i'm getting better at this. my first major trip to the blue ridge mountains saw me dashing home after only 4 days. my 2nd trip to the smokies kept me away for 10, though i skipped a few days in charlotte and charleston.
this time i stayed on the road for 13 days. i think i traveled over 2000 miles. i'm getting better at this. my next weekend, 4-hour trip to tampa is gonna be a breeze. my packing still sucks, bringing everything from pillow to blender. will have to lighten up before i make it offshore.
after an overnight in fayetteville n.c., i got to my old home town in two days, sleeping that night just blocks away from my old house for the first time in 34 years.
the next day, while walking to see my old house with a bud who flew in from southern calif, we were pulled over by a local cop who cuffed me on the mayor's lawn.
there, ya see leonidas, i told you i wasn't anti-cop. even some of my friends are cops including that guy, my calif bud whose dad was police chief, the guy i stayed with who is a retired cop, another friend whose dad was with the fbi and a college bud who was also the police shop steward and used to take me out on night patrol. hard to imagine i was such a bad boy, huh? i'm not anti-establishment; i just see room for improvement.
meanwhile, back on the roadtrip. my 50th birthday party high school reunion was nothing short of marvelous. forty of us showed including me from florida, 2 guys from calif and one from new mexico. the dinner cruise went part ways around manhatten and then over to the statue of liberty. the food was very good. the drinks never stopped. nor did the laughing. seeing these people and remembering things i hadn't thought of in so many years made my brain feel like bubble wrap popping. like a memory stored inside a neuron which hadn't been activiated in years. like a dust cover removed and a brain cell expanding. wow, what a trip.
following that wonderfully warm welcome and great time i spent a day with family honoring the memory of my mom at her unveiling ceremony. so very sad. i miss her so much.
that night was another reunion party and the next day i met my father's first cousin for the first time in my life. he didn't know where my father is as the only family he knows is his own brother's. but he was able to give me some nice information on my grandfather which i'd never known because i only met grandfather twice in my life. after taking me to lunch, cousin gave me a tour of his very own new york tower and showed me some of our famous uncle's works as well as his own oscar and his brother's emmy. who are these people?
he also told me that because uncle had no will nor descendants, that if i wanted it, i'd be entitled to my share of 1/3 of a fabulous estate. but his brother, another very wealthy cousin, tried to pursue it for his children yet failed, so my chances of tracking it down with my limited resources would be about zero to none. oh well, nice to know someone or some organization is doing very well on our money.
after lunch i met a much loved cousin from my mom's side for dessert on madison avenue followed by walking her dog through central park. then i headed back to times square for dinner with an old family friend. our moms were best friends for 60 years and now we are dear friends for 50 years and so when we are together we represent 110 years of friendship. here is a view from her office. wow, what a view...
i've been on longest car trip i ever made, i've taken the ferry into the city, i'm hailing cabs, i've re-met 40 very old friends, i've made contact with my father's side of family for first time in my life, i've reburied my mom, i'm driving with the top down in tunnels under water and i'm high above times square. my head is spinning. what would you do? so i have lunch with my buddhist cousin in from hawaii, now in jersey for his mom's unveiling coincidentally on the very same day as mine. this guy is a breath of calm air and though i've only had the chance to meet with him a few times during life we always enjoy each other's company very much. he thinks i am farther along in my meditations than he but i know he is so much farther along than me in his understanding. what a great guy.
so i've got my breath back, i say my goodbyes and hit the road again. on my way to washington dc i stop to visit an old friend in phili. she's a nurse and extremely talented song writer, lyricist, singer, performer. he's a compassionate dr. house. they have a wonderful wood & glass house built on a creek that runs through a wooded acre. i was just stopping in for lunch but found myself there the next day as well. just the wind-down required.
my washington dc cousin showed me a great time there. even if you are a republican, how could you not love seeing this...
i visited for the first time a longtime favorite institution of mine, the library of congress. don't know by what criteria, but cousin tells me that this was the most expensive government building in washington dc. it is simply gorgeous.
this interior space is one of the most beautiful rooms i've ever seen...
on exhibit there was a tribute to bob hope. so of course i had to snap a shot of his wicker nose...
and just so you all know i was thinking about you all during my trip, here's a tribute to the early retirement forum
while in washington i had the honor of dining with our very own donheff, a very likeable guy. thanks so much for meeting with me. it was all too appropriate that during dinner we ran into his old boss. i don't believe in much, but i do believe in coincidence.
after washington i headed down to charleston where i biked around that beautiful town. i wasn't expecting such an extensive collection of historic buildings. very glad i finally made it there. unfortunately, sarah only checked her voice mail as i was bugging out of town. so just for the record, sarah, you still owe me a boat ride.