Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where Did My Vacation Go?

It was a quiet Memorial Day holiday weekend when I realized I needed to write these thoughts. I hadn't written anything while I was on vacation. Can my long anticipated vacation be over already? The last ten days seem to have flown by in the blink of an eye. Now I am back to my work routine and once again living by the clock. Although I am less than thrilled about a return to the sometimes boring day to day activities of my life, I am grateful for last weeks break from the ordinary and the mundane. Most of last week was spent in the vicinity of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee. It was a good time and I enjoyed it. My oldest son, who is Chloe's father, has always had an adventurous nature. Chloe seems to have inherited this trait. She will try anything. During the week she rode on a real pony, flew solo in an airplane at a small amusement park, drove a go kart with her father, and went down the slides in the water park. Watching her ride the plane she appeared to be a four year old Amelia Earhart. In all of these things she showed no fear whatsoever. All of us had some intense moments at the water park one afternoon when a strong storm blew through with lots of hail. Inside the water park the sound was deafening and we wondered if the plexiglass roof would break. When we got back to our cabin, the stream outside my bedroom window had become a rushing torrent of water. Most nights this gentle flow of water lullabied me to sleep. On another day Chloe, her parents, and me drove through an area of the mountains called Cades Cove. Chloe loved it when we saw some deer in the woods only a few feet from our car. Much of the rest of the trip was spent going in and out of the shops and enjoying some great meals in our favorite restaurants. Except for the occasional rain, the weather was beautiful. Normally Gatlinburg is a very crowded place. Although it is still early in the summer, I thought the crowds were sparse. It was easy to get about and we never has to wait more than a few minutes for a table in a restaurant. It would appear that $4.00 a gallon gasoline is affecting some people's summer vacations. In view of this I am grateful I could have a vacation away from home and spend some time with my immediate family. When I got home I had $10 left in my wallet. I need to get back to work.

When I arrived home there was a package on my doorstep. It turned out to be a gift of coffee from Cameroon, Africa sent to me by a young Polish woman and her fiancee who read my daily thoughts. Izabela was a student who lived in America for a while with a couple I met in Gatlinburg a few years ago and now she lives in Africa. Meeting her host family was one of those serendipitous moments when I met two strangers sitting on a public bench in Gatlinburg and we struck up a friendly conversation. We immediately connected and became friends. After a few emails I added them to my daily thoughts list and over time they asked me to add Izabela and others who were scattered around the world. Over the months Izabela and her fiancee picked up on my love of coffee. The richly aromatic coffee came with a wonderful note on a beautifully painted card that read in part "We really hope you will enjoy it and will think of all the people around the world reading your daily thoughts". Thank you, Izabela and David, for the very thoughtful and kind gift. I have been drinking your coffee each morning since I arrived home. It's wonderful and is a great start to my day.

1 comment:

Oberon said...

When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute - and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity. ~Albert Einstein