photo by Sheri Dixon

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

We went home.

Home to the homes of friends new and old, some we've met before and some we haven't, from the wooded hills of southwest Arkansas to the rolling prairies of northeast Illinois, from hometown neighborhoods remembered to hometown neighborhoods never entered, to the center of the capitol city of Kansas we pulled into driveways, shut off the car, unfolded our bodies, cat-stretched and were welcomed into the arms and homes of friends.

Virtual cyber-friends became (or continued to become) real share-a-meal-with friends, and old high school friends opened their doors and hearts and I just walked in as though we last saw each other yesterday instead of almost 4 decades ago.

We went home. *I* went home, to my parents' house, which was weird because I'd never been there before. My childhood home is empty and my parents live in a new house easily three times bigger than the old house- I recognize furnishings and photos and the knick knacks of my memories in a strangely bizarre way, like meeting a fish wearing trousers coming towards you on a hike in the forest- your brain sees a fish, and clothing, and the forest, but somehow none of them quite fit together this way.

We went home to my brother and sister-in-law's darling vintage home in the middle of the neighborhood we grew up in.

We went home to my older son's new apartment just south of Milwaukee and met his lovely and gracious beautiful girlfriend.

We went home to lodgings as different as movie sets and every bit as extraordinary, and in our own unwritten unscripted play each scene sees the unchanging characters dropped into completely disjointed and unrelated sets, and with each change we learned something about Life, the Universe, Everything, and Each Other.

We learned that a yurt without television and with sketchy-at-best internet is a place the stars can be seen through the dome at the peak.

We learned that a shabby old motor lodge in the center of Small Town America looks like the Taj Majal after a 500+ mile day, especially with a kickass pizza parlor within walking distance.

We learned that a llama farm in the center of the middle of nowhere is a perfect spot for regrouping and re-energizing for the southern swing home. That even without internet OR TV, once the sun has set and the fireflies have lit the path for the llamas to the barn, a stack of old VCR movies makes for a wonderful Family Night in the quiet of the hills.

We learned that "in the old days" the senators from all over Kansas stayed in pretty posh digs- beautifully appointed little apartments with balconies overlooking the capitol building (which has a Native American at the top), and that after our only OTHER 500+ mile day we really did appreciate both internet and TV with our feets up on our respective beds.

We learned that Mapquest does not recognize the address of The Loft Hotel in Tulsa, but that it was well worth the hassle of finding it since it's ultra modern, ultra chic, and ultra popular with our aspiring architect son.

Most of all I re-learned and had reinforced to me on a daily basis that my husband is strong, and amazingly patient, and My Knight in Shining Armor. There were times I unraveled, crumpled, faltered, became overwhelmed and he'd step in and step up quietly and without fanfare and prop me he does every day at home.

I re-learned and had reinforced to me on a daily basis that my son is funny, and smart, and responsible and caring and so comfortable and capable around all types of people and in all situations that he takes my breath he does every day at home.

We traveled over 2,500 miles in 10 days, saw all sorts of things a lot of other travelers see, and a few things most don't want to, but at the end of the day at the end of the trip, after being plucked out of our routines for less than half a month- not long enough to become squirrely and surly, just long enough to really look at each other and think, "How did I get so lucky as to score such a fabulous Family?"...

...We went home.


  1. when ever I come here I am reminded to count my blessings, look around me and 'see' what is really there...good and bad, and to rejoice in the little things we miss during our busy days. It sounds like a wonderful vacation, the love of family surpasses all and your son is proof of that!

  2. Thank you, jojo- we had a good trip, just being together is enough, the rest of it is gravy :)