I may have mentioned I was taking a December road trip. While I had a couple of stops on my original itinerary, centered on a Packers-Browns game in Cleveland, it quickly escalated and when Thanksgiving with the family fell through, I went to Plan B … visit each of my children and grandchildren (in five different states), added visits with my uncle and cousins in Ohio and Indiana, a second Packer game in Charlotte, a visit with my best friend from the fourth grade in Florida, Christmas in Nashville and First Night Ocean County (NJ) which ironically was cancelled but opened more time for a visit with Millie in Toms River. What a rush!
In all, there were so many memories packed into the 25 day, 5,267.3 mile trip to New York, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The blessing for the entire trip was no major incidents … just pure enjoyment with family and friends. Thank you Jesus!
While those states are where Angelina and I rested our heads, we also traveled through Canada, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and New Hampshire before rolling into the parking lot back in Maine.
I can’t put the impact of the experience down in words. But from start to finish, each mile … each visit … each experience will be forever etched in my mind. I will draw from the experiences for years to come. It truly was a December to Remember.
I will, however, pull out my blessings during the trip. Please indulge me. Maybe you might get a little insight as to why this December was so special.
Day 1 was completed without a hitch with a restful ride through the mountains and sunrise of western Maine, foothills of eastern Quebec, mountains and vistas in Quebec and Ontario and sunset in upstate New York. It was all capped with dinner with my daughter and four grandchildren.
Day 2 included a safe trip to Ohio and good dinner with Dee, Mike, the three grandsons, Kristine and my precious three year old great-granddaughter Addi. Angelina and I met Ryan’s new German shepherd Dexter. Most of the barking and snipping came from little Angelina.
My blessing on Day 4 was special face time with my Uncle Dave and cousin Sharon, Miguel, Kara and Alex. It was great sharing memories, conversation, catching up and a great meal! Thanks for the hospitality!
My blessing was another uneventful trip through the snow, sun and wind on day five of the great Christmas journey highlighted by a terrific visit with my cousin Jacqueline and Dave. We spent the nearly six hours catching up from a 50 year hiatus in face time, trying to fill in some family gaps. Thanks for the memories and pizza.
My blessing Day 6 was allowing myself some me time. I know it is often about me, but today I chose to visit the Studebaker Museum … something I have sidestepped for years. Since my son was working until 8, I journeyed the extra 120 miles or so … and was it worth it! Being a former Silver Hawk owner, I was transported back in time as I viewed the display. I could see myself back behind the wheel with the instrument cluster nestled in the mother of pearl dash. I remembered the good times I had with that car. I also learned so much about the Studebaker history … which I’ll leave for another day. The visit brought a peaceful smile to my face.
A successful drive to Kentucky for a night, then to South Carolina without incident is a blessing (I’m seven days and ,2485.1 miles in). Visiting with my oldest and youngest sons is a blessing. But this morning was the ah hah moment. I took Angelina out at sunup and we headed to the back of the property line where the fall’s leaves collected. Angelina had a blast running through the leaves, stopping when she heard the rooster crow, then exercising with the crunch of the leaves. When she came to me with leaves attached to her from nose to tail, I could envision her saying this is as much fun as snow … but not as cold. We even got into a leaf throwing contest. The neighbors probably were entertained … and I was at peace.
Spending time with my oldest and youngest sons is a blessing. Good conversation. Good food (we went out for dinner). Good catching up on their lives face to face. Getting ready for our football weekend!
My next blessing was spending the night at Packers Everywhere Pep Rally in Charlotte with my oldest and youngest sons. What a rush! Hundreds of Packer fans partying in anticipation of tomorrow’s game from all over the country. And to share it with family … what a blessing. Oh, and I won a sideline Packer knit hat!
Next was a transitional travel day (overnight in Jacksonville) which gave me time to reflect on the blessing I have the health, resources and, most of all, the time to take and enjoy this current trip.
What a blessing on Dec. 19 … renewing a 60 year friendship. Good memories. Good fellowship. Great meal Sandy.
There is nothing like tapping into memories with a lifelong friend. Bernie and I spent three days talking about the girls we loved and lost, hanging out with Carmen and Murray, our days at St. Anthony’s, the friends and experiences at DBT, trips to the shore and the city, staying in touch for around 60 years, filling in the blanks, sharing the “joys” of aging. A lifetime in three days … A true blessing.
I was blessed with another uneventful travel day. Half of my December odyssey is over. Each moment has been a blessing. Highlight today was actually seeing cotton fields on the Georgia landscape, then discovering the final edit was made on my book. I have a few alterations to make and a dedication to write before we go to production! It’s happening!
For me, next was a safe trip to Kentucky AND AAA service. Day started with a hiccup — the only one on the trip. I locked my keys in the car. A quick call and a short time later I was on the road … missing most of the torrential rains.
My next blessing was spending a spectacular Christmas Eve in Nashville with my oldest son. We took a walk around Gaylord Opryland Resort (about three hours worth), took in the Ice Show (Charlie Brown Christmas) including a turn down the ice tube and capped it off with dinner and Diamond Rio. Love it when a plan comes together. Thank you Lord!
Joe and I had quiet Christmas day which gave me a chance to reflect on the reason for the season. That was my blessing.
Next, a day visiting the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, not for the nostalgia but because I got to share it with my oldest son. We also chowed down at the Corvette Cafe and Roosters. Another blessed day on a blessed trip.
My blessing Dec. 27 was getting to make final adjustments to the book on my final day in Bowling Green while my eldest son worked [from home]. It’s been a very pleasant trip thus far. Tomorrow it’s off to New Jersey with an overnight stop in West Virginia.
They say a visit from a cardinal is a visit from a loved one. My blessing while eating breakfast before leaving my oldest son’s house this morning was not one, but two cardinals My trip has been approved on the other side.
My oldest, Joe, got rid of me and is now entertaining his daughter (my granddaughter) Kayli (we missed connecting). He spent the day teaching her how to shoot. For me, I don’t usually play scratchoffs unless I stumble upon a loose coin. I found a shiny penny and played a $5 Folding Money card. One number was worth $10 … another was $10 five times and the bonus on the back matched four of the eight slots at $5 each. In all, $80 in folding money which was the blessing because it averted a stop at the ATM for some … folding, traveling cash!
More blessings. Finally found some real snow on my trip almost 5,000 miles in and, of all places, the Jersey shore. Angelina found a friend on the Long Branch beach, kicking up snow as they raced around the sand. She was intrigued by the ocean, mesmerized by the ebbs and flows of the water and fascinated by the waves. We worked our way south, stopping in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove before visiting Millie in Tom’s River. A great visit with a great woman. Blessings are days like these.
For me, sometimes disappointments are blessings in disguise. The reason for my Seaside stop was First Night Ocean County fireworks over the ocean. They were cancelled. Seems the FD and Borough felt the sub-zero wind chill was too low for the family-oriented crowd (and a few septuagenarians as well). They might have been right. My fingers were close to numb just waiting for my sausage and pepper sandwich to go. I was also able to see the new Ferris wheel light show. Amazing! Angelina and I also scooped up some beach sand and ocean water (I did the same with Florida sand and gulf water — any suggestions how I can display them?) and took Ocean Avenue from Long Branch to Seaside, stopping to take in the various beaches and decorations on the gorgeous old and new homes along the way.
So, that’s it. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your friends. Savor every moment. I had a December to remember. Let’s all have a 2018 to remember!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. — Ayn Rand