Time For Some Changes

When this blog began almost two years ago, it was partly an answer to calls from friends who wanted to know about my adventures. It was partly a distraction from a major life change. It was partly an outlet for sharing words and pictures that matter to me.

In the beginning it was mostly about my travels both far from home and in my own backyard. The blog has evolved some. I still tell those stories but occasionally share about other things happening in my world – food, books, Scout, and the random things that turn my head.

Daffodil 2020It’s time for things to shift again, at least for a while. As I type, I’m staring at my hands which are dry and sometimes bloody from the near compulsive hand washing that has become socially acceptable. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day for adventure but there’s nowhere to be. It’s too windy to go outside so when I get up from this desk, it will be to go to another room to perhaps read a book or organize something or maybe just take a nap.

I’m not complaining because I’m safe at home. I’m not a victim of this pandemic but a lucky human who is healthy, who has a safe place to live, and plenty to eat. There are a ton of things to do in this house and one day life will go back to normal.

Meanwhile, plans are on hold or perhaps just cancelled. Book talks and concerts have been postponed. My list of museums, restaurants and junk shops to visit keeps getting longer. I’m looking at small businesses in my community – a riding stable that does guided trail rides, an antique store, and a host of others that I worry for because times are always tough for a small business without having all their customers quarantined. How much can I afford to support these businesses when this is all over?

Plans for my epic summer vacation are now on hold to the degree that I gathered up all the brochures and maps and stuffed them in a drawer. It’s almost too much to hope that I’ll be able to go.

Obviously, I have no new adventures to tell you about right now.

Part of me wants to just live in this quiet world I wake up in every day. And it is quiet. It’s made up mostly of books, music and birdsong. I’m currently working from home so that keeps me busy. Scout entertains me too but there are days I don’t even turn on the tv except to hear the governor give his daily briefing. While others are going stir crazy, trapped in prisons of their own making, I’m perfectly fine. Disappointed about lost adventures, but fine because I know there are better days ahead.

So I’m going to shift things again, just a bit, and hopefully for not too long. When this is all over, I want all of us to be prepared to do something important. For those who can, I want us to go out into the world, boldly and without apology, to do all the things we cannot do today and to support the small businesses that need us more than ever.

Shop. Eat in a restaurant. Stroll through a museum. Fly. Stay in a hotel. Take that guided trail ride. Sit in a crowd of like minded people and listen to beautiful music. There’s so much to see and do. We need to go out and be part of it.

So I’m going to start talking about the places I want to go when this over and then I can tell you more about them after I visit. Someday.

There’s also probably going to be more stuff about what I’m reading, maybe some about music, and a little about what’s going on here in my very small corner of the world. Perhaps by looking more closely at my everyday life I can start to appreciate it more.

Life will return to normal someday and we need to be prepared for that inevitability. We also need to embrace the world we wake up in now because there’s no point in wishing our lives away by waiting for tomorrow.

It’s sort of a tight rope to walk.

Who’s with me? Comment and tell me how you’re coping and what you’re looking forward to doing when this is all over.

Why This Blog Exists

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Peonies on a spring day in Ohio – just because they’re pretty. 

It was a shock to realize the one year anniversary of this blog is just a few weeks away. After all, most new blogs don’t make it past the first year. I started writing here for a couple of reasons. The first is that pictures and stories posted on Facebook prompted friends to request a blog with more in-depth stories.

The other reason Make the Journey Fun was born is that I needed a project at the time. It’s not a secret that 2018 was a transformative year and a period of self exploration. Having this outlet was a healthy part of that process.

Since then, I’ve written about things that interest me and that I hope interest you as well. If you’ve been around for a while you probably know how random the subject matter can be. That’s because I write the kind of stories that I like to read – the bloggers who invite their reader into their home and life and thoughts.

Photographer Jim Grey comes to mind as he mingles stories of his personal life with camera reviews and pictures from his travels on Down the Road. I look forward to his posts every day and have learned a lot about photography as well as the National Road which frequently appears in his storytelling.

The Frugal Girl is another great example of personal storytelling as she shares about her family and their efforts to live responsibly.

Neither of them present themselves as experts in any topic but simply share their thoughts in a pleasant way. In a world of self proclaimed experts and glorified internet trolls, these blogs are like a breath of fresh air.

So I tell the stories that friends sometimes request and stories that I would want to read. And it has been a wonderful experience to do so. Near strangers sometimes strike up a conversation in the grocery store and friends often message with their thoughts. Not to mention the people I’ve met online who have provided insight and even a kind of friendship that wouldn’t have existed had it not been for this space of written word and photos.

It’s been a fun ride and I have absolutely nothing bad to say about it.

In the world of bloggers, the experts measure your success by statistics. I’m honored each time someone subscribes or says they like reading here. However, I measure my success by the great conversations that occur online and in-person rather than by my statistics.

But as the year is winding down, I can’t help but assess the future and whether writing here is the right thing to do. I’m better now than I was a year ago and no longer need this outlet.  Yet, it’s still fun to share here so I’m planning to keep going until it’s not fun anymore or until folks aren’t reading anymore.

Please accept my thanks for bringing me into your world each day and for coming into mine. It’s lovely hearing from so many of you – both in the cyber world and the real world. I appreciate you all! I’m also happy to share observations from my corner of the universe and hope that you sometimes find yourself enlightened, inspired or even encouraged.

Enjoy your day, my friends. Spend it doing something that makes you happy.

 

 

 

 

 

On This Day

On this day in 1984, my maternal grandfather was killed by a drunk driver. His name was Burgess Wogan.  I was very small and have only the vaguest memories of him but I grew up hearing stories about what a wonderful person he was. He was a minister and, as far as I can tell, his death was a terrible loss to the world.

Several years ago I wrote something, fiction based on fact, I suppose. It has a number of flaws but my mother likes it and it seems like a good time to share.

My grandmother lived with my parents during her final days. They still have some of her things, including her Bible next to this portrait on her dresser.

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The Preacher

The preacher’s hands were weathered but gentle. In them he carried a Bible, an aging book whose leather binding was worn from use.

His flock revered him. His family adored him. His colleagues respected him. He was reputed to always do the right thing, to listen with an attentive ear and to reply with an understanding kindness.

He walked tall and proud, his preacher’s suits hanging neatly from his tall frame. People looked forward to his visits and to his sermons. He was said to have a way about him, unlike most preachers of his day. When he spoke, people wanted to listen and craved his approval.

In fact, it seems the whole world was a better place whenever the country preacher with the quiet smile was in the room.

He loved to watch westerns on tv but didn’t own a television set. He said he would never get anything done if he had his own. The preacher instilled in his family a love of music and singing, playing a pump organ with a zeal that more than compensated for any deficiencies in skill. He drove a wood sided station wagon that was part automobile and part freight train. It was in this vehicle that the preacher drew his last breath.

He had worked in a number of professions, running a hardware store for a while and even working as a school bus mechanic. He simply did what he could do to support his wife and ten children. There were bumps along the way, moving to many new churches in his career and working to compensate for the dilemma that there was never enough money to go around. But he was a good provider and he was proud of all his children and grandchildren who seemed to grow in the blink of an eye.

He left his book lined study, kissed his wife goodbye and patted their little dog on the head that day, venturing out into the July heat in his preacher’s suit. They were not accompanying him on this journey, a two hour drive to a little church where he would fill in for a pastor friend for just one night. Little did he know that the scrappy little dog that loved ice cream and sugar cookies would be euthanized just two weeks later because no one but the preacher could manage her.

Later that night, after a powerful service in the little church, he placed his Bible on the seat beside him and set out on his journey. No one knew why he chose the road he took. There were two to choose from and the one he selected, while more direct to his destination, was curvy and challenging to drive.

Navigating his freight train like car through the summer night, he topped an embankment and in a split second saw a flash of light and then darkness.

He had no time to understand the flash of headlights, the bright lights of a sports car that crossed the center line when its driver, too intoxicated to drive, lost control of his vehicle.

He did not know that the boys in the car were coming from a much different place in life than he had left. When he departed the little country church filled with the music of angels and the words of God, the boys in that car were leaving a rock concert where the temptations of drugs and beer were too great to resist.

His last breath came long before other motorists arrived. He did not see the first responders extinguish the flames in his engine or attempt to find a rhythm in his lifeless heart, a heart that once had beat strong and steady to match his love for life, family and God.

But the first responders missed something too. They missed the preacher as he reached to his right to pick up that old Bible. They missed the way he rose from the brown leather bench seat of the station wagon and walked down the highway, brushing off his suit and straightening his tie as he went.

In their frenzy to save the lives of the young men who had stolen years from the aging but vibrant preacher, the rescue workers did not notice how a bright sun cut through the otherwise dark night, beckoning the preacher to his new destination.

This new road was much more beautiful than any the preacher had traveled in all his life’s journeys and there were no more bumps along the way.