Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday's Words for June 25, 2008

Ground Hog day received due homage, winter has finally receded, and both Victoria Day in Canada and Memorial Day in the United States have been celebrated and put to bed. All this can only mean one thing: vacation time is upon us once more.

The Ashburys are leaving very, very early Friday morning (my dear one needs to be on the road a.s.a.p. so that he feels he’s on vacation). We’re en route to our friends in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

This has become an annual trip for us, one we took in September last year. The first time we traveled to this beautiful part of north-eastern Pennsylvania was in 2004. My beloved, an avid history buff, had longed to see Gettysburg, and we decided to journey a few hours beyond to meet our friend face-to-face for the first time.

Our friend John—who was actually my friend first—is a cop, and in his spare time, a writer. We met through our online writing group that has its home on Kelley Armstrong’s web site.

My daughter was aghast when she learned of my plans for that trip. She kept referring to John as my “alleged” cop friend. She took her father aside to instruct him that he must be with me when I met this gentleman (as if he wouldn’t have been). I could certainly understand her concern to some degree; meeting people in person you’ve met on line is something to be done thoughtfully, and with great discretion. The next year, when our friend journeyed north for a writers’ conference, and then had dinner at our house, the first thing he did was show her his official identification.

While in Hazleton, we’ll visit near-by historic sites and places of interest. There’s a haunted prison in the town of Jim Thorpe that’s on our list, and a scenic train excursion in that community as well. We may take another tour of the restored Miners’ Village in Eckley, and David will no doubt want to re-visit Steam Town, the train museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Not far from that city they have tours of actual underground coal mines, and he and John did that together the first day we met.

If we go there again, I will—as I did the last time—stay on top of the grass.

One of the things we do when we’re visiting is go to the near-by shooting range. For any writers who are planning forays into the genre of suspense, having your own personal weapons trainer—one who also has a military background and is a trained EMT as well—is a wonderful thing.

When our friends have had enough of us, we’re heading south two hours to Philadelphia. We’re delighted that we will be spending the American Independence Day holiday in such an historic city. Here, I’ll squeeze in more research, and spend some time checking my facts, because part of my up-coming novel, The Seductress, takes place in this city. We’re staying in a very nice hotel on the Delaware River, and I’m very much looking forward to playing tourist for a couple of days.

I can be reticent when going on vacation, but not when the purpose of the vacation is to visit friends. This is the part of traveling I enjoy, spending time with those who’ve touched my life, sharing meals and conversation. There may even be a swimming challenge to be met, since our friend likes to tell me that I should be able to swim longer and faster than I do.

My husband says his money is on me, but that could just be because he loves me—and he has a theory about that whole cop and donut thing. That’s not an unfair charge, really, since John has recently told us that there’s a chipmunk he’s bribing to stay away from his pepper plants, and the bribe of choice is small strawberry filled donuts.

All the years we were raising our children, we never once considered that we might someday get to a place in life where we could travel as often as we do. Growing up, I was taught that vacations were rare rewards for hard work well done, taken perhaps two or three times in a lifetime. I think in those days vacations were exactly that, as traveling was an avocation reserved almost exclusively for the rich. If fuel costs continue to skyrocket, it may become so again.

So I’ve decided that, for the most part, I’ll restrain myself from bemoaning all the gallivanting about that my wander-lust-filled husband craves.

I do know that this is a lifestyle that others would love to have, and for that reason, I’ll smile and do my best to enjoy myself this year, and consider myself blessed and highly favored.

I also know that life can be suddenly uncertain and oft times far too short. While we’re both still able to, now is the time to see what we can of this world of ours.


1 comment:

Ian O'Neill said...

I hope you and the hubby enjoy yourselves, Morgan. Say hi to the copper for me and make sure the safety is on! :-)