Yesterday was one of those days when I wished I had budgeted more time for the trip. As I did in New York, I woke early so I could see nieces (well, in this case one niece) off to school. Only my siblings’ progeny would cause me to wake so long before sunrise while on vacation.
But, since that niece goes to school in Kentucky (just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati), I added another state to the roster of those visited on this trip (now at 20). Indeed, by the end of the return journey, I’ll have slept in a different state in each of 9 successive nights. (On the way east, a more accelerated voyage, I slept in a different time zone on each of 4 successive nights, losing an hour each way.)
Before meeting my Mom for lunch at a Cincinnati bookstore, my step-sister met me to deliver two necklaces she made especially for my adorable cousins in St. Louis. Those sparkling jewels helped bring out those girls incredible natural beauty. Kelly (my step-sister) does a great job!
Despite roadwork in southern Indiana and horrible traffic (though not by LA standards) on the Indianapolis Beltway (if so they call it), I really enjoyed the drive, still listening to Joseph Ellis‘s course, Patriots: Brotherhood of the American Revolution. His voice remained soporific and I caught several errors, but appreciated this refresher course on our nation’s founding, history which all Americans should know, but with which, alas, too few of us are familiar. By studying the Revoluntionary Era, we might better understand our own nation, its founding principles and the difficulties of establishing a new republic as well as see similarities to our own time.
As I drove across western Indiana and into Illinois (while briefly talking to our occasional co-blogger, John when I could get a cell phone signal), I delighted in the natural beauty of my native Midwest, the spectacular fall foliage, trees in various shades of orange and yellow, with some still green lined up along the Interstate. If I wasn’t rushing to meet my cousins for dinner, I might have stopped to take in this wonder.
In my own wonder at the natural beauty of our native land, I wondered at how the original European settlers first experienced this region two centuries ago and more. As the rays of sun light came down from a layer of darkening clouds, I could see how they felt God had willed this land to them. And this feeling became stronger as the forested landscape opened up to rolling and then increasingly flatter farmland in Illinois.
I had little trouble finding my cousins’ house, then delighted in goofing around with my exceedingly exuberant and energetic cousins. And I did love it when the elder of the two kept referring to me as “uncle.”
Later, as they went to bed, I played Scrabble with my cousin, then had a chance to talk, sharing details of our lives since last we had time we had been together. And yet again, I regretted that I have so little time in each city to visit with family and friends.
He’s out playing tennis now while his wife is helping their elder daughter make a Hallowe’en costume.
Alas, that I need to be back in LA on Tuesday. I wish I could linger longer here as I wish I could have stayed a few more days in my hometown. Soon, once again, I’ll have to deal with the difficulty of saying good-bye as I look forward to seeing a dear aunt in Colorado.