We spent the last week camping in Fredricksburg, Virginia. What I take away most is the way in which we become part of a community. Right out of the gates a roving band of square dancers pulled us into the fold and invited us to their monthly dance. I hesitate to tell this story for reasons that seem obvious. Like, don’t give me a hard time for spending a Saturday night with the square dancers. Some of my favorite folks are square dancers.
What was most endearing was Larry of the Larry Squares (because there were four Larry’s in their group) who invited my kids to watch him cut a rug. The Larry Squares have been meeting since the 1970s. As I watched them do-si-do, I did the math and calculated that they have been dancing together since their 30/40s. Since they had babies. Careers. Pre-retirement. Larry shared pictures of his family, his home and his wife. He dances because it helps with memory. None of their children participate, nor their grand children. And still they promenade. For just one evening we spent time in the company of others who could not be more different than we were, doing something we would not choose to do. And it was lovely.
We meet people every day who grace us with their kindness, advice and humanity. We try to do the same for others. We try to do the same for each other. The more we welcome stories and share our own, the better the experience becomes.
Next up: Kitty Hawk and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Orlando, Florida.
We’ve started to experience weather on our trip. There have been multiple nights with freezing temperatures and our first rain in Virginia. But that’s not the only storm we have weathered. I’m always encouraged to post the bright, pretty pictures of our trip. Looking at the beauty of what we’re experiencing is sort of a coping mechanism for what we’re experiencing. When I look at pretty pictures I know there’s a back story. I’ve done enough family photo shoots to know that one picture with eyes open, smile/ no smile, pre-tears is worth a thousand hours. Our family is no exception.
I hope you know we miss home often. We wonder in exasperation why we’re doing whatever it is that day. Everyone has thrown a temper tantrum. Most of us have cried (I’ll let you guess who still has dry eyes although we may push him to the point). We argue. We have the normal navigational “discussions” that happen to husbands and wives across the globe. There have been heels dug, food thrown, feelings hurt and words misunderstood.
We are learning to get past the stormy weather and fixing our eyes on the sun. We are not a perfect, happy go lucky family. But we are scrappers out here on the road, doing what we can to make it work. For every sunny landscape you see, you miss the family at the rest stop gathering themselves. For every close up shot of moss or a rock or a leaf, you don’t see alligator tears or a timeout or a giant dent in the fender of the car. It’s hard to see the forest through the trees, but you just keep driving.