Monday, June 2, 2008

At home in Hagerstown

Due to the wave of storms on Saturday, Brad and I delayed our exit from DC. We took our time loading the truck, shopping for food, and checking out of the community. We road west to Hagerstown, MD, where my dear Uncle George hosted us for the evening. We rolled off the CAT scales and give Uncle George a call to ask about dinner. We opted to go out and rearranged the cab of the truck so I could flip up the middle seat. Cozy and buckled in, we tried Olive Garden. One hour wait. Negative. Uncle George points out a Crazy Horse Steakhouse in a stripmall. Peering at the series of chain restaurant hell in front of me, I shouted, “Yes!” We sat immediately, and were treated to specials of antelope medallions, large mugs of Yeungling, and peanuts.

Our dinner was fantastic as I discussed art and sculpture with Uncle George and Brad. Uncle George wanted to know more about my recent trip to Germany. For Brad, Uncle George and I described the feelings we felt course through our veins as he or I beheld a Vermeer, a Reubens, a Macedonian sculpture. I could have sat there all evening and spoken of the reflection of light off their pearl earring, the gleam of fear in the eyes of the damned in a Reubens, and the deft skill it took to coat a shock of wheat with gold a millennia ago…

We returned home to more chitchat, tall tales, and Hennessey. After smelling the fresh iris that he cut from the garden that morning, I curled into my grandmother’s chair and watched as two of the most important people in my life swapped truck stats and laughed about the restaurant business.

This morning, over eggs and fresh cream for the strawberries, we talked about what plans he had to rearrange the flower beds and plant trees. The conversation topics were not especially provoking but the fact that we felt so at home made each of us feel at ease. Neither Brad nor I felt anxious about our impending drive. From Uncle George’s home, we would embark on a trip of a lifetime.

As I hugged my favorite Uncle, with whom I have built such a friendship in the past five years, tears formed. I was really leaving the east coast, my family, and my world.

Here we go…


The FlyingFish said...

Oh, I so know that impending dread and excitement that goes along with the last good byes and the amazing trek ahead!

ENJOY the trip - you'll never believe that someone is PAYING you to see this wonderful country of ours!!!!!

The good byes are bitter, but the adventure is SWEET!

Just a Girl in a Port said...

What a touching story.