Fall is my favorite season, and in Washington DC, my favorite time of year. The weather finally cools and leaves are underfoot, crackling and crunching with each step. Unfortunately this season is all too brief, as the duration between hot, humid summer and frozen winter lasts about only a month until the weather turns its back to autumn.
Enjoying drinks outside in the fading evening dusk is therefore a short-lived pleasure; with November comes late afternoon darkness and uncooperatively cold temperatures. A cold beer taken outdoors is uncomfortable in November, when the mercury falls and metal patio furniture is bitterly unforgiving. Thankfully this was not yet the case when I was invited to have lunch and drinks with a friend a short while ago.
The lunch – a “pig out” on ribs prepared by nearly a dozen city restaurants to benefit a regional hospital – was held in a small park nestled in a quiet suburban neighborhood. The setting was an excellent change in scenery from my usual locales; the intermittently-performed live music, the background sound of conversations, and the noise of children playing was all delightfully soothing.
More importantly, the event provided a fleeting opportunity to drink outdoors before winter sets it. So beers were poured and refilled to wash down the pounds of pork and potato salad. Rays of early afternoon sunshine cascaded down past the few remaining leaves, warming our faces while we drank.
Although lasting for only a few hours, I took full advantage of this favored weather by eating fantastic food and drinking frosty Dutch beer in this wooded park hiding in Washington’s suburbs. And I’ll focus on that day’s memory throughout the next several months, when darkness and cold forces us indoors to enjoy a beverage or two.