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.