So, I’ve started my vacation. Initially I took this next ten days off to ride my motorcycle to Texas to attend my ships reunion. Instead, due to lack of interest, the reunion was cancelled but being the ever prepared three time toss out of the boy scouts; I’ve had a contingency plan in place. The plan involves crossing off some of the things on my personal bucket list.
Initially, this list was to be completed alone, in solitude without interruption or questions. But now, I seem to have the unique opportunity to share some of these experiences with my offspring. My daughter. The progeny to my mortal life. This opportunity, a once in a life time chance is one that I can’t pass up. So, instead of packing my saddle bags with my own personal belongings, I am now sharing space with my teenage daughter and traveling to the western part of the Commonwealth of Virginia to visit not just Monticello but Poplar Forrest as well. With, time permitting a side trip to Natural Bridge.
My daughter has never seen any of these places and I have only been to Natural Bridge once. It was a weekend of insanity with my wife and at the time one of her best friends. We had a blast. Shopped at a creepy Wal-Mart store and even shared a hotel room together. Over that long weekend we bonded in a manner that normally takes years to build the type of friendship we became. Unfortunately, through time and distance, that friendship slowly died the death of time.
Now, however; I have the chance to not only educate but bond with my own flesh and blood in a manner that rarely presents itself in this day and age for parents. True, it is going to be a road trip without her mother and on a motorcycle. A bike that one experiences major butt sores after ninety minutes of riding but a bonding experience non-the-less. For you see, when you are on a two wheeled vehicle you can’t text, check twitter or even update your facebook feed. All you can do is hang on and enjoy the scenery that is passing by you at the posted speed limit. (That is, if one actually does the posted speed limit.)
While our destination is historical in nature I hope that our journey will be timeless. Not just for me, but for my child. I hope she realizes that the chance to travel to Mr. Jefferson’s summer home and his primary home is the secondary target and that the time spent on the road with me is the actual goal. A goal that I hope has rewards that will send ripples of memories in her latter days when she is old and looks back fondly at her childhood.
Memories like these are fleeting in my own timeline. I have few memories of spending alone time with my parents. One memory, I was traveling with my mother to Milwaukee or maybe it was Chicago airport to make sure an air freight issue was handled. We spoke of flying and my interest in aviation.
Another memory was with my father, he was driving long distance tourist bus excursions and we had been on the road for a week. On the way back to drop off the bus and clean it, he spoke to me as an equal, not a child, not a co-worker, not a subordinate but as someone who had been through all the drunken shit and cleaned up after it as if it meant nothing in the grand scheme of things.
In my life, those are two memories that will always be cherished. I don’t have many memories of one on one time with my folks and those are the two most prominent in my age addled mind. Of course I don’t hold anything against either of my folks, after all, I have three sisters and we all come from a broken home. So what I saw as a child and what I understand as an adult have come to war against each other, my adult mind won the war. I know my folks did the best they could with the time they had and the tools at their disposal in a pre-politically correct world. In their world, they did what they thought was best and followed their instincts. They are not at fault for what misgivings I may have felt as a young adolescent or the slight of attention and lack of understanding I felt at the time.
So, I look forward to this unexpected journey with my only offspring as a great bonding opportunity. I hope she is looking forward to it as much as I am and I hope that she understands how rare of an opportunity this road trip is.
I hope to have future updates by the end of the week.
Be good to each other.