Barton, Maryland is a tiny community situated in the George's Creek Valley of Western Maryland. The 2000 census listed 478 souls living there. I would suspect that the population has declined since then. The area is geographically beautiful, but economically depressed. Perhaps not too surprising is the fact that on Thursday nights there is a NL Hold'em tournament held at the local American Legion Hall. I was invited, but declined. I'm told that 20 players showed up last week. $10 buy in with three places paid. On Friday and Saturday the poker action moves two towns north to Midland, Maryland. Poker has indeed infiltrated every nook and cranny of America.
Although I didn't play any poker on this trip, I didn't escape poker entirely. My sister baked a belated birthday cake and decorated it, with the help of my nephew, in a poker theme. It was appropriate since poker butters my bread and allows me not to have to eat cake.
David, my nephew, is 82 days shy of his 5th birthday. The next time I see him, he will be in Las Vegas because that is where he wants to have his birthday party this year. He wants a "Poker Chip Party". So be it. A poker chip party we shall have. Anyone have any ideas? Send them my way.
David kept me busy from sun-up to sun down. We played in the sand box, we played Army, we played cards (Old Maid and Go Fish), we shot rockets, we played race cars, we had a dog show, we played T-Ball (I hope his T-Ball coach is a patient man-- When we were playing and I was trying to show him how to stand and how to hold the bat he just said "Let me do it MY way"), we played transformers and twice we invaded the toy department at Wal-Mart to empty their shelves. To put it mildly, this kid has a few toys.
This trip also served as a mini-reunion. I was able to visit with most of both sides of the family. It is always nice for everyone to get together and it doesn't happen often enough. I don't expect to be home again in 2006 and unless Maryland gets off of it's ass and approves casino gambling I don't guess that I will be living there again any time soon. It will happen eventually, but the wheels are turning awfully slow. Soon the state will be surrounded with West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware offering slots and NJ offering full blown casinos. I would expect WV to go full blown within a year or two so that should offer an opportunity to do what I do closer to "home".
The pictures below were taken from about 40,000 feet. The plane ride was bumpier than hell, so the pilot climbed higher in an effort to find less turbulent air. I think we were somewhere over Colorado. As many times as I have flown to and from Las Vegas I have never before noticed anything like this. I know nothing about agriculture, but I have to assume that there is a reason to plant crops in circular rather than square fields. This tapestry stretched for mile upon mile and, quite frankly, it started to freak me out after about 10 minutes of it. Is this how we communicate with the aliens?