November has arrived, and with it blue skies and plenty of autumn sunshine. A great majority of the corn and bean fields have been harvested now, leaving empty spaces of brown and khaki. There is a sense of wrapping things up for a while, preparing for the coming cold weather in the days, weeks, and months ahead. All around there seems to be a determination to get everything in its proper place: lawn furniture stored away in the basement; lawnmower cleaned and drained and stowed in the shed; a final application of winterizer/fertilizer on the lawn. No one says much about doing any of this, it seems to be an understood ritual every year about this time. This is November!
I was away for a few days, out in Ohio to visit and reconnect with relatives whom I hadn’t seen in many years. The occasion was an informal get-together on Saturday, and I really wasn’t too sure just how things would go. As it turned out, though, I’m glad I made the trip. The conversations were all about catching-up with each others’ lives and simply enjoying the time together. Perhaps the words spoken by one of my cousins when I first arrived sum up the reality of the occasion best: “We got old!” I never quite thought of it that way, because I’m forever young (in my mind) and still thinking about the things I want to do when I grow up. I thought his words were humorous, but the more I think about them, the more I realize that we did, indeed, “get old!” There was a time that I thought 61 qualified as being old, but one’s perspective certainly changes a bit when one reaches that age!
As I write this, and think back on Saturday’s gathering, I’m glad we had the time and means to be together. For a short time Saturday, I found myself time-traveling back to when we were actually young–11 or 12–and I could not do the math quite well enough to figure out exactly where all those intervening years went. Most of us took very different paths to get to where we are today, but the quality of family love and warmth that we all knew well when we were young was still there on Saturday–all these years later. I miss those days of innocence and sharing with cousins–if only briefly a couple times a year–and the recent get-together will be something I’ll long remember as well.
On the way home yesterday, I avoided the usual drive on the Ohio and Indiana Turnpikes. Instead, I set out on the road that I’ve travelled many times through the years: U.S. Route 30. I will be devoting another Blog post to this very topic, so I’ll just mention it now. As it was with reconnecting with my cousins this past weekend, I was reconnected with a highway that holds many a memory as well. I look forward to sharing many of the memories of that old friend, U.S. Route 30–The Lincoln Highway….MLA