Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I am not falling behind. I am not falling behind.
I could drive longer. I really could. However, there are little nagging details that keep cropping up like, “You do realize that the kids need to eat more than granola bars and string cheese.” I’m tempted to point out that most of the body’s nutritional needs can, in fact, be met by the combination of Nature Valley Sweet and Salty granola bars and Black Diamond string cheese, but I hold my tongue.
After a little delay that was quickly rectified by AAA (note to self: do not park on an incline when the tank is running low), we hit the road. Destination: Kirtland. At a good friend’s suggestion, we decided on visiting the temple first. It was an informative tour and I think valuable to spend time inside the temple to get a sense of history. It really was an amazing accomplishment and I think I have a better understanding of why it was so difficult for some of the early saints to walk away from all that they had made and experienced in that place.
Historic Kirtland was our next stop. We had two great Sister Missionaries as tour guides who did a fantastic job of drawing the kids into the story of that town. There was a great spirit there, and I was struck by some of the sacrifices made by early members of the church and the readiness with which it was done. The weather was perfect and the time walking (or in James’ case running) around the town was both spiritually and physically refreshing.
After Kirtland, we had an immensely unsatisfying dinner experience at Costco, a place considerably less tempting on a road trip. The advantages of buying in bulk are considerably diminished by space constraints. It was hard to resist the palate of 36 bottles of water for $3.45. It was even harder to find places to cram those bottles.
To keep driving a little longer, we put on our first movie of the trip (Thanks dad for the DVD player loan). I love that one of my kids’ favorite movies of last year was The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Witty dialogue in the background makes the driving so much more bearable.
I have to keep reminding myself that the advantage of the road trip is that nothing’s set in stone. Sure, we do have to be in Salt Lake for conference weekend, but if we fall behind a few hours here or there, it’s not going to make that much of a difference. We really don’t have anywhere we need to be.
I asked the waitress last night, “Where am I?”
She said, “You mean the restaurant?”
“No,” I replied. “This place? Where is the restaurant located?
She paused, which I didn’t take as a good sign, and finally said, “I guess some people would say you’re in Williamsville.”
I didn’t ask what other people would call the place. As we drive across the country, so many of the places we pass through feel like in-between spots. Obviously, they’re homes and destinations for some, I just don’t know who those people are.
There’s a stark beauty to the early spring. Without the leaves, you get a greater sense of the land and its shape. So often, we see images of the Sacred Grove filled with trees laden with greenery, but I think we may have gotten a better sense of what things really looked like that morning Jospeh Smith went out to pray that early spring morning. It was cold and wet and rainy as walked through the Joseph Smith farm, but Liam said as we were leaving the Hill Cummorah, “It’s a real place now.” That’s why we travel—to make the world more real, to make the people who lived before us more tangible.
We’ve been to two Target stores in two days now. It’s hard to describe how eerily comforting that store can be after five years of Zeller’s and Wal-Mart. The spacious aisles, the stocked shelves, and the pleasant demeanor of the employees, it feels like coming home. Today, Julie bought a canvas bag with the store’s logo stitched on it. It may just be the only souvenir she buys on this trip.