The 2018 Road: Honours, Learnings and Observations- Part 1

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September 2, 2018, Prescott-

The forty-day journey, whose chronicle I have just completed, is now well-past the reflection stage.  The longest trip I have undertaken, since 2015, has passed without controversy, among those of my family and friends who have viewed my travels in the past, with some consternation.

There were mostly good things that happened, this summer that is nearly passed.  I want to first note those who have honoured me with their presence, in the deepest of ways.  Then, I shall note the learnings I picked up from the trek. Finally, some observations are in order.

Honours-

The first of these always goes to my family: Being in Christ Church, Philadelphia, for the wedding of my beloved youngest niece; having my son, Aram, and his girlfriend next to me during the service, throughout the reception and for much of Father’s Day.  I’m grateful to her, for having given him much happiness; being with all of my siblings, nieces and nephews and nearly all of my extended family.

My northern Nevada family has always been there for me, as well.  This year, over Memorial Day weekend, was no different.

My sister in spirit, Corina, drove an hour each way to visit with me a bit-once I got to Wilmette, but to no avail.  My arrival was way too late, so back she went, to spend Sunday afternoon with her beloved. I feel honoured, nevertheless.  Just being in the embrace of the Baha’i House of Worship is a singular honour, in itself.

Having dinner with friends in Mishawaka, IN, was a sublime blessing.  Thanks, Val and Sparky.

I cannot say enough, for the staff and fellow hostelers at Auberge Bishop, Montreal, for confirming my worth as a human being, in the aftermath of a serious loss.  I am also grateful to the agents at USAA, for mitigating that loss.  It was a joy to take lunch at one of  the restaurants of a friend’s establishment:  La Panthere Verte.  I would feel similarly honoured, again, at hostels in Baltimore and in Memphis.

One of the greatest honours is to connect with the spiritual energy of one’s ancestors. My maternal grandmother’s hometown, Plattsburgh, NY first welcomed me, and a few weeks later, my sister and a maternal cousin connected with some of Grama’s grandnieces and great grandnephews.

Penny’s family will always be my own, as well.  They helped me greatly, in the wake of Montreal.  A few days’ respite, in the family home, in Spring Hill, FL helped me rest before the home stretch, and reaffirmed our bond.  Paying my respects to her departed cousin, a few days before, in Maryland, was essential.

There are many, across the nation and world, who I regard as spiritual family. They are of all Faiths and of no Faith.  Connecting with a woman who is like a daughter to me, in Virginia Beach; an immigrant friend who is like a brother, in Salisbury, NC; and my Tennessee brother and sister of the heart, in Crossville, have made all the difference in healing a part of me that still grieves, somehow.

Being in Memphis, and feeling the pain that all of us who are of good heart experienced, the day Martin Luther King, Jr. died, was cathartic.  I had not cried in a good long while, and this overwhelming sadness brought out a lot.  Later in the day, walking along the banks of the Mississippi and along Beale Street, felt like a dirge was playing.  Dr. King honoured us all.

NEXT:  Learnings

 

The 2018 Road, Day 33: High Life in the Low Country

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June 27, 2018, Timmonsville, SC-

Many lovely days, over the years, have been spent in places not exactly mapped out or put on an itinerary.  Today,  I made an early start, out of Spring Hill, with the aim of reaching somewhere in the Carolinas, before calling it a night.   I bid farewell to W and the dogs, with  Mother still asleep.  A stop at Staples was necessary, to pick up a carrying case for this laptop, before heading up the back highway towards I-10.

I stopped on the east side of Ocala, at a Huddle House, getting a loaded burger-a break from the more Spartan fare I gave myself, over the three days at the “Beach House” (named for its Beach Street location, rather than proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, which is ten miles away).  Huddle House is a football-themed chain, found in the South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.  It seems fairly reliable and put me very close to Interstate 10.

I also stopped at the Florida Citrus outlet, in Macclenny, to pick up some jars of marmalade- one for a friend I plan to visit, tomorrow, and one for some friends in Tennessee.   Then it was on to I-95 and through Georgia, once again, to the lowland interior of South Carolina.  I would be passing east of Louis Gregory Baha’i Institute, this time, and focusing on a backroads route towards Salisbury, NC, where another Baha’i friend lives.

This route brought me to Walterboro, just in time for a simple, but well-varied Southern buffet, at Olde House Cafe.

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Walterboro has some fine architecture, in its downtown,  but rain was setting in, and I had the idea of getting closer to the North Carolina state line.  The rain got worse, though, the further north I drove, and after another hour of dealing with the elements and the approaching nightfall, I stopped in Timmonsville, at a Budget Inn.  The place is also clean and fairly inexpensive, like its counterparts in Ocala and Elkhart, IN.   There looks to be some sort of breakfast place, attached to the gas station across the road, so tomorrow may well be off to a good start.