Sunday, September 4, 2016

Summer of Travel

Is summer really gone?  Ah, yes.  I am back in the classroom now, back in the serious shoes, so, yes, I guess it is gone. 

As a teacher I have those glorious stretches of time known as summer vacation. Ever in need of some sort of structure in my life, I have in the past assigned a theme to my summers.  I am a hard-working pony, but one that needs fences around the very large ranch of summer, lest I wander off and become completely feral.  

In the past I had Summer of Service, Summer of Reading, and Summer of Health.  This summer was Summer of Travel. 

Thanks to the internet, planning trips is ridiculously simple.  It’s fun and easy to prop yourself up with five pillows, computer on your lap, calendar on your right and credit card to your left, and plan trips from the comfort of your bed. 

I first planned a trip to Portland on the train, simply because I wanted to travel on a train and sleep on one.  Brian was game.  I booked a trip on the Coastline Starlight.  The next trip to was to see my niece and her family in San Antonio.  She had recently moved there, has adorable children and Southwest was kind enough to offer me a nice fair.  Boom.  Done.  Next my friend Jim mentioned to me that he wanted to go to San Diego to see the Shakespeare exhibit there.  Why drive when you could take a train ride?  Next, I planned a trip to Kansas to see a friend and pick up two of my sisters and a niece and drive to Oklahoma to see another sister.  Road trip!  Our final trip was to Boston to see Brian’s son and daughter-in-law.  Five glorious days in Boston?  Yes, please.

My summer of travel was a great success.  I spaced out the trips so I had time between each one.  I loved all the beauty I saw along the way.  The adventure of getting places was a bonus.  

On our trip to Portland I sat in the observation car and saw the beauty of the Cascades.  In Texas we explored streams and woods.  Kansas and Oklahoma were gorgeous.  Ever a Midwest girl at heart, my heart fills up when I see rows and rows of corn, and long sweeping vistas of green, gold and blue.  The bustle of San Diego was fun.  I stood and looked at a 400 year-old collection of Shakespeare’s work, open to one of my favorite passages from Hamlet and thought I would weep.  Then on to Boston.  What an incredible city.  We walked Freedom Trail, went to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument, and rowed a boat out on one of the large ponds there.  

Yes, I saw some beautiful scenery and breathtaking historical monuments.  However, a letter from my friend Jim got me thinking about my Summer of Travel. Jim wrote that he loved the Shakespeare exhibit but his favorite part of the trip was playing cards with me on the train.  I smiled because I had thought the same thing.

Portland was great but my fondest memory is sitting with Brian on the train, holding hands and talking, watching the scenery go by.  

My favorite times in Texas?  Sitting on the floor, reading books to my great-niece and my great-nephew, their little bodies leaning into mine as we read book after book.  Their tiny hands turned the pages; their bright voices sang to me as they asked questions and laughed. 

Boston was one big, beautiful city and yet, the memory that comes to me time and time again is sitting around the table with Brian’s son and daughter-in-law, at their home talking about nothing in particular, just being together and laughing.  

I thought about my trip to Kansas and realized that my favorite part was hearing my sisters’ voices drifting through the night air as we settled in our beds, calling out to each other and giggling ourselves to sleep, just as we had long ago, in another house very far away.

The deck of cards passed between old, familiar friends, that square of carpet with books spread out and children nestled, waiting for the stories within, the hands that hold ours as we pass through tunnels,  those familiar faces around the table, the sweet voices wafting across the air to wish us happy dreams. That’s where the real sweetness in life is. 

It’s true I traveled thousands of miles across land this summer, but more importantly, I traveled deeper within life.  Those are the journeys that matter the most.   

I am grateful for it all.

Rowing with Phil and Brian.

Swimming with the sisters.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betty - sounds like the most wonderful of summers ... with as you say many memorable and important moments with family, friends and new hubby .. delightful read. Have a good terms ... cheers Hilary

nashvillecats2 said...

Wonderful summer for you, Pleased you managed to enjoy yourself.
Looks very Autumn like weather here....all of a sudden.

Leah J. Utas said...

What wonderful times.

Empty Nester said...

I love to read what you write. You have the flair for writing and I feel like I know exactly what you mean about the best times of your trips. You've made me reflect on my recent times here and during travel and yes, seeing new places is great but time spent with those you love is priceless. So glad you had such a glorious summer!

Tabor said...

Good planning and so glad that it all worked out! Sometimes the best of plans have a hitch or two!

Connie said...

What a magnificent summer of travel. It is those special moments with our loved ones that make life worth living for, isn't it.

Gigi said...

What a wonderful summer you've had! And, yes, it's not the places you go - it's the people you share the experiences with that matter the most.

Olga Hebert said...

A summer of travel is a wonderful way to go! Have a super new school year!

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

This is beautifully and poignantly written, Betty. It certainly sounds as if your Summer of Travel was a success in every way.

Lin said...

Um....Chicago has to be on the list one of these days....please.

Ms. A said...

Finding something you enjoy and doing it, with the added +Plus of all the "people" memories and not just the scenery. Sounds wonderful.

Madi and Mom said...

BB what a lovely post dedicated to those you love and the times you made use of each moment!
Happy School year
Hugs madi and mom

annie said...

Looks like a great summer.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I love your travel into a deeper self along your outward journey.I too am experiencing that joy of being with people I care about and passing special moments. Memoeies to cherish all the more.

Pat Tillett said...

Glad that you had a great summer. Weather-wise, I really wish it would end. It seems like it's been summer for at least a year.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

I hope this finds you and yours doing well. May we display your header on our new site directory? As it is now, the site title (linked back to its home page) is listed, and we think displaying the header will attract more attention. In any event, we hope you will come by and see what is going on at

roth phallyka said...

So glad you had such a glorious summer!


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