Getting ThereThursday, June 16, 2011
Many years ago, around 1962 my Uncle Tony offered to send me to the American University in Alexandria. I was to get there by a Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company liner. I was all excited until Gamal Abdel Nasser decided to abolish English as the language of the university. Thus I was saved from the ignominy of not being able to boast that I never and will never board a cruise liner to nowhere.
It was a few years later in 1967 that I was the only passenger on an Argentine merchant marine Victory ship that took me from Puerto Nuevo in Buenos Aires up the coast (stopping in just about every Brazilian port) to Puerto Rico, New Orleans and finally Houston.
Here in Vancouver I am visited now and then by family that has managed to find the money to purchase cruise liner passage to Alaska. I spend a lot of time telling my family that the native folks who live up in Alaska are not Eskimos but prefer to be called Inuit. Both Rosemary and I have not desire to board one of these leviathans and don white slacks, sports shoes and jockey to position to dine at the captain’s table.
Consider that even though we are old enough to have perhaps played that seaborne version of curling, shuffleboard, and that we are aware that even such active sports as golfing are now being offered, we would eschew all such activity and opt for taking a trip that takes us to a definite destination.
This means that I recently “enjoyed” a no meal and no on board film flight to Austin. The point was not the flight (“This is your Captain speaking, please sit back, make yourself comfortable and enjoy your flight.”) but that I was going to an event, in this case my 50th anniversary high school graduation. I was able to suffer the banal ignominy of modern flying thanks to a Vancouver Public Library book of Emily Dickinson’s poetry.
This does not mean that I am willing to assert that the process of getting there is not sometimes almost as important as the Mecca itself.
A case in point is our trip in the beginning of July. Rosemary, my two granddaughters Lauren and Rebecca and I are driving in our Chevrolet Malibu to San Antonio, Texas and from there south to Mike East’s Santa Fe Ranch near Falfurrias (Lynn is a tad closer but Falfurrias has a more exotic sound to it) ).
Rosemary has her misgivings about a 9-year-old and a 13-year-old fighting boredom in a back seat. I plan to have Rebecca share shotgun with Rosemary, but what of Lauren on her booster seat as she is still quite small in size?
Should we drive in a straight diagonal to San Antonio or should we linger in places? Time will tell which we will do.
We are already planning how to circumvent the problem of four people living out of a cart trunk. The Malibu’s trunk is fairly generous but Rosemary requested I trade the “donut” spare tire for a real one so that now the trunk base sticks up a few inches.
Telling Rosemary that this is a trip that the girls will not forget seems not very diplomatic on my part and it just makes Rosemary fret even more. But I am convinced that once on the road the trip will become our little ocean liner full of adventure and with the anticipated pleasure of finally arriving at the Santa Fe Ranch where Letty and Mike will receive us warmly, after all we will be home.