Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Home Bodies on the Road

The home is sacrosanct. It is our refuge, our castle, our domain, our protection, our moat protecting us from the trials and aggravations of the world. It is our most private physical place. For some, the level of privacy and seclusion the home represents is so important that sharing it is very hard. When we used to visit my wife's parents, the first thing her mother would say was, “Good to see you. When you leaving?” Blasting her parents out of their house was almost impossible. We had to be the ones to come to them – always. We didn't mind, really, because we liked road trips and we wanted to see them. We liked them. We enjoyed their company. But, obviously, it still rankled, and still does today, so many years later. I understand liking your nest and wanting to stay there undisturbed. I like mine, too. There is nothing better than sitting together with Diane on the couch watching something we both enjoy on the television. But there are many things that are as good. I also like to see new things and to spend time with people whom I love. You can't do that if you stay in all the time. I am a simple and unimportant man, but I have been to the third floor of the Belleek Factory. I have had my fear of heights tested on the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. I have driven down Highway One and up Going to the Sun Road. I have watched buffalo roam. I have seen two dozen bottle-nose dolphins breach in a cris-cross pattern in the wake of a cruise ship, again and again for half an hour I've swum at the bottom of a kelp forest with a manta ray. I have had a very vocal crow land on my outstretched arm in a graveyard in Terschelling. I have seen angels spinning in infinity and prostitutes plying their trade and stood in a cathedral formed by trees. I have had machine guns pointed at me at a checkpoint in Northern Ireland. I have put my nose within inches of the Girl with the Pearl Earring. I have paid my respects to the most elegant mind of the Seventeenth Century in a massive but empty cathedral in den Haag, where he lay buried with his mother and his father in a tomb built for someone else. I've stood toe to toe with Ronald Reagan, shaken hands with Buddy Ebsen, seen what Bob Dylan could do to the inside of a motel room, and asked Malcolm Atterbury to wink at me the next time he was on TV, and he did, while playing a judge on Perry Mason. I saw Willie Mays patrol center field in Candlestick Park, and I have met Eva Mozes Kor at an open house in Terre Haute. I have traveled to a distant galaxy in larger than life three dimensions in a near private showing with a cocktail in my hand. I have ridden on the Ghost Bus and eaten great Italian food in a restaurant in Dublin. I've had a glass with many fine friends and raised a glass to all. I have not yet been to Canada, but it beckons. I have not yet seen the Northern Lights or the Southern Cross. I want to see the Scablands, where an ancient ice dam broke and a mountain of water carved the land into a channel in God's time, seven days, and then went on to help create the Columbia Gorge. I have not yet walked the medieval streets of Bruges, nor stood inside the Menin Gate in Ypres, where Sorley died. I have not ridden east from White Fish to Havre on what used to be the Great Northern Empire Builder. I've not yet tracked Chief Joseph's path as he tried to lead his people to a safe haven through Montana, nor walked the dusty streets of Deadwood with the ghost of Seth Bullock. My bucket list is extensive and always growing and should take decades to fulfill, with long periods of blissful rest between trips in my cozy cave.

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