"If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it." ~ John Irving
About family, old Friends, new Friends, and our Roots
The flight back to the US from Rome was uneventful and everything went smoothly. We even got some sleep in between movies and feedings. When we planned our return, six weeks seemed like plenty of time to take care of everything before we started traveling again. We went to our physicians, dentist, and eye doctor for annual check-ups. We ordered new glasses, replaced some of our luggage, shoes and other items , and prepared our taxes. We accomplished the necessary tasks, but it was the fun stuff and visits that we had to put off.
hey say you can’t go home again. That’s true in so many ways. It’s because everything changes, ... you and your “homes”. I guess the trick is to not try, but to accept where you are ... now. Embrace every experience looking forward, not looking back. Then as I looked at my brother experiencing Italy for the first time, I realized that it was different, because things had changed, but it was good. For all of us.
Our friends Rich and Patti drove from Barcelona, Spain to Montpellier to visit us. That meant they had a car. We ate, drank, and enjoyed each other’s company. On the third day of their visit, a road trip to the ancient medieval city of Aigues-Mortes (102 B.C.E.) was called for. This walled town dates back to the 13th century, though people lived here long before.
Long-time friends from Florida visited us in Montpellier recently. We have known Rich and Patti for far longer than I want to calculate. At our last April Fool’s party (40th wedding anniversary), they threatened to come to France and drink wine with us. To our delight, they drove in from Barcelona where they had spent a few days to do just that.
Ah, North Carolina, especially the western mountains. Cool, moist and green. This third leg of our pre-European tour was to the Asheville area of North Carolina to spend time with friends from junior college days and their significant others, and some former neighbors. Of course, both of the guys are named Mark. The best thing about good friends is that regardless of the amount of time that has passed, you pick up where you left off. So it was with the friends on this trip.
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright employed a principle he called “compress and release”. Creating a small space through which one must pass before reaching a larger space, Wright created a sense of tension, followed by a feeling of freedom One author described it as “Sometimes, when we are comfortable in our surroundings, we are not particularly aware of them—it is only when we are made to feel slightly uncomfortable that our senses are peaked enough to truly notice the environment that we are standing in, motivating us to move.” So, we began moving in a rather big way.
Jeannie and I were in Texas to visit family when she fell and broke her wrist. We originally were to have all gotten together south of Saint Augustine in the same condominium that my parents had rented every summer for several years. Several generations of immediate family and relatives would gather at the “Four Winds” condos for a week of sun, fun, food, beach, pool, and fellowship. I always referred to it as FooBeach.