It feels so good to be home that the good I felt on the travels fades for the moment. I look forward to this “normal” day that I started out right…reading, greeting the sun, shower, a breakfast to which my body says “thankyou”, instead of “oh, barf!” Now the blog…
There were several experiences on our trip that hold a special place in my heart. I have already mentioned the visit to the George Washington Carver National Memorial. Another favorite was our visit to Vermilionville, a living history village which shows through living history the story of the Acadians, Native Americans and the Creole cultures that compose Louisiana’s inhabitants. A special treat while visiting the village was a musical jam session that took place. Musicians from the area gathered to play old Cajun music and some folks demonstrated the typical Cajun “two step”. There were twenty or more folks in the circle of enthusiasts, people who brought their guitars, accordians and fiddles. There was a leader there to explain the songs and their significance and talk a little about the musicians who were clearly friends who came together for their moment of ecstacy. We were caught up keeping the beat. We were even inspired to dance a bit by locals caught up in the fun.
Sitting through that concert, I have to admit, brought such joy there were tears in my eyes. As we drove home through Wisconsin on our last stretch of the trip, there were two other moments when tears came to my eyes. These had nothing to do with connecting with a new culture or inspiration concerning a person of history. We stopped for lunch at a Perkins Restaurant around Tomah. We were not terribly hungry but we needed the break from sitting in the car. Our thoughts were on getting this 7-hour drive behind us. I could see from our booth the entrance where a family was waiting to be seated. I caught sight of a father holding a baby about 6 months old. The dad was kissing her head over and over again. I’d say, rather, he was moving his lips over her soft furry head. I immediately connected with that sense, that meditative experience of loving a creature so much that you cannot get enough of them. Loving them so much that you absolutly lose all sense of anything else going on around you. That was a moment when I could feel tears welling up.
The booth we were sitting in was next to another in which three National Guard members were sitting. Suddenly a man approached them and handed them a piece of paper. They thanked him for picking up their bill and he said, “No, don’t thank me. It is an honor to do it. I thank you for your service to our country.” That moment of tears was one that Bernie and I shared and it lingered a several minutes. I felt humbled. It is not something I myself have ever thought to do.
The rest of the drive was an exercise in trying to get comfortable with the pinched nerve in may lower back teasing me. I tried to outsmart it…even layed in the back seat for a number of miles. I somewhat succeeded but there was nothing like getting home, standing up and walking around. I hate getting old. These little aches and pains really put a damper on things like the afterglow of good memories.
Don’t feel sorry for me…these little discomforts are exactly what my peers are going through. They are rather new to me so I tend to get obsessed. I figure I will get used to it and find my sense of humor.