There’s nothing like having visitors.
My parents just ended what I like to call their Annual Southwestern Pilgrimage. For the past several years, around Labor Day Weekend, they’ve spent a few days with me, then with my sister in Alamosa, Colorado, or vice versa. I have a sneaking suspicion that they time their visits to escape the steamy late summers of Virginia, but no matter. I love it when they come.
I love it partly because at no other time does my apartment reach the cleanliness that it does immediately before a Mom Visit. Everyone with out-of-town moms (or maybe it applies to in-town moms, too) knows what I mean. She doesn’t comment, but she sees. Ohhhhh she sees.
I also love just having family around. People who don’t need to be charmed, people who can share stories from decades ago…people who quite simply have the same blood, in the same room as you. It’s a comforting feeling, one that I find myself appreciating more and more as I get older.
But I think my favorite thing about my parents’ annual visit is playing tourist. I’ve lived in Albuquerque a little while now and I know the town pretty well, but often it’s not till I have visitors that I remember to make time for Albuquerque’s cool stuff. Stuff like the Sandia Tram, and the museums, and all our great restaurants. The familiar works its way into the mix as well – do you know how fabulous it feels to share my favorite trails in the foothills with people who I know will appreciate them as much as I do??
My “Albuquerque Spirit” lingered after Mom and Dad left for Alamosa. I went to the Bernalillo Wine Festival for the first time in years with my friend Charity. It was a long, hot afternoon, but we had a terrific time. We visited nearly all the wineries’ tents, and each came away with a couple bottles. I had instructed myself beforehand to not buy anything, but darn if an afternoon of wine-tasting doesn’t just have a way of loosening purse strings!
At the end of the day, Charity mentioned she had an extra ticket to an Albuquerque Isotopes game the next evening, and asked if I wanted to go. I said yes. The Isotopes are our AAA baseball team, the park is lovely, the games are tons of fun, and I don’t go nearly enough.
Again, we had a terrific time. I met some of Charity’s balloon pilot friends, who are a riot. I enjoyed my traditional baseball game meal of a foot-long hot dog and draft beer – ok, and Dippin’ Dots for dessert – and watched as the Isotopes WON in the final inning! Not just that, but with that victory, they clinched the Division Championship. The players danced ecstatically, spraying champagne all over the place, dowsing their manager with a cooler of water – the works. Not just that, but as a special treat, there were fireworks after the game. America’s favorite pastime? YES.
To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I think the same goes for the easily-overlooked streets where we live; our everyday surroundings.
Play tourist for a day or two and see what happens.