They’ve all come to look for America …… Paul Simon
I shared our July travels with you in my last post. It got long and you probably quit reading somewhere around New Jersey. What I didn’t share were the observations I made as we traveled the entire I-95 corridor and beyond. It’s all about the people. Everywhere we went there were people on vacation, people gathering with family, people trying to eek out a living and pursuing their dreams. It made me realize a few things.
Since March 30th when we threw off the lines we have been subtracted from reality, (much to the chagrin of our kids). It has given us time to really observe the people we have met. Much like Paul Simon and his love Kathy on their road trip that inspired him to write America, we find ourselves “playing games with the faces” on our 2018 trip. All along the ICW, all around HHI, and all along our July road trip we have met couples and individuals that make us look at one another and say…that’s a second marriage..they are new boaters…that’s an awesome couple….he’s an engineer…she’s not his wife….they are off the grid…what cool folks…what a crack head… they’re awesome. I could go on and on and on! We have always played this game in airports, bars, and restaraunts. It’s really kind of fun!
Upstate New York, interesting place. It’s not hard to think that all of New York is like the frantic pace of the city (which I love, by the way). But driving from Albany into Cooperstown and arriving at the sweet B and B ,, Cobblescote where I had booked us a room, we parked, walked up to the back porch (because there was no other way in) and were greeted haphazardly by a guy in a tank top saying”McLaughlins?”. We said we were indeed the McLaughlins. He said “You’re in the garden suite, its unlocked. ” and with that he flicked his head toward the out- building that was our suite and walked away. He became our standard for the area. We measured our service for the next few days by the Bruce standard with a chuckle every time.”Oh she went to the Bruce school of hospitality…etc”. The reality of it is Bruce was the real deal. Has a big lake house, rents it to baseball peeps for eight weeks in the summer and enjoys the peace and quiet and his beautiful lake views the rest of the year.
New Jersey, how many images does that bring to mind? Brash, bold, crass, rude?? Not so much for us. Mac and I had to take the rental car back one morning and went into this great diner for breakfast and enjoyed the best service and server we have had in years. He gave us tips and pointers about what to do and what not to do in and around the city. Needless to say we over-tipped. I hate his name has escaped me or I would be giving him a big shout out.
Vermont is where I think we really had our eyes opened. I fully expected tree hugging liberals to be looking down there noses at these low-life Mississippi folks invading there fourth of July week. We found anything but! We were embraced, entertained, instructed, inspired, wined, dined and downright dazzled by the Vermont hospitality. We became fast friends with all the delightful souls that grace the Holly Valley area. I now pray daily for their causes and their cures.
Cleveland, as familiar as it should be to us., was kind of a new horizon this trip since the family home has been sold and we were treated to a new cozy respite at the Merriman’s new home. I have this weird thing about me. I need to be able to picture the people I love in their environment. This trip was great because I now see my sister, her hubby Tim, my niece Kerry, and my brother and sister in law Pat and Pammy where they live and enjoy the adventures of their lives. All’s right with the world.
Bear with me as I get back on track! The one big “take away” from this whole experience comes down to this. I believe we are wasting a great deal of time and energy in this country focusing on what the “talking heads” tell us is important to think about each day. But if you get out there and observe you will see we are not all that different. We all want to be loved by our family, included by our friends, and enjoy some peace in our souls. So, look around America. Stop the bickering. Stop the judging. Hug your kids. Take a ride. Walk a beach. Call your Mom. Watch a sunset. Breathe. ….now maybe we can all get along.