  Although I lived in Maryland for so long, I am strangely unfamiliar with the Annapolis area and found it an intriguing place to explore.  Of course, my only goal was to find a great place to eat and my appetite was set on finding a great shrimp salad sandwich.

Shrimp salad is one of those Maryland menu items that I eased into over time.  I remember the first time I sat at the same table with a person eating a shrimp salad sandwich.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around mixing shrimp with mayonnaise and couldn’t imagine how it would ever be appetizing.  Then, one day I decided to try it.  Now I’m obsessed.  It’s truly one of my favorite sandwiches and best enjoyed in the state of Maryland.  I have yet to find another state that can make it the way they can.

I did some research before we got to Annapolis and found an address for a waterfront crab house with good reviews.  When we arrived to historic Annapolis, I asked Paul to put the address in the GPS.  When he did, he noticed it took us way out of historic Annapolis and was quite a distance from our current location.  Since we weren’t eager to get home, we decided to check it out.

We drove out of historic Annapolis, past the Naval Academy, across a bridge and into a residential area.  The GPS took us through curvy back roads and through housing developments.  We were sure we had the wrong address at this point.  Something told us to keep going, even though we were sure there would never be a waterfront or crab house at the end of the route.

Then, out of nowhere, there it was.  A little hidden gem at the bottom of a hill that goes by the name of Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn.  I’m so glad we decided to follow our instincts because this place has won my heart.  It reminds me much of J’s Oyster House in Maine, a small local establishment with a lot of family history.

The staff was exceptionally kind to us and the food was marvelous.  I got my shrimp salad sandwich and ate every last morsel on my plate.  Paul had a delicious crab cake sandwich. We enjoyed our lunch while talking with an older couple who often visits the restaurant by boat.  Coincidentally, we discovered the man spent his childhood summers in Asbury Park and Spring Lake.  Another reminder of how small this world is.

I can’t wait to return to Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn on a warm summer day.  I have plans to sit outside and feast on crabs while looking out over the water.

In conclusion, our President’s Day Weekend was well spent.  It was just what Paul and I needed.  A winter weekend getaway, just the two of us.

Here’s to where you grew up Joel!  It’s quite a place.

Love,

Your son and daughter-in-law.

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