Fifty-three hundred and twenty-six miles and I’m back in Florida.
Thought perhaps I’d have time to write as the road unwound, but didn’t.
Actually, I thought I’d take the time to write, as there was indeed time, but I spent it otherwise.
Carl Sandburg said, “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
Mostly, I spent my time with family, it was time well spent.
Reconnected with nieces and nephews, uncles and aunts, re-learned names of babies now children, met new babies, and along with all those gathered, invited Mother into her 90th year walking this earth.
In private conversation bubbles within the larger swirling symphony of sounds, I learned of job changes, relocations, vacations planned and completed, land bought and sold, retirement plans.
Later, and in quiet eddies, some of the trials, some of the heartaches. Touchstones to follow up on, murmurs of the heart. But mostly, for these larger gatherings, the sunlight, the roads into tomorrow.
Within family there is that tapestry woven of who we were then and how we each remember the years comprising those threads, at once comforting and confounding. All the, “I remember…” or “You used to…” as some giant hand of history wiped away years and the familial order was restored, albeit with a nod and a wink to the mileage.
Four of Mother’s five brothers and sisters made the trip; five of her six children. Nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, cousins. Those who could not make the trip were carried there in spirit, included in the conversation.
There was, of course, more food than the assembled masses could consume, there was an extended volleyball game that became very competitive as the hours passed, lending credence to the idea that those who sat it out had not merely amassed more years but had perhaps attained a degree of wisdom. Perhaps.
I was very happy that Tracy made the trip with me, and was able in short order to separate out the various clans and affiliations, remembering names and family lines in ways that I cannot comprehend, as my own grasp on that is slippery at best.
We travel well together, and enjoy the road, marveling at the beauty of this great country as the miles rolled by. She then flew back to Florida for work, and I was delighted to fill the role of Grampa G for my little Sophia as her mom and dad pursued a local story tying into their journalistic work back east.
I am grateful to them that they made the trip, though Erik did say the lesson learned is that traveling that far with an eight-and-a-half month old might not have been the smartest thing he’s ever done. Point well taken.
When they headed on back, I went to work on the duplex I still own in Lincoln, and what tugged at my memory was the Greek story of Sisyphus, punished in Hades for his misdeeds in life by being condemned to the eternal task of rolling a large stone to the top of a hill, from which it always rolled down again.
But I did get to spend some time with Terry and Holly, whom I also consider family, and had great fun of playing guitar and singing with my friend Dory at Wunderrosa Winery south of Lincoln of a Friday night.
Then I headed out to meet Tracy in Nashville, to take part in another family gathering at her brother’s daughter’s wedding. And I might point out that I did not do nearly as well as she did in keeping names and lineages straight.
So I haven’t been online for a while.
The nation and the world spin on.
There is much to discuss, and despite the knowledge that this forum is a baby’s breath in the hurricane of current affairs, it is important to me to breathe what breath I can.
That said, family always trumps current affairs for me. Without family, there are no current affairs, a point oft forgotten by those involved in said current affairs.
But a point that would defuse many of the powder kegs currently lit.