Friday, March 6, 2015

March 6: Booked the Tickets, God's Love Number Seventeen, Fairy Tale Trip

Surprising himself--surprising everybody--Ives had, as he promised, booked the tickets.  All arranged, it seemed a dream, their journey to begin and end in London, and taking them to Ireland, Scotland, and other parts.  They went by rail and by car in September, when the weather was mild.  Interested in the literary ambience, she planned to soak up the atmosphere and allow it to influence her readings of Fielding, Smollett, and Dickens, whose books she brought along.  And she had been working on a children's biography of Dickens, which she hoped Ives might illustrate, so part of their plan was to make like tourists, and the other to go about with sketchbooks and diary, and to absorb the spirit of those places like young students.  They were happy, buoyant--"ghosts," as it were, finally, it seemed, to be left behind them.

Ives takes Annie on this trip, just at the point in their marriage when things seem irrevocably damaged.  After decades of depression, Ives surprises his wife, and everyone else in his life, by booking tickets and hotels.  It's something they dreamed about in their younger days, before the loss of their son.  They wanted to see the world.  Pretend to be expatriates.  Smoke cigarettes in dark, Parisian cafes.  Paint and write until dawn.  That kind of thing.

The last time my wife and I went together on a vacation that required air travel was a trip to New York, three months after the birth of our daughter.  Our daughter is now fourteen years old.  Next year, she'll be a high school freshman.  We've talked about saving up for trips to Walt Disney World and/or Harry Potter World.  We'd like to go back to New York, see some plays, visit Ellis Island.  We simply don't make enough money to "put some aside."

In a couple of weeks, we're going to Madison, Wisconsin, for my daughter's dance competition.  It's going to be over a long weekend.  Leaving on Friday, coming back on Monday.  We'll go to see a movie, maybe.  Hit a nice restaurant to celebrate after my daughter dances.  It will be a lovely time.  I don't know how we're going to finance this journey, but we will.

Tonight, I'm thinking about Hawaii.  My wife and I honeymooned there.  It was the best trip we ever took.  Full of gorgeous ocean sunsets.  Palm trees.  Fresh pineapple.  Coral reefs.  When we left, I vowed to myself that, one day, we'd go back.  I said the same thing when we left New York.  And Walt Disney World.

Travel is wonderful.  Expensive, but wonderful.  But, tonight, what I'm looking forward to most, is putting on my pajamas, curling up on my couch, and reading a book.  My kids are staying at grandma's house tonight.  My wife is working late.  For a few hours, I will be alone.  No obligations.  No crabby patients.  No ringing phones.  It's one of my favorite nights of the week.

And that's God's love number seventeen.  A mini-vacation at home.  Quiet.  Relaxing.  Maybe involving a nap and a piece of cold pizza.

Once upon a time, a farmer named Otis decided to go on a trip to a distant land he'd read about where mermaids sang and nymphs frolicked and fairies granted wishes every day.  Otis packed his donkey and set out, chasing the sunset.

After forty days and nights of travel, Otis met an old woman on the road.  Otis said to the woman, "Ma'am, can you tell me how to get to the land where mermaids sing and nymphs frolic and fairies grant wishes every day?"

The old woman shook her head.  "That place went out of business five years ago."

Otis turned around and went home.

Moral of the story:  always call ahead for reservations.

And Saint Marty lived happily ever after. 

Bring on the mermaids!

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