"What happened to John Hoptak?"
"Has he stopped blogging? He's only updated his site once over the past week. . ."
"I'm getting tired of looking at pictures of him reading different books about the Crater."
Well, it's true. I've only updated this site with one new post since last week, but there is a very simple reason why: I haven't been home.
These past few days have been a whirlwind. . .
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Let's start with Sunday, May 18. . .
I went into work as usual but was a little preoccupied. I kept looking forward to that night, when my buddy, Ranger Alann Schmidt and I would be rockin'-n-rollin'. Last fall, Alann called me at home and said something I thought I'd never hear: Van Halen is back on tour and they'll be playing in Hershey. And it wasn't just any old tour. . .it was a reunion tour, with the band reunited with original frontman David Lee Roth. He got tickets but after the show was postponed twice, I began to think the show wouldn't happen.
The concert was pushed back to May 18. . .Leaving work, I traveled up to Carlisle where I met Alann. After a quick bite to eat, we hopped in the car and drove to the Giant Center in Hershey. Because the show was already postponed twice, and because the Giant Center is a relatively small venue, we both refused to get our hopes up. We kept thinking it was going to be cancelled. We weren't going to believe that we were actually going to see Van Halen until they actually stepped on stage. Then, at 8:00 p.m., Eddie, Alex, and Diamond Dave stepped on stage and began what was two and a half hours of pure rock. In Alann's words, it was "surreal." Both of us just sat there grinning as the band broke into one classic after the after. . .
David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen reunited and on stage. . .
When the show ended at 11:00, we couldn't believe what we just saw. We still can't.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Monday, May 19. . . .
By the time I got back to Gettysburg, it was nearly 1:00 a.m., Monday morning. With my head buzzing, I fell asleep only to wake up five hours later and once again hit the road. This time my wife and I were heading to Bethlehem and the campus of Lehigh University for my sister's graduation ceremony. A two and a half hour drive brought us to the Goodman Football Field, just in time for the commencement to begin.
I could not have been more proud as I watched my sister Angie--eighteen months older than me--walk in to the music of Pomp and Circumstance. After years of hard work, Angie received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.
My sister Angie. . .the Dr.!
Laura and I spent the day with our families and hit the road late that evening, arriving back in Gettysburg around 11:00 p.m. As I hit the hay, I knew there was still some more fun (and more travel) ahead the following day. . .
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tuesday, May 20. . . .
At work on Sunday, Ranger Brian Baracz--out of nowhere--suggested that we head on down to see a Nationals game at the new ballfield in Washington. Tickets were cheap so I agreed. Besides, I haven't been to a major league game in years. I met Rangers Baracz and Schmidt in Frederick, my ears finally recovered from Sunday night's show. We then headed down to Shady Grove where we picked up the Metro, which we rode right into the ballpark. . .
We had EXCELLENT seats: front row, left field, right next to the foul pole. . .
We were each expecting to grab some home run shots. . .but then it dawned on us. This was the Nationals we were seeing. . .playing the Phillies. For 8 innings, nothing but goose eggs on the scoreboard. . .and not a single ball hit our way. As Ranger Baracz said, we didn't need gloves since the Nationals didn't hit a single ball out of the infield. Oh well, it was still a lot of fun. And there was some history there as well. . .
Here come the Nationals' mascots. . .Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. Apparently, during every home guy, these guys race around the warning track. Last night, George Washington won while Roosevelt came in a distant fourth. It was a fun night, the weather was perfect, and the stadium was pretty cool. You can even get a great view of the Capitol from the upper deck. . .
The game ended with a Phillies' win (1-0) around 10:00 o'clock. There was a little hiccup in the Metro on our way home, with a train breaking down and another behind schedule, so we didn't get back to Shady Grove until after 11:00. . .Then the drive back to Frederick and, for me, the rest of the way to Gettysburg. Once again, it was nearly 1:00 a.m. by the time I got home. I hit the hay, feeling pretty good that the morrow would be a much welcomed day off. I could sleep in and try to recover from the whirlwind that was my past four days.
After just a little bit more R and R, I'll be back posting. . .and much more regularly than this past week.