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May 29, 2008

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Rowayton, Connecticut

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Cheers from China! This week, we spend Memorial Day weekend in Rowayton, Connecticut and then jump on a long flight to Hong Kong. I'm in the Hong Kong airport (HKG) on my way to ... I will tell you the surprise destination next week. For now, if you are up for some good ol' Americana, a review of Cathay Pacific's economy class and tips for surviving a long flight, then sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because it's not that bad ... even in economy. Or, join my sister Georgie-Jet for an outdoor adventure in Lake Tahoe.

Ah, Memorial Day weekend. It's my favorite weekend of the year and there's no other place I'd rather be than in Connecticut with my family and childhood friends. I grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut (42 miles outside of New York City) and people who come from this neck of the woods understand that Memorial Day weekend is more than just honoring our soldiers. It's the (unofficial) first day of summer as the weather is finally warm, the landscape is full of color, the beaches are open, the boats are in the water and most importantly, everyone is in a great mood, walking around wearing summer clothes and big smiles.

Many of my friends and family live in a section of Norwalk called Rowayton. Anyone with ties to Rowayton knows that there's no better time of year to come back than Memorial Day. Besides all the reasons listed above, this is the weekend that everyone who grew up here has deemed an annual sort of homecoming. Natives travel from all over to make it back for this one special weekend, which kicks off Friday night with a casual martini party on Bell Island.

The weekend is filled with countless barbecues and soirées. The granddaddy of all the parties -- the Memorial Day Parade -- begins at high noon on Sunday. The parade is small. It lasts maybe 25 minutes -- but it's special. The best part is that practically everyone knows everyone who marches. Marchers range from the Rowayton Fire Department to the nationally renowned Brien McMahon High School band, which has performed at huge venues like the Rose Bowl and Yankee Stadium. After the parade, an emotional ceremony takes place at the cannon. Everyone takes their hats off, puts their hands on their chests and pays tribute to our fallen soldiers, as well as all those guarding our freedom right now. If the playing of Taps doesn't give you goosebumps, I don't know what will.

After God Bless America, everyone walks over to the firehouse for free hot dogs and soda. Then it's time for me and my friends to head to the field where we play our annual stickball game. Growing up, we played every day in the summer. Now, this is the only time we play all year. The perfectly lined oak trees are slowly disappearing (kind of like my hair), and the field has been turned into a dog park. Nonetheless, this is still the highlight, as the old-timers take on the young guns. Of course, we're not that young and the old-timers aren't that old. Just a few years separate the teams. This year, we 'young guns' rallied three runs to tie in the bottom of the ninth and won by one run (14-13) in the bottom of the tenth! That's enough for bragging rights for the rest of the year (usually done by email). After the game, it's off to enjoy more fun parties and eat more food.

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Copyright 2008 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


HKG Airport

My Dad, Brother and Sister


CT Landscape


Heni and Mike


Cam and Georgette


Bell Island Martini Party


BBQ At My Sister's


Memorial Day Parade


Rowayton Stickball



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