Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga

Friday, May 25, 2012

Home Sweet Home (yet again)

From the looks of this blog, you’d think that I vacation endlessly because: 1) I frequently write about vacationing, and 2) my blog entries are few and far between because I’m either preparing, experiencing, or recuperating from a vacation. And while it’s not true that I’m perpetually on vacation, it is true that I just returned from another.

As glamorous as Hawaii? Well, no. But, like the one in Hawaii, it was an action-packed vacation taken during lovely weather and enjoyed in good company (but this time, other than my husband). At the luau, I was surrounded by beautiful native women and muscle-bound native men. In Ohio, I experienced the same thing. My great nieces are nothing if not gorgeous, and my muscle-bound nephew spends untold hours lifting weights.

If someone asked me what I enjoyed best, I couldn’t say. Was it the visit with one of the lovely couples my husband, kids, and I have vacationed with throughout the past 30 years? How about dinner with a friend who knew my husband before I did? My mini-reunion with high school friends? The family lunch and dinner? Meeting the Amish for the first time? The breakfast with a friend or the tour of the Courthouse provided by another? The time I spent reading my book to appreciative first graders in my cousin’s library? A birthday celebration with a few of my aunts, uncles, and cousins? Watching a great niece wow the audience as she danced and sang her heart out? Holding my 3-month-old great nephew as he cooed and drifted off to sleep? 

Yes, it’s difficult to pinpoint THE highlight, but I do have to expound, as I did in an earlier blog entry, about the delights of getting together with friends I’d grown up with. Last January, four of us met in Nashville and couldn’t stop laughing for two days. This time, eight of us—plus a husband thrown in for good measure—met in Findlay for dinner, followed by dessert at the locally famous ice cream place, Dietsch’s, at which time we ran into a locally—and, apparently, nationally—famous basketball player by the name of Aaron Craft. (Not being a sports fan, I just assumed my friend knew the guy when she gushed, “Hi, Aaron.” I didn’t realize he wasn’t just another guy with whom she was flirting until she gave her husband a pen and said, “Don’t come back until you get his autograph! Get him to sign your t-shirt!” And, yes, it was an OSU t-shirt, and, yes, the husband came back with said signature. Anyway, the evening—and the laughter—continued on the back porch of a friend’s house, and I ended up feeling sorry for any class member who couldn’t join us that evening. 

And the visit with the Amish was eye-opening. My sister, having sponsored many foreign exchange students through the  years, often went to Holmes County to visit the Amish. She knew the area well. We visited the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center where a tour guide explained the heritage of Amish and Mennonite people from their Anabaptist (doubly baptized) beginnings in Zurich, Switzerland in 1525 to the present day via a 10 foot tall, 265 foot long mural-in-the-round. But, more gratifying as a visitor, I was invited into their homes. Through her regular visits, my sister, being the extrovert she is, made special friends. I learned a lot from my brief encounters; for instance, while I understood their primary mode of transportation was horse and buggy, I didn’t know that they could have others transport them. (One family had just returned from an Amtrak trip out west.) I didn’t know that they could get dispensation to obtain electricity under special circumstances—for instance, in the running of a sawmill. I didn’t realize that many of them had beginnings similar to my own. In fact, one of the women recalled her husband’s first encounter with an indoor bathtub—acquired before our own—she couldn’t get him out. (I remember our first tub, and it didn't have a drain.) To tell you the truth, I hadn’t realized that they were more like me than unlike me.

So, anyway, Bonnie’s Excellent Adventure was just that. I can’t answer the question of my favorite highlight adequately, but I can answer this one: Did I look good behind the wheel of the little red, rented Fiat? 

You bet!

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