We’ve logged a lot of miles over the past 8 days. I was fortunate enough to accompany my husband on an extended business trip bookended by side trips and family visits. While on the trip, we learned a new word from a commercial: “bizcation.” During the week, he was busy learning and supporting us out in the real world on the “business” end of that word. I, on the other hand, was happy to make the most of the “vacation” portion of the word. It’s quite a different thing to vacation on your own and turn in “reports” of what you’ve seen and done at the end of the day to the one who is usually out experiencing them with you. I’m blessed to be married to someone who was thrilled for me to have that opportunity.
Over the past week, I saw a lot of beautiful country and admired the mostly unsung artistry of the people who design the planting displays on the United States interstate system. (They have done an especially great job of this in North Carolina, by the way.) I met some really kind people (always fun) and slept in several different locations (not always fun). I toured some of the small towns nearby (entertaining) and wholeheartedly entered into the challenge of finding the perfect new pair of shoes for fall (success!) while on my own. I took advantage of not having a set schedule to lose myself in a couple of new-to-me fiction offerings, basked in the gorgeous sunshine and reveled in the sheer luxury of time off without a schedule or the need to accommodate another’s wishes (or the need to do housework!)…it was marvelous.
I love traveling in the South and I was reminded of a few things along the way: free internet service isn’t always reliable (so posting to the blog while traveling was highly entertaining), extremely small towns contain people who still don’t know how to tell you where to find things on their local billboards, people in the south love to be helpful…even when they really aren’t, what qualifies something as an antique varies widely in some locations, Bruster’s still makes fabulous fresh strawberry milkshakes, and man just hasn’t made anything that can come even close to the beauty that God did by simply thinking the Blue Ridge Mountains into existence.
At the end of the week, we were blessed to attend a small local “apple festival” (one of 15 on the same date in the greater Charlotte area —no, I’m not kidding!) and hear my brother-in-law’s new band play some really good God music in the chilled morning air before we were treated to an out-of-body-good dining experience and a fantastic show featuring the music of Billy Joel by Michael Cavanaugh and company along with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. It was incredible!
We completed the trip with an overnight visit to my mother-in-law’s where we rested and caught up on all the local goings-on since our last conversations, ate pretty good Mexican food and were reminded of how far we’ve come since childhood and how far we still have to go. More antiquing and lots of rain were the order of the day for us yesterday and we arrived home late and a bit soggy with the knowledge that it was a really good week full of productive work and wonderful family and “rest” that we will now need to recover from this week along with the confirmation that Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz was right…there’s no place like home.