Monday, February 20, 2017
She Travels, But It's All Different Now!
Wyndham's Emerald Grand Resort - Destin, Florida
January, 2016 & February, 2017
When you read this, I’ll be driving home to Tennessee with a stop this evening at the home of friends in western North Carolina. Only fitting, I suppose, that this trip began and ends with friends who have known me for nearly 40 years and without whom, I’m not sure I could’ve managed the last two years. Neither live in my town, but both have been right there in ways that have been major stepping stones in helping me move forward.
Less than a month after Bill died, I got a Facebook message from one of the first couples Bill and I became friends with after we were officially a married couple! They knew about Bill through FB, but it had been years since we’d seen them. The message simply said, “we are in Gatlinburg – we’d love to see you!” I spent a full day with them and learned they were newly retired and planning to travel the country with their Club Wyndham membership. Little did I know how that day would impact my future. They’ve generously included me whenever they’ve been able to secure an upgrade that gave them extra sleeping space and with them, I’ve been to Destin twice, Gatlinburg three times and San Antonio. For that first year, it was perfect because they were going and whether or not I joined them made no difference. At least once, plans were made and as the time grew near, I was going through a rough patch and just didn’t feel capable of making the trip. And that was o.k. – nothing lost anywhere.
Everybody needs friends like these! - February, 2016
Last February, they invited me to come for a week in Destin. I felt I was ready and eagerly accepted. It was a place we’d never been, so it held no memories. I had been feeling twinges of that old gypsy spirit and had spent some time pondering if I would continue with the goals Bill & I had of visiting all the state capitals and all the National Parks. The trip to Destin would take me right through Montgomery, Alabama, a capital we did not have. I did just fine getting there, enjoyed meandering around the grounds and was heading back towards my car when it happened. My toe caught on an uneven concrete sidewalk section and down I went. A freefall that only spared a total face plant because I was able to roll to the side at the last minute. It hurt BAD and a thousand thoughts rolled through my brain, not the least of which was, “you fool, what are you doing here all alone? You are hurt and there is no one here to help you.” There was a good Samaritan who stayed with me until I convinced him I was ok. I didn’t think I was ok, but I was mobile and just wanted to get to my car so I could fall apart. I managed to get to my hotel room and get my arm/elbow and knee on ice which gave me time to think. All I wanted to do was go home. For sure, I had visited my last state capital!! But I didn’t go home – for some reason, the next morning, my car turned south once more and I arrived into the waiting arms of my friends who took care of me all week. I wasn’t much fun – that’s for sure. I was in pain and I was mad. They say we had a good time. I can’t help but think they were just being nice, BUT they have continued to invite me again and again. The pain and the bruising subsided, but I continue to have trouble with my knees and lower back. One year later, I am blaming that fall and will likely begin physical therapy when I return home. I’ve tried everything else.
Alabama State Capital, Montgomery, AL - February, 2016
This is mostly what I did that week in Destin! - February, 2016
Unfortunately, there was a lot of this as well. Best donuts I've ever had!
Destin, FL - February, 2016
(I'm still paying for those transgressions, but have been sugar free since early January)
One year later (last week), we were back in Destin and, ironically, in the same suite we’d had the year before. The place is massive (see above picture) so the chances of that happening were slim and we saw it as a good omen. I see it as a marker of time as a healer and friends as a miracle. We had a wonderful time and I will see them again in April.
As for the state capitals, I was certain that the fall was a sign from above telling me to forget that goal and find a new one. But I love the architecture and beauty of the capitals and don’t want to let it go. Since last year, I’ve visited three more, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi without any further issues! I only lack four east of the Mississippi river – how could I possibly stop now?