“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Five: Trips

I've been a blogger since 2006, and for many of these eight years I was a regular at the RevGal Friday Five. I never imagined I would become one of the infrequent players, but I have. Today, however, affords me the time to play. So YAY!

Jan, over at the RevGal's blog offers this Friday Five: For today’s Friday Five, tell about five different trips you have made in your life due to different reasons, modes of travel, or whatever category you choose!

1. Between September of 2009 and May of 2010 I made seven trips from Arizona to Illinois. Five of the trips were round trip driving, two of them included driving one way and flying the other. Each of driving trips took about 36 hours to complete, including stops to rest, eat, and occasionally sleep. I usually drove straight through without spending the night in a hotel. If I were heading east I'd plan my trip to spend several hours sleeping at the rest stop east of Amarillo, Texas, off of highway 40. It was secure, safe, and clean. I also loaded up on book-on-tape and stayed awake and focused listening to some great stories. (But don't ask me what they were, I've forgotten).

2. In August of 2010 I made one more trip across country, driving with my friend, known here as M2 (single mom of twin girls). Some of you may recall that after the long, pregnancy that required bedrest, and then the birth of the girls which required some time in the NICU, the church where M2 worked essentially fired her. They couldn't afford the medical insurance for a family, was the stated cause. It took her two years to find a job - two years of diligent searching and hundreds of positions applied for. Anyway, finally she was called to serve a parish in the west. The twins flew, with their aunt, to her home in San Francisco. M2 and I drove from Chicago to SF with her cat, and some a few possessions while the moving company took everything else. It was a three (or four?)  day drive across country. We went a little out of our way to spend time with my family in Salt Lake City, and at her family cabin in Trukee, NV. It was there that I saw a bald eagle, the only one I've ever seen. I had one full day in SF, which we spent at the wharf and driving from the Golden Gate bridge to CDSP and then back to her brother's house. I flew home the next day. My flight included a leg to LA and then on to Chicago. But a delay in the original flight caused the airlines to rebook me on a later, direct flight to Chicago.

3. When I was nineteen my dad sent me to spend some time with friends of his in the Dominican Republic. My dad was living in Puerto Rico and I was visiting him. It was probably the summer of 1976 or maybe 1977. I flew with the wife of a co-worker to Santo Domingo on a tiny propeller plane. We flew low enough that I could see the waves on the ocean below. Once we were in Santo Domingo she took me to her parents home in a very poor section of town. Chickens and animals wandered freely. Their house was one small portion of long row house. The walls did not go all the way up to the ceiling, so there was a cross ventilation from one residence to the next, and I could hear everything in the other two residences. The bathroom was an outhouse out back. Apparently the parents did not know I was coming and there was a big discussion over where I should stay. (Apparently my dad was a little lax on the plans, or his friend was, or someone was). I was nineteen and did not remember much of my middle school and high school Spanish classes. I remember the mother making me a tiny cup of espresso - my first espresso. I figured it was hot enough to be safe to drink. Eventually they decided I would stay with "grandma" in her government owned apartment. It was a concrete structure and she was on an upper floor - a walk up some fifteen flights, I think, because I remember being able to see the entire city below. Every night the dictatorship government shut off power and grandma and I would play dominoes by candle light and drink "El Presidente" beer. The family took me to see Christopher Columbus' home and to the beach. It was a bizarre trip, but memorable.

4. When our kids were young we spent several summers (before ordination) at a cottage in northwestern Michigan. It was beautiful, relaxing, and fun. We'd load up the car with the dog and the kids and make the seven hour drive. We spent a lot of time hiking the dunes and roasting marshmallows under the stars.

5. One summer my kids and I drove from Chicago to Salt Lake and spent two weeks with my family there. It was a fun trip.

For a number of years my kids and I made other road trips, to North or South Carolina, to visit a family friend. I have fond memories of those trips. For me, there is something lovely and relaxing about a long drive. I enjoy the opportunity to remember just how vast this country is, and how beautiful it is too.