For my obituary, I want to be remembered for the small moments which have accumulated to form my life’s mosaic.
Hubby and I married when we were young, and, characteristically, got married over the October holiday so we would have the extra Monday off for our honeymoon in the cape before returning to our jobs. Later that year, while visiting a friend who lived in Hollywood, California, I was chosen to be on the game show “All Star Secrets”, with Bob Eubanks as the host. The premise included a panel of four “stars” and a disclosed secret. The panelists, including me wearing a bright yellow shirt and broad grin, would have to guess which star the secret was about. Having watched the show, I knew that the secret always belonged to the least likely candidate. The winning question was something like “This star always felt awkward as a child and did not socialize well.” The anti-answer was staring me in the face, Jed Allen, a star of the soap opera “The Days of our Lives” who appeared to be very sociable and graceful. Of course, everyone was amazed that a man of his stature had ever felt awkward, and I won the show, which included a fifteen-day trip to five islands of Hawaii and $2600 in cash. It was this trip which Hubby and I used as our honeymoon, and we enjoyed every ocean wave, waterfall, luau, and volcanic tour made available to us.
Traveling the country, which was done as a child, morphed into international travel with my mother after my father passed away. To him, traveling meant driving the Volkswagen van on the small, windy roads across America. To my mother, it meant being on foreign soil truly experiencing a different culture, and I was glad to help her spend her money to do so. (It appears that my father’s cheapness his whole life resulted in a hefty sum left over in their bank account once he passed away.) On our first trip to Guatemala, we stayed in a village inn in Chichicastenango. Although there was no electricity, we were provided a “manservant” who stood outside our door to light the candles and provide heated bath water. My mother and I giggled at the thought of such a thing but did feel safe from the marauders who may have been cavorting outside our windows.
On a later trip to Costa Rica, where we stayed at a non-commercialized resort, we had great fun trying to fit in with the locals who had come to the area for a vacation. Without either of us speaking a word of Spanish, we pointed to the foods we wanted in the Costa Rican buffet, boiled rabbit, gallo pinto (white rice and black beans sauteed in oil with diced onions, sweet peppers, and coriander,) fried plantains, and arroz con pollo, (sauteed rice with shredded chicken and diced vegetables.) On that trip, we went white water rafting, with my mom fully clothed in long pants, socks, sweatshirt, and jacket which became drenched in river. (I have a picture of her looking like a wet rat.)
On a trip to England to get son, Francis settled at Cambridge University, my mother and I stood outside Buckingham Palace, in the rain, and she poked me in the eye with her umbrella, all caught by the camera. This confirmed my previously irrational fear that an umbrella could poke me in the eye. (Fortunately, contrary to my phobia, I did NOT lose an eye.)
I got to travel to Belize with my mom and family, and we almost lost son Steven to the alligators behind the ill-fitting fence meant to contain them at the “zoo”. On a hike up to a shrine in Nicaragua the tour guide warned of impending possible mountain lion attacks. Exhausted on the uphill trail, my mother lamented, “I hope one attacks me just so I can lay down”.
Global travel with my mom defined my adulthood. These enriching, always enjoyable journeys into other countries taught me about the sanctity of life. Seeing that many of the residents we encountered were dirt poor, yet happy and sociable, confirmed that it is not the quantity and quality of possessions that makes one happy.
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