Jenny and I have a conversation that at this point has turned into sort of a joke.
When we’re watching television, if some place that’s amazing comes on, some place that you wouldn’t think anyone could have possibly gone to, some place so exotic and wonderful and enriching and fantastic, some place that we dream about reaching someday …if some place comes on like that…
Jenny will say, “Have you ever gone there?”
And, especially if it’s someplace out West, I can usually respond, “Sure…when I was little..”
It’s kind of a joke….now I tell her that for most of the interesting places we see.
I’ve never traveled outside of the United States, but it’s funny for me to tell her that I have been to the jungles of Cambodia…or the fjords of Norway…or the Deserts of ….wherever all the deserts are….”when I was little”.
It is “deserts”, right? That’s where all the sand is…not the thing with the cherry on top.
My parents took us so many places when I was little…so if the place that we’re seeing is in the Western part of the United States, there’s a good chance that I’ve been there…or somewhere close by.
It happens often enough that it really is kind of funny. How could a little child go so many places?
Surely, the man must be lying.
We traveled a lot when I was young. We were always going from our home in San Jose up to Spokane to see our relatives, going up and down the coast, in to the desert…through Reno and Lake Tahoe, Idaho and Montana…all over the place.
And the thing about it, looking back on it all, is that we really didn’t seem to retrace our steps a lot.
We covered a lot of ground.
The last years of her life…the last 15 or so, really…my mom was a quadriplegic. That sounds like she’d turned into a frog or something. Maybe a less common but more accurate description would be that she couldn’t walk anymore because of a spinal condition. Things were harder for her the last 15 years of her life.
There was a lot more to her than just “being a quadriplegic”.
The only reason I mention that is because, even though it was a lot more awkward to do it, we still traveled.
I remember going all over the place with the wheelchair in the back of the little car. We were still ready for action.
I am very thankful for those memories my parents gave us.
We weren’t poor.
We weren’t rich.
We were somewhere in the middle of the two…probably a little closer to the poor side than the rich side…but never really aware of any lack. If there ever was a lack for anything, I wasn’t aware of it.
I know where my thriftiness comes from, though. My parents didn’t spend money if they didn’t have to.
But we were rich in experiences. That was one thing that my parents weren’t afraid to spend money on.
That’s a great thing for a child to be able to remember… laying in the back of a 1967 Fairlane station wagon, waking up with the lights of a different town shining in the back windows.
That’s one of the best things my parents did for us…give us the experience of travel.
They gave me a chance to say, “Sure….when I was little”…and when I say it, I’m telling the truth.
Now, if I can get a chunk of time away from the Post Office…maybe I can continue the tradition.