A few months ago, Jeff sent me an email in the middle of the workday to say he had a hankering to take Colt to Dodgers Stadium and that he’d already checked the schedule and Memorial Day Weekend looked good and he’d already priced tickets and did I wanna go? and if not, GOING ANYWAY. BYE!
My two favorite boys have baseball-love in common in a big way and I knew I would be invited but also kindof a tag-along on this trip. Either way, heck yeah! LA for the weekend! Spontaneous travel plans, for the win!
So he packed a grip and he split for the coast. La-La Land. L.A.
– Newman, Seinfeld
We made arrangements and kept the whole idea a surprise for Colt… with a twist. Jeff concocted an increasingly elaborate story about enrolling Colt in Lawnmower School. “Buddy, your 9th birthday’s coming up and it won’t be long before you’ll be ready to help me in the yard. And it’s important to learn the right way. We registered you for the push mower class, and you’ll do workshops in hedge trimming and weed eating.” Every day, more detail got added to the Lawnmower School story. (This was not unlike the year Jeff convinced him parents control birthdays and we’d decided we weren’t ready for him to turn 7 just yet — and that he could have a second 6th birthday. #TrustIssues)
I’m calling it a win that even though he thought Lawnmower School was on the other end of that plane ride — he was all-in. THAT’S my little adventurer.
Instead of heading straight for the hotel, we braved the traffic and wandered toward the beach.
The wind at the end of the Venice Fishing Pier reminded me of the cold, dreary day we spent at Coney Island last summer — when I vowed to take Colt to a warm, sunny beach someday soon. Hopefully, we’ll (officially) remedy that this summer!
I’m no beach bum but golly the ocean is magical.
We finally made it to the hotel for a reasonable bedtime Saturday night — Lawnmower School would come early!
Sunday morning, we laid out the big reveal while Colt was in the shower. “Buddy, you can either go to Lawnmower School… Or go somewhere you might need THIS!”
But first, breakfast.
We had all morning before the afternoon game, so we headed into Hollywood to find breakfast. I literally asked Siri, “where can we eat breakfast in Hollywood?” and she gave us The Waffle. It was the cutest little place with an incredible menu of exotic waffles and delicious mimosas. Cheers to family breakfast in Hollywood!
After that, with no real plan, we drove around Hollywood a bit. This might be my favorite photo from the whole weekend. How much more “LA” can you get? Sunglasses, top down, Dodgers t-shirt, tourist trap Hollywood theater in the background, and if you look reallllly close you can see a Scientology marquee in the distance.
Years ago, Jeff and I spent an afternoon in Hollywood after climbing Mt. Whitney and before our flight out the next day — and I remembered it being a must-see cultural experience. So off we went to find Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
See? Culture culture everywhere!
Most of the handprints and stars on the walk were people Colt had never heard of, but this one caught his eye. Trigger is the name of his little buddy — a miniature horse — owned by friends of my parents’ in San Antonio. Their Trigger and Colt have been good buddies for years.
After we got our fill of Hollywood, we made one last stop before it was game time. Another LA sports landmark. It was locked up tight (we tried) so this photo of the outside had to do.
And then it was time for the main event.
Y’all. The magic of America’s Pastime took hold of my two favorite boys and did not let go all afternoon. I felt like a spectator in this Daddy and Buddy memory-in-the-making and I’m grateful they let me tag along.
Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.
– Yogi Berra
First stop, #42.
There’s nothing more American than baseball. And there’s nothing more baseball than #42.
We found our seats and discovered we were not only surrounded by a genuinely fun mix of Dodgers and Cubs fans, but we were in THE SHADE. Way to pick the seats, Daddy!
Earlier, at a store in Hollywood, we let Colt pick out any Dodgers hat he wanted. This is what he chose — for Memorial Day.
We had SO MUCH FUN. It was a gorgeous day, we root root rooted for the home team, and we spent a fortune on hotdogs and ice cream.
In about the 7th Inning, the sun started to inch closer and closer to us — but look! Look at the precision of these seats. We are literally the FIRST row that stayed in shade the entire game.
At some point during the game, someone around us asked if Colt was going to run the bases after the game. As it turns out, every Sunday afternoon game they let kids run the bases after the game. I thought Jeff was gonna cry. He started running down more memorable moments and homeruns and players that ran that very baseline. So as the 9th Inning made it clear the Dodgers had this one handled, Colt and I headed out and around center field and got ready to run the bases.
Kids only. And they were moving us through like you wouldn’t believe. One glance over my shoulder at the THOUSANDS in line and I could see why — but this boy right here ran the bases at Dodgers Stadium.
What a beautiful afternoon of baseball and fun. It was worth the trip and definitely better than Lawnmower School.
Santa Monica Beach
The game was over early enough that we made one more stop at the beach before calling it a day.
We made it to the end of the pier before our stomachs led us to the closest burger joint, and we watched the sun set as we drove back downtown to crash for the night.
G’nite, La-La Land.
I never regret a mile traveled or an experience enjoyed — and though this was a whirlwind trip out and back, it was incredible from start to finish. Thanks for the memories, La-La Land!
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.
– John Denver