Gonna take a Sentimental Journey,
Gonna set my heart at ease.
Gonna make a Sentimental Journey,
to renew old memories.
Liz and I are off tomorrow for a fairly lengthy road trip (totaling almost 5000 miles) to my "second home" in New England, and then to my first home in Kentucky. "Sentimental Journey" says it all: will see my children grown up and now raising (beautifully, I might add) kids of their own; several of my old places of employment (schools and my upstate NY feed and grain store); friends and relatives I've not visited in several years (several longer than that); homes that my family and I lived in, enjoyed, and where I damned near crippled myself doing various tasks associated with carpentry, plumbing, and animal husbandry in Madison, CT. and Lake Luzerne, NY.; the home where I grew up (sorta) in Louisville, KY., the 1 acre front yard where I learned that professional sports were not to be my destiny; then there's my basketball court where I decided that Adolph Rupp was not going to recruit me to play at UK; the primary and secondary schools where I learned that some important-to-me people valued brainpower more than good looks or money; the city parks where I fumblingly learned to smooch; the church I attended and where I began my still unfinished spiritual quest.
I will visit with my sister who has been my best friend since I was 10 and she was 7 when we formed a bond (to survive parental pressure to be perfect) which has lasted more than a half century, and will laugh and joke with her husband, a new friend.
I will also take a trip to two cemeteries, the first in Pineville, KY, a tiny town in the coal-bearing mountains of Cumberland Gap, where my mother was raised and where her parents, the Stone family, several of mom's seven brothers and sisters, and many of my cousins are buried. The cemetery, located on the steep side of a south-facing mountain which was once overgrown with buckeye trees, maples, walnuts, ash, poplar, beech, shagbark hickory, flowering dog woods, laurel, azaleas, ginseng, beebalm and sweet birch, is now carefully mowed and, tipping its hat to twentieth century culture, appropriately overlooks a McDonalds at the bottom of the entrance driveway.
The second cemetery is in Louisville, a nationally renown garden masterpiece, beautifully planted with ornamentals, full of expensively carved memorial statuary with grounds maintained like a golf course, populated by living wildlife--ducks and geese and cardinals and jays and a million squirrels-- and featuring the last resting places of such non-living dignitaries as George Rogers Clark and Colonel Harland Sanders (finger lickin' good). Also buried there are three generations of Johnsons including my great grandmother, my grand parents (both named Johnson when they married ), my dad and his three brothers, and several of their spouses. Just being there walks me through veritable minefield of recollection and memories, many wonderful, some hurtful.
Both cemetery settings remind me of the consequences of being a middle class, Southern W.A.S.P. I shoild have "had it made, right? So Doris Day's song poses an interesting question: "why did I decide to roam?" I've begun to frame some answers to this question over the years, and will try to refine and clarify my thinking while I'm on my trip.
So, more later on this topic.
Meanwhile I am looking forward to a car ride through the heartland of agricultural America during the spring planting and birthing season. Will report later on what I see, hear, smell, feel and think about all of this. Promises to be sentimental journey for sure!
A welcome to readers
As a resident of this planet for more than four fifths of a century, I have enjoyed both successes and disappointments in a wide variety of vocations, avocations, and life experiences. This blog satisfies my desire to share some thoughts and observations--trenchant and prosaic--with those who are searching for diversions which are interesting, poignant and occasionally funny. I also plan to share recommendations about good/great movies I've watched and books and articles which I've found particularly mind-opening, entertaining, instructive. In addition, I can't pass up the opportunity to reflect publicly on how I am experiencing the so-called Golden Years. Write anytime: