When people learn of my upcoming retirement, the question most often asked is, “So, whatchagonnado with all your extra time, travel?” The look of anticipation on their face, tells me they’re hoping to hear I will be jetting off to some faraway place. It’s hard to bear the look of disappointment on their faces when I say, “No.”
Currently, travel is not at the top of my list of Things To Do. Delayed flights, airplane food, if the airline is still serving anything, and time zone changes are not on my radar. I’m am not a great traveler. I don’t sleep well away from home. There’s something about snuggling down each night into that small indentation in my bed that’s form fitted to my body and pulling my soft blanket up around my shoulders. Don’t even get me started on my pillow.
That being said, I am looking forward to spending time with friends I’ve not spent enough time with over the past thirty or forty years. You know, the ones you grew up with. The ones who sometimes know you better than you know yourself. The ones where you quickly cut through the crap and pick up right where you left off.
I recently spent an extended weekend with two such friends. Meet Anne and Susan (that’s me on the right). I’ve known Susan since junior high and met Anne in high school. You do the math.
We spent the first evening reminiscing about the past over a bottle of The Prisoner, a delightful red blend, and barbecued pork roast. We laughed and cried and retold stories that started, “Remember the time,” and ended with, “What were we thinking?”
The following morning, after breakfast al fresco, we shopped at My Sister’s Closet. That afternoon, we visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West winter home. Admittedly, I would not have picked Taliesin as a place to visit, but from the moment we stepped onto the property, I was awestruck. I took over 40 photos (that’s a lot for me) and can’t bring myself to delete any of them. I came away moved by Wright’s genius and the beauty of his desert home and architectural school.
Saturday we took a road trip and visited the quirky town of Jerome, Arizona. The Jerome Grand Hotel, pictured below, was once an asylum. You can rent a room there at Halloween and go on a ghost tour. Once again, I am reminded of my safe and sane bed right at home.
Sunday, we waxed nostalgic at a free concert featuring, Marmalade Skies, an amazing Beatles tribute band, where we smuggled in wine in water bottles and a paper coffee cup. Ahh, the good ole days.
The following day it was time to head for home. In looking back, our lives were often amazing, though not always pretty, sometimes tragic, and mostly very ordinary, they were well spent. Our friends remind us of who we are, where we come from, and what our childhood dreams were. I recall a time we thought it would be cool to all move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and open a shop selling quilts. I don’t recall any of us knew how to sew. I, myself, flunked the sewing portion of Home Ec. in 7th grade. Whether old friends or new, I am thankful for the people in my life who play a large part in who I am today.