It’s over!!!. From February through July 14, 2018, a total of 22 weeks, we traveled from Maine to California, up the coast to Washington and then to Vancouver, Island and home again via Colorado. Here are some reflections…
- Fifty-years is a long, long time to be married. Sandy and I are fortunate. We actually love each other after all these years. We have loved each other as 21 year-old newlyweds. We loved each other when we had four children under the age of five. We loved each other when we had six children in private Catholic schools and colleges that we couldn’t afford. We loved each other when we had no money, when we had no jobs, when we borrowed to make the house payments. We loved each other through our more successful years. And, we still love each other even after spending 12,600 miles in a car together as we traveled the country for 5 1/2 months. A happy marriage, it seems to me, is like a long ride on the road—there is a steady rhythm and harmony of being on the road together. We know that storms and bumps will come and go. Yet, we have a calm confidence knowing we are in this together until the journey ends. When we stop on the journey to look backward or forward we see beauty and wonderment. This trip is a lot like our life together. We are forever grateful because Wherever we look we see far more roses than thorns.
- When I was a young man early in my work career, I expressed no desire to retire. I loved my work (most of the time). When I got to this age I wanted enough money saved that we could afford to retire even if I had no specific intention. Now that I am age 72 and have no wages coming in from employment I have found a way to vacation for nearly six months in very nice accommodations at an affordable price. How did we do that? Here is the secret. You have to have really good friends and family who live in nice places like Blue Hill, Maine, Las Vegas, Nevada, San Diego, San Marcos, Dana Point,Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, California, Portland, Oregon, Seattle and Anacortes, Washington. It also helps to have a son-in-law who owns an island resort and he chooses to put you up for free. So, bottom line, I guess we can afford to retire under these very favorable conditions. Thanks to friends and family who made this journey possible.
- Sandy and I have traveled to all 50 states and on this trip we have spent considerable time in many. We never tire of seeing this beautiful country. Places we recently visited like Schoodic Point or Acadia in Maine, Flagstaff, Arizona, the Grand Canyon area, San Diego, Dana Point, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, California, the Redwoods, the Oregon coast on Highway 101, Orca Island, Guemes Island, Ellenburgh, Washington, Mazama and Winthrop, Washington, Wenatchee National Forest, Chuckanut Highway to the Fairhaven District of Bellingham, Washington, Mount Baker, Washington, Mount Hood, Oregon, the drive through Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Colorado could be revisited without ever tiring of the beauty. God created a beautiful world. Enjoy it.
- The past six months has been spent in self-indulgence. We moved from one beautiful setting with luxury living to the next acknowledging our good fortune, being grateful at times, but for the most part just living it up like we deserved it. On occasion people who struggle entered my consciousness, family, friends and acquaintances who have significant challenges occupied my thoughts for the day. My daily readings or dreaming’s forced me to remember my life is not over. My thoughts reminded me, there is still time to contribute. Easy street is not panacea. Challenges lead to greater satisfaction. One of my daily reading posed this question– “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”Martin Luther King, Jr.
- 5. So, now we are settled back in Saint Louis and begin to regain our routine. Sandy is working out at the YWCA three mornings every week. She then volunteers at the Daughter of Charity food and clothing distribution center in North County. And, she returned to daily Mass at Saint Mary;s Chapel.
I am finding a routine–Golf once or twice per week with Tom and Gerry. Mass at St. Mary’s with Sandy a few times per week. Occasionally, I have a meeting for the YouthBridge Board commitment, for NIFTY, or for Camp Jump Start. I haven’t decided how much I will work for the remainder of this year. But, I have not retired.
6, The family gathering in Breckenridge, Colorado was such a wonderful thing. It was so great to see the family inter-action, friendly comrade, warn embraces, genuine love for each other. It was so entertaining to watch how the younger kids played together and how the older teens showed patience and chipped in to help parents. We had five days together but it leaves us with a lifetime of fond memories and photo’s galore. Thanks to all for making this happen.
7. There is one significant thing that Sandy and I have learned these past six months of travel is — no matter where you live or no matter where you are traveling, your daily thoughts are always about the well-being of your family and friends. We miss them when we are on the road. We can’t get enough of them when we are part of their daily lives.
We will always miss those that we can’t see daily or those that we don’t talk to for weeks or for months. But they remain in our thoughts and prayers. We love them all.