Friday, August 19, 2011

friday five: on the road again!

(love this graphic that Jan posted at RevGals!)
Ah, road trips. Those words are music to my ears! Jan at RevGals has just been on an extensive road trip with her husband and invites us to share some of our own roadie stories. So many from which to choose!

1) I'll start with a general review of childhood travels. Each spring my family spent our school vacation at Melrose, the family tree farm that regular readers know is a staple of my life! We traveled from Connecticut to South Carolina (and back, of course), periodically detouring for stops at historic places of interest. Among those were Williamsburg, Charlottesville, Gettysburg, Valley Forge, and so on. It was a great way to introduce us to American History in a way that "stuck:" beyond reading about it or hearing teacher lectures. An anecdote that I recall: on one such trip it was the first leg of the journey, and we were trying to cover a certain distance before stopping for the night. I was at a stage of childhood where viewfinders were a form of entertainment, and sitting in the rear of the family station wagon I was able to look through the viewfinder as we passed cars on the highway, using the beams from headlights as a source of light. We weren't passing enough cars to satisfy me, so I called to my dad at the wheel, "go faster Daddy!" Apparently he did, because not only was I a happy camper with my viewfinder, but we also got pulled over for speeding.

 2) Fast forward to the age of 30. A friend of mine was getting married in Scotland that summer, and I decided that it was past time for a return visit to that country where I had spent a semester in college. I flew over to surprise Betsey at her wedding. I spent a week traveling on my own, revelling in the countryside (and sheep) that I love so much, go where I wanted, when I wanted, with the freedom to stop for pictures, linger at vistas, and get my fill of gift shops. It was heaven, and a particularly empowering trip as I traveled solo.

The wedding was in St. Andrews (see photo), and I think I will always carry in my mind the look on my friend Betsey's face when she saw me there in the small chapel where she and her beloved tied their knot. When Betsey and her newly minted husband turned to greet the small congregation of well-wishers and begin their trek out of the church, she gave me a wink and a huge smile and thrust her bouquet into my hands. In the photo you will see how well the colors of the bouquet match my dress (heh). I am posing with Betsey's daughter.

One other not-so-insignificant note about that trip. Betsey's priest traveled to Scotland also to perform the ceremony. The short version of the story is that we began dating shortly after our return to the US, and on the occasion when I first went to hear him preach, I experienced a spiritual conversion that led to my ordination.  Life hasn't been the same since!

3) I moved to St. Louis is 1995 to accept a call at a church there. The Diocese of Missouri offered Fresh Start to clergy new to the diocese and in new cures. Four of the members of that class that fall were women, and we quickly dubbed ourselves the "clergy babes." We ranged in age from 30 to 60. We were an odd but fun mix of women, and we decided that as newcomers to that part of the Midwest we should venture forth together to explore the region. We planned a road trip to Memphis (about four hours south?) and had an adventurous couple of days sampling barbecue, listening to Jazz, and locking ourselves out of the car.

4) It was while living in St. Louis that I met my dear friend Kathy, who became my traveling buddy and partner in all sorts of innocent crime. We took a number of trips together, the farthest afield being a two-week sojourn through northern California (we had the BEST time!). We also enjoyed visits to members of my parish who spent their summers in northern Michigan. The first time we made that trip we made a number of stops along the way on our return: a farmer's market, craft shop, and outlet shops in Michigan City, IN. I'll just say that we did our part to aid the economy of Michigan City on that trip. There's a great picture of the car overflowing with our packages and purchases that barely left room for us to squeeze in, but here is the photo of me sitting on the steps at my driveway after unloading the car when we reached our destination. I am a master packer, so things have already been consolidated in bags in this picture. I don't look like it was a joyous trip (it was midnight), but it was one of our best.
5) My husband and I made a big (and fun) road trip east the first summer that we were together. We left Tennessee and headed to Connecticut, where our first stop was to see, and for Ken to meet, my family. We spent a great afternoon kayaking with my brother and his family, had dinners and visits with my dad and younger brother, and spent several days with my Mom on Cape Cod where she was on vacation. We traveled to New Hampshire to see Ken's sister and brother-in-law and enjoyed a fabulous drive up the coast of Maine, then made a stop in New York City on our return to Tennessee. There we visited Ground Zero, went to the top of the Empire State Building and the USS Intrepid and Museum,  and had the best ever pastrami sandwich at a restaurant across the street from the train station in Morris Plains, NJ, where we spent the night. Great trip.

And that's a wrap for today. I'll leave you with this picture from a white-water adventure trip Kathy and I enjoyed on the Ocoee River in East Tennessee. We're int he front.


Nancy said...

What wonderful memories. I especially enjoyed reading about your trip to Betesy's wedding and how that opened the door to your ordination. God planning is always perfect.

Sharon said...

Great trips! Isn't it amazing how changing the scene can be so life changing?

Purple said...

Love your Scotland adventure.

Jan said...

What good friends to go on trips with! How wonderful to look back on Betesy's wedding to see how God drew you closer to your vocation. I always enjoy your posts and have missed reading about your life and thoughts.

angela said...

Great times captured in words. Hope to come back again soon.

The Bug said...

What fun memories! It was nice to see a post from you :)


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