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20160623_145958The swimming pool is a whitewater of excited vacationers. All four of the children are splashing and laughing and, in short, losing their minds.

No big deal. We never get to do this – never – so as long as no one drowns, we’re good.

I’m almost willing to let each of them pee in the pool at least once because then later on they’d be able to look back, laugh, and say they remember doing it when they were kids. As an American, I’d say that’s an essential part of growing up, wouldn’t you? No?

You must be from an ocean state. You folks hold it for the open sea, don’t you?

Sitting here listening, I can tell that my kids are so incredibly disconnected from such frivolities. One just called out that they want to play a water game. Another has an idea and has paddled forward to lead an instructional seminar in the basics of a particular game she learned at a friend’s pool party.

IMG_20160701_093910“Whoever is ‘it,’” she instructs, “has to keep their eyes closed the whole time.”

“And what do we do?” the youngest prods.

“The person who’s ‘it’ has to try to catch the others in the pool,” the teacher continues. “I’ll go first. I have to keep my eyes closed and yell out ‘Marco.’ Every time I do that you have to yell back ‘Rubio.’ Once I catch you, you’re ‘it!’”

“Let’s go!” they say together.

The teacher calls out, “Marco!”

“Rubio!” the others shout back.



I don’t have the heart to correct them even though, before too long, I feel and act on the need to call out from the shoreline since the game is already dysfunctionally mistitled and heading in the wrong direction.


“…didn’t win his own state in the primaries.”


“…can speak Spanish.”


“…is a Senator from Florida.”







Can you tell my kids know more about the current political climate than pool games? Ask any of them their opinion on a particular candidate – even the six-year-old – and they’ll be able to tell you at least something they know about Trump, Clinton, Cruz, Sanders, or whomever. I don’t necessarily have discussions with the kids about these people, but I do listen to a lot of news and talk radio. They pick up stuff. What’s interesting is that most often they can cut right through the partisan nonsense. In other words, when someone is spinning a particular political point, they can usually tell.

It’s really rather fascinating.

ElDoradoRum15yoAnyway, since a Cuban-American Senator from Florida seems to be the center of the Thoma family’s vacation-time pool game even though, technically, he has nothing to do with the childhood game itself, how about we consider a Rum today – the El Dorado 15-year-old?

I don’t normally drink Rum. Every now and then I get a taste for it, but typically only after I’ve watched a movie about pirates… which is usually never. Although the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series is pretty good. I’d share a bottle of Rum with a scallywag like Captain Jack Sparrow. But if it’s a musical pirate movie, I turn it off and go straight for the barrel strength whiskies in my cabinet. I can’t stand musicals. You’ll see me sitting in front of a TV watching “Pirates of Penzance” when at the same time you behold the thermometer in hell beginning to drop.

This particular Rum, as noted, has been aged for 15 years, and I’ll admit, it is a pleasant change of pace.

The nose is a candied broth of saltwater taffy and melted caramel, with just a hint of something rascally – maybe balsawood ash.

The palate proves the Rum’s aging in oak barrels and then circles around to a few varying flavors that enhance the experience. There’s warm maple syrup on buttered waffles. Together, they were placed into a searing oven and crisped. The alcohol sour arrives, but it isn’t as off-putting as one might think. In fact, with the arrival of almonds and chocolate mixed with simmering cream, the alcohol helps bring balance to something that seems as though it is becoming almost too sweet. Well played.

The finish is a lengthy coating of the sweets. It’s nice for a little while, but then, in my opinion, it overstays its welcome. I needed a glass of water to finally shoo it away completely.

Overall, as I said, it seems like a pleasant enough elixir of sugary booze. In fact, it feels a little like drinking a liqueur as opposed to a liquor – the difference being that a liquor is a distilled spirit made from particular grains or plants, but a liqueur is a drink that has liquor infused into it. The El Dorado 15-year-old seems a little more like Rum was put into it rather than itself being the actual Rum.

Sort of like the honorable Senator from Florida finding his way into our game of Marco Polo.