Originally uploaded by shersteve.
We drove to West Point last Sunday (July 2) to visit. Nate is beginning his third year at the Point. He had garrison duty for one more week and then was heading out to North Dakota to helicopter school for three weeks. He was off duty for a couple of days and with the July 4th concert and fireworks scheduled to commence at 1930 (military time), it was going to be a good time to visit.
Doug (Nate’s dad) had checked the web site and called Nate to confirm all was still good considering the 40% chance of rain. At that time it was a go but by the time we arrived, almost a three hour drive, the concert has been postponed to Monday due to the weather. Oh well, Plan B will work nicely.
Our daughters were going to drive down from MA to join us. Dolores and I were on vacation this week, but the girls still had to work the remainder of the week. We booked a room for them to stay overnight near the Point and drive back on Monday while we drove back to central PA later that night.
Anyway, we rendezvoused with Nate, were joined by our daughters who with good timing arrived a few minutes later. We took a walking tour around some of the Point. We spent some time in the Arvin Gymnaisum is quite a facility; multiple pools, multiple basketball courts, a sixty-foot climbing wall, racketball courts, weight rooms, etc.
Ready to eat after all that exercise, we found a picnic spot down in the South Dock area near the ferry. Using the portable propane grill, we cooked our burgers (both beef and turkey) while snacking on some fruit, chips, and the conversation kept pace with the Hudson River flowing just a stone toss away. As we were finishing our meal, working through our desert choices, the sprinkles started. They did hold off enough to allow us to quickly pack up the remnants, button up the grill, load the chairs and everything else into the van. I guess the decision to postpone the concert was a good one.
We drove up to Eisenhower Hall. Eisenhower is a rather large building that contains the post theater, art gallery, banquet room, and the grand hall area where each class emblem is displayed. The most recent 25 class years are displayed. (Not sure if the 25th rolls off as the new class year is displayed, we’ll have to check that out.)
When we arrived at Ike, we initially sat in some comfy lounge chairs in the grand hall, continued our conversation and took some pictures. The natives began to get restless so we meandered up to the banquet room, set up with a number of round tables seating 10. Along one side, the wall was mostly windows and provided a great panorama of the Hudson. I stepped out on the balcony where I found more photo opportunities (more photos to follow).
The baby grand piano in the room was well tuned and Nate sat to play. Brian jumped in for a duet, Cathy joined for a duet on another song, and the bench became almost a revolving spot as someone tool turns to play. Eventually Brian settled in and played from memory quite a number of tunes. Time passed slowly. A barge pulled by a tug boat made its way down river. It was about 1900 hours so I guess we did have our concert, albeit a private one.
Doug had wandered off, continuing to explore Ike Hall. As Brian began to run out of songs to play from memory, the native restlessness returned. We all got up to go find Doug. He was in a corner area of the second floor, not far from the banquet area, where he had found a large screen TV and he was cruising through the channels to see what was playing. The TV area contained a couple of nice big sofas and several single comfortable chairs. The group found a spot and settled in to see what was on. Trying to find an agreement with the limited selection brought up the option of hooking up Brian’s DVD player and viewing one of the movies that he had with him. Pairing the movie with some snacks was quickly voted upon.
Carolyn and Brian went to the van, returning shortly with the DVD player (which Brian proceeded to set up) and some snacks and drinks combined in one of the carry coolers that we had had the foresight to pack for the trip.
Concert and fireworks? Who needs those when you can set up the big screen TV in the corner of Eisenhower Hall and with refreshments at hand let Batman begin!