Monday, July 1, 2013

Standing in Line to Make a Return Trek

My Civil War Buff father takes an annual pilgrimage to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Not only does he not invite me or my brother to come with, every time I’ve tried inviting myself I’m rebuffed, occasionally via sophisticated, roundabout tactics. It could have something to do with what happened the first and last time we joined him, when we chose to spend most of the non-mealtime hours in the air-conditioned hotel room watching MTV instead of scaling the hilly landscape with our parents. That was 15 to 20 years ago. We were children.

When my dad called me to check in yesterday, he sounded drowsily at peace, the way he always sounds while there, by the battlefield. I’m encouraging him to apply to the park’s 2014 Summer Ranger Program, partly for the prospect of securing videotaped footage of him in the hat.

The days of my referring to those who travel to the exact same getaway spot every year (no matter the continent or which body of water it faces) as “boring” aren’t necessarily over. It’s just that I’m now honored to have become a member of this class. If the Zen will not come to me (and it won’t), then I must go to the Zen.

There are a couple of locations where I (my father’s daughter) head to for my own annual jaunts, making sure the two mini-treks are adequately spaced apart from one another, to maximize the joy both jaunts will bring me. I get to monitor how these familiar places have changed over time, even though I’m typically the one who has done the most changing with each return visit. 


  1. It's true, how we change (and sometimes not so much the place) over time. When I was younger, I enjoyed going to some destinations quite immensely and I don't enjoy it as much now... and vice versa! Maybe we grow to like and appreciate different things :)

  2. I seem to have an obsession with picturesque old American mansions and European palaces. After years of longing to see Versailles, when that golden moment finally arrived, I told my husband that "Now I could die," having achieved the #1 on my Bucket List. Lately I've been thinking about Hampton Court Palace outside London. It was Henry VIII's favorite retreat, and his ghost and that of his wives, can be found there. I'm not likely to get there anytime soon. However, the Rockefeller estate of Kykuit is not that far up the Hudson. I think I'll take the train up this summer and visit the ghost of that tough old Robber Baron.

  3. I used to make pilgrimages and it is only circumstances, not desire, that has changed in recent years.
    I always used go enjoy wandering them to find even the smallest change in them whilst at the same time feeling slightly differently each time (due to the changes in me).

  4. I really appreciate this post. It reminds me of why attending family reunions every few years is important to my growth as a person. Every year, I go on several international trips....The last two were to Dubai and to Tokyo. As much as I truly appreciated both of these trips...exploring new cultures and traditions... neither compared to spending time with my family (multiple generations) in a little town in Arkansas.... It is only through the latter, that I truly see my growth as a person.