adventure to remember|
by Peary Perry
assignment, Mr. Perry, if you choose to accept it, is to travel to Baltimore,
then to Washington D.C. Then onto Indianapolis, pick up a load of baby furniture
and drive it back to Texas.|
Sometimes I wonder if I’m just crazy and don’t
know it. I might have mentioned that our oldest son and wife are about to have
their first baby next month. My daughter in law’s sister was down here for the
holidays and mentioned that she had a load of baby clothes, furniture and miscellaneous
stuff that she’d like to get rid of, but it was too bulky to ship down here. I
thought about the situation for about a minute or so and came to the conclusion
that I could kill two birds with one stone. I could convince my oldest friend
that we should fly to Baltimore, go see Gettysburg, then visit all of the museums
in Washington, take a train to Indianapolis, load up the baby stuff and drive
back home. An adventure to be remembered.
That was the plan. It worked
like a charm. Well, most of it anyway.
We flew into Baltimore, got to
Gettysburg with it raining, snowing or so foggy you couldn’t see your hand in
front of your face. If this had been the weather at the time of the battle, no
one would have known who won. The guide told us that there were 1400 monuments
in and around the area. We counted 1406. Just kidding.
I would be doing
the place an injustice to try and describe this battlefield. You must take my
word for it and see it for yourself. It defies description. Enough said.
We then head off to Washington D.C. and try to cram as much as we can in the next
three days. Don’t even think about it. We managed to see most of the Air and Space
Museum, the National Archives, some of the American Museum of History and a number
of parts in between. Looking at Archie Bunkers recliner and George Washington’s
sword in the same day will give you a giant headache. By the time you get to the
plane Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic, you are brain dead and numb all over.
You are a victim of sensory overload. Your brain just can’t absorb anymore at
that time. If someone were to drop the Hope diamond in front of you, you’d just
look at it and think …”another pretty stone…let’s go home.” I found the display
on the history of socks to be fascinating. My feet and legs were crying for relief.
I was looking forward to happy hour back at the hotel.
ourselves silly, we drive back to Baltimore in a blizzard to catch the train,
which takes us back to Washington. Then we experience the agony and defeat of
modern day train travel. If you haven’t been on a train lately, think about it
again. I managed to book a compartment, for two grown men, and our baggage. The
baggage wouldn’t fit, much less the two grown men. I asked the conductor for an
upgrade, if one existed. I got a suite, which allows room for two grown men, and
most of their luggage, but no room to turn around. Take a shower on a moving train…
good luck. You do good to brush your teeth. These things stop about every forty-five
minutes or so, so you wake up all night long each time the train slows down and
stops in a station. Perhaps I’m being too critical, but it seems to me there must
be a better way to run the railroad.
Seventeen hours later we arrive
in Indianapolis and find a taxi stand. The only cab driver on hand was a guy who
obviously had been a pioneer in uncontrolled substances back in the sixties. We
know he was an American and spoke English as we could catch some of the words
such as ‘arrested, jail, and Elvis Presley’. The rest of his monologue is lost
for the ages.
By the time we got the rental van, loaded the baby stuff
up and started back home, we were dead on our feet. Only 1350 miles or so left
to drive. I don’t want to say it was a long trip, but we’d run out of songs to
sing about Memphis and that’s only half way. We were getting very surly and on
each other's nerves. Home was looking much better with each passing mile.
Now that a few days have passed and I’ve gotten rested, it seems a lot better
than it was at the time. Lots of memories, but I’m not in any hurry to do it again
anytime soon. I’d be content to just lie on a beach somewhere and read about socks.
My wife hasn’t said anything, she just smiles.
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From North America
2 , 2005 column