We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I'm delivering food and doing errands for my old folks this weekend. My Mom fell and cracked her patella while unloading groceries, cannot drive for 6 weeks, and can barely hobble around on her brace - and my Dad is half-blind, has Parkinson's, and is not allowed to drive anymore. His ornery self refuses to take the Parkinson's medicine but, thankfully, he finally agreed to get himself a hearing aid.
A neighbor is driving Mom to her best friend's funeral today at our family church on the hill.
I brought them Chinese take-out last night: Cold hot pepper cabbage, Scallion pancakes, and Scallops with Snow Peas. Then a plate of strawberries. Also left them some black bread and Nova Salmon for breakfast. Tomorrow, I'll bring them some take out Thai soups. They look too skinny, need feeding. They were never much into eating, unless it was especially good.
Somehow, we got on the topic of past family trips. I was laughing to remember the volumes of disposable diapers we travelled with - they were not available in Europe back then. With a family of 5 kids, there was usually at least one in diapers (and at least one in a bad mood). I remember trying to help tie them (the bags of diapers, not the younger brats, unfortunately) to the roof of the rental cars. My Dad always travelled with rope for that purpose, in the pre-bungee-cord era.
My Mom was remembering the large Raspberry plantings at the Roman Camp Hotel, where we all had stayed for a few days. Watching her litter grazing on Scotland's excellent raspberries, ripping them off the rows of canes. A wonderful place. My parents are picky about where they will stay - they can't stand glitz or "fancy," and they don't do tacky. They are the typical old Yankee WASPy breed that is only comfortable with understated refinement and genteel semi-shabby. No "luxury," please. They feel that "luxury" is vulgar (whereas I can learn to appreciate it when I can find it). Mom liked this place:
A few years after that trip, my folks did something unusual and selfishly left the kids behind and took a trip by themselves, and biked the length of Hadrian's Wall. Or, as my Dad corrects me, walls: there are two of them. They were finished with breeding. We had many good trips; lots of stories and tons of colorful memories. I can't remember them all: Somewhere in Europe every August, and Cape Cod too. Ocean liners - I remember each one of them. Two ski weeks each winter. Monhegan Island regularly. Very nice. Like those Bald Eagle parents with their rabbits and fish, I think they wanted to fill us with all of the experiences that they could, and the heck with the expense.
As much as I love my cozy home, going anywhere new, near or far, still ignites the adventurous spark in me, like a kid. I am lucky that I married an adventurous woman who will go anywhere, any time, and try anything. She back-packed down to Greece when she was in college. My kids are like that, too, thank God. They seem to view this world as a wonderful buffet of experiences, opportunities, and challenges.
I think my parents' travelling days are over, but they are fortunate to have 5 kids who want to pitch in, when needed. My favorite Thai place makes damn good noodle soups, and I am gonna fight the traffic and bring them some.
Ohhh BD--it is a sad thing to see, when a traveller you love has to say good bye to the open road. You are a true traveller and I was delighted to hear how you came by that appetite. Why don't you plan to spend one night a week this summer helping your mom pull together all the photos and put them together for the various kids. It will help her to feel better about the situation--I know it will make you feel better.
You're very lucky to have all those wonderful memories. Apple pie has a great idea. I think it would help your parents to relive all those vacations through the photos and the stories that go along with them.
I know what you mean about stubborn elders not taking their medicine - fought my Mom for years. She placed her trust in God to see her through even though I tried, as did her parish priest, to push the whole "helps those who help themselves" thing. Didn't work. :>) We did manage to take her car keys and license early on though.
Its nice to be able to look back on past journeys and enjoy them again. My family didn't do much traveling as such - mostly here in the US and Canada, but those trips we did take were memorable if only because of the mis-adventures that happened. :>)
Funny how things come full circle. As infants, we are taken care of by our parents and as they become older, the roles reverse. Curious that.
By the way, I speak with some experience on that role reversal thing. My kids (and the Mrs) are constantly interfering with my propensity to do for myself. I can be stubborn that way. Of course, with bad back, bad arthritis, hips falling apart, torn rotator cuffs and bicep tendons, I'm pretty much a wreck, but I keep on lifting, working around the house, climbing on the roof to sweep the chimney, etc., and it drives them nuts. What I really enjoy is when they tell me they are coming over to help stack the wood, or clean the chimney or whatever and I tell them not to bother, its already done. I may be laid up for days on end because of it, but I did it myself. :>)
I occasionally give in only to keep peace in the family. :>)