Oh, the places you travel when taking a trip. I came to find out, that it’s not just the spaces. It’s also the faces of our present and past.
The morning sunlight peeked between the roadside trees and flickered through my windshield. It mesmerized my thoughts as I sat watching the long white fences fade off over the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. Envisioning a morning long ago, I could almost see these roads as no more than two five-foot wide buggy wheel tracks with grass growing in between them. Quickly the years flashed before my eyes. I saw women and men raising the sidewalls and facades on each of these buildings alongside these roads.
My trip continued over history hill to an old school where I could almost hear the echo of children’s laughter. I began to wonder how many stories those walls held. Stories of children learning to read, write, and get along with one another.
Shadows grew across a street dappled with two and three-hundred-year-old houses. Images walked before me. I saw a woman standing beside her affluent husband, as he smoked his pipes. And then a sad vision of a woman that sold herself to stay alive. But, then a much more vivid image appeared. The women and the men, darkened with sun and dirt from the fields and the factories walked through my mind. And I understood a little better, the contribution and sacrifices they made for our country. I jumped back into the present moment.
Our seemingly huge RV was now smack-dab in the heart of Center City, Pennsylvania. My husband and I sat on pins and needles at the red light because we were out of place lumbering through an area built in another era for more compact forms of travel. Small cars lined the streets. Bicycles whipped by in their own personal lane. Pedestrians squeezed through every open space. The light turned green for us. There were no arrows or extra lanes set aside for turns. As we began our left turn from a one-way street to another, the traffic stopped. The car ahead of us decided to park on the corner. We were stuck! We couldn’t back up, nor could we continue our turn without running over this parked car. I was nervous, wondering how long before a police officer gave us a ticket.
For just a second or two my mind shifted back to a time when only poor men rode horses and ate lobster. How different from the present where eating lobster and having horses is a luxury. I looked out the window and saw the drivers of the two parked vehicles running out of a restaurant. They moved the vehicles up onto the sidewalk and we were able to make the turn.
Let me tell you, neighborhood roads on the east coast are not designed for nine-foot wide and thirty-six-foot-long motor-homes. It sure would have been easier if our RV had been hinged in the middle.
So, you may be asking yourself, why would someone drive nine-foot wide and thirty-six-foot-long motor-home through City Center, PA? Well, you see, my stepson was moving out east, and we wanted to help in any way that we could. We felt transporting all his belongings was something we could do. So, we packed all the different size boxes into each compartment. It was a bit like playing Tetris. When everything was wedged into place, I turned to find, this French horn. After a long look, I tucked it safely under the dinette table inside. And there it stayed throughout the trip. I guess, at that point, you could say,” it was no motor-home, it was a moving van!”
Sometimes our job as parents is simply being there for kids as they walk across the stage on graduation day. And, at other times it’s traveling with a French horn under your table. No matter how big or small the event, there is always joy and satisfaction in helping them. This adventure was no different.
I hope to live long enough to share many, many more life experiences with our children and grandchildren. Magical ordinary moments happen all the time, noticing and appreciating them is the key to a fulfilling life.
Side note: Visiting the area where the liberty bell sits, it dawned on me, that Dolly Madison Cupcakes were brought to you by yellow fever. I mean, doesn’t it make sense? Dolley’s first husband died of yellow fever. Dolley then married James Madison who later became the fourth president of the US. It may be spelled different. But I did check, and the baker admits using this well-known name from this sweet first lady. And well, I guess… the rest is history.
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