Blog 1723 – 06.10.2020
Ready To Get Back On The Road
For the last almost six months my camper trailer that I have used for almost eight years on the road as a contract inspector has been in a storage facility near my home in Houston, Texas. This is only the second time that I have had it in Texas, the first being for a month between work assignments in Minnesota and Colorado, the month of November 2018. The length of this hiatus from work has been stretched due to the outbreak of the pandemic virus, COVID 19. I have been, as many boomers my age, flirting with the idea of retirement for a few years but I have decided that I think I will work full time for another five years. Even after retirement I hope that I have the stamina to still spend the larger part of my remaining years on the road seeing this great country, up close and personal.
Like many of you staying in place these last several months I have watched even more hours of TV than I normally do and have for most of my life. I watched again one of my favorite movies just yesterday, The Family Stone. When the sister of a girlfriend shares the story of a man in an island village off the coast of Alaska going around town telling people that he had a hole in his heart and could not sleep. To help fill that hole the town got together and gave him a huge log. The man with the hole in his heart took five years carving that log into a totem pole that the whole village came to see when it was raised into place. The young lady said she had seen it and had to wept at its beauty. The story sparked two things in the young man, a desire to travel to see that totem pole and a deep desire to get to know this likeminded young woman better. His family, on first meeting the story teller’s sister that their son and brother had brought home to meet them before asking her to marry him, knew she was not the one for him. She had related to them in a crowded car ride the story of how they had met on a business trip to Hong Kong a year earlier. She described their first encounter as him being lost, while he tried to interject that he was just asking directions to a special holy site that he had wanted to see while in the area on business. She thought their meeting fate but the family saw it as an interruption from him getting to be where and to see what he had wanted to see. Everything is not fate, some things even attractive and lovely are merely interruptions that make us wait or often lead us on long detours around the true object of our quest.
In the bigger story of The Family Stone it is the sister of the girlfriend that leads the older brother back on track and the unfitting first girl finds her more perfect fit with the younger brother. In a telling scene where the younger brother has taken her to a bar after she has wrecked the car trying to escape the harsh judgement of her boyfriend’s family, the younger brother wisely tells her, “You have a freak flag. You’re just not letting it fly.”
If you have not yet or only seen The Family Stone once, I hope you will give it a look or another look. I am sure you will find it worth your while. I think I have watched it at least four times during these months at home. It has become for me like another movie I have seen countless times and could see and enjoy again and again, While You Were Sleeping. And I know tastes in movies and many other things differ but family has a certain appeal even and perhaps especially for those who never felt enough of family in their lives.
I suppose, for me, that is the appeal of being on the road again, not to escape the family that I love dearly in Houston but to meet and greet my extending family across America and the wider world. These months of detour have been a pleasant interruption as was my two month work assignment to Kenai, Alaska eight years ago. Alaska was the last of the fifty states and now I can say I have been in them all. But I have yet to see everything worth seeing and all my wonderful family worth meeting. Any day now I fully expect to receive my marching orders to pack up and get back on the road again.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
On The Road Again