Through the past two weeks, twinsie and I carried suitcases to this hotel and that, bags from this antique shop to the car, and carried love in our hearts for everyone we met, except the person who flipped me the bird at mile 2029 for reasons we still don’t understand.
We sang country western music on the hilly streets of Nashville, and carried the hopes of each singer we heard in our hearts as we walked by the bars they sang in. We fed the homeless our doggie bag from breakfast, and he noted with his thanks that we weren’t from there, but he was glad to have met us.
We were blessed to carry amazing memories back from our visits with family, and to hear stories that happened long ago, in a magical time when our grandfather was alive in NYC and we were 1000 miles away in a little country town in the midwest. And our cuzzie spent every weekend with him after our grandma died (Nana to her), it’s a part of life in our family we never knew, didn’t know existed, and here these gems now glittered in our hearts, to be carried on and told to others, so that we can all live in the early 60s wearing smart dresses and spending weekends in Ozone Park, in the borough of Queens if only in our dreams.
We kissed the cheeks of our sweet great-nephew and his momma and daddy in North Carolina, and carried home a secret that we will not tell until they do. And we met my friend in a grand hotel in Luray Virginia, and we laughed until our bellies ached and our faces hurt while birds serenaded us on the great porch where men and women have stood since the mid 1800s looking over Shenandoah Valley, and now those images we carry in our hearts.
Two weeks of hunting in every visible antique shop, and moving from one part of the south to another, until we landed at our little condo for a week on the shore in New Jersey to be with our dad. We drove through three hours of torrential rain in Virginia that still included a stop at a country antique store that is run by a talkative man who lives next door, so when he sees someone drive up, he shuffles over in sandals and black socks, and opens up for us to browse.
By the time we left, the rain swamped around our car, but the bags we carried held items that told stories of a time long ago, and now told a new story of where we found them, and the rain that poured from the sky until it was up to our ankles. Old stories carried gingerly in used brown paper bags that would tear in the dampness if not handled with care.
And we spent hours and hours with our father and our sweet Hedy, and we listened to more of who we are from the man who is our dad, and his great faith, who very often quoted Bible verses that deepened our conversations, and especially, about when our time on earth is finished, and what we will find in heaven — his twin brother, our mother, grandpas and grandmas, friends and loved ones. This is the promise that is made to all of God’s children, that we will meet again. And there is sweet solace in that image, and still a little bit of pain and loss, and yes even fear, that our 90-year-old dad, and his 92-year-old Hedy, will get there before we get to them for another visit, or if Hedy’s precious mind will snare the memory of who we are in the teeth of the trap that is dementia. And it’s a long time to wait to get to heaven or back to the shore.
And now that I’m home, it’s time to carry on, see to the workings of the chocolate shop, get blogs written, refinish a mid-century piece, take long hikes in the doggie park by the flowing brown river, put away my finds, and look around amazed by the memories carried through 3,279.7 miles on the road, over the mountains, at the sea, through the rain, and home again with the best traveling companion a twin could ask for. And we will hold tightly to the gems we gathered on this trip that are told in the stories we share with our loved ones and watch as they sparkle anew.