The trouble with normal.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Hi, we’re back home after a long weekend trip to Ohio and Michigan, an exercise in quality time with my father and Sammy’s parents. Once again, I’ve checked the archives, and my post about our trip this time last year used the same wording: quality time.

This either means my life is becoming way more cyclical and predictable, or that I need to get out and romp in the garden of fresh nouns and adjectives for a while.

I drove up with my father. We took the back way, through Asheville, NC and up U.S. 23 through coal country to Ashland, KY, and then along the Ohio River through Huntington up to Ravenswood, WV (where the Ohio University Post was printed many years ago) and then north up I-77 to old twisty 2-lane U.S. 22, which we followed northeast back to the Ohio River, up by Steubenville and East Liverpool Ohio. From there, we rolled north to Youngstown to spend the evening. The next morning, we did my father’s traditional visit to the town he grew up in, which involves visiting the cemeteries where his parents and grandparents are buried, and playing 9 holes of golf between rainshowers with his childhood friend.

If I have time I’m going to go back through those last sentences and remove half of the ‘up’s. It was a northern trek, though, and although the elevation rises and falls several times during our travels, it feels like an ascent to those states that sit atop the Mason-Dixon line.

Meanwhile, Sammy headed directly north to her parents’ place in central-ish Michigan, and the plan was for Dad and me to head west across Lake Erie to Toledo and then Detroit and then Windsor, Ontario for an hour (where he can get exactly the imported gin he likes). Finally, he was to bring me to Sammy’s family’s place to drop me off and see the Smiths.

I’m pleased to report that complex plan went quite according to plan, and we had a good time with everyone en route, from Dad’s friends (all over 80 years old) to Nancy and Alan (looking good, sprightly, youthful) who we dropped in on before crossing the international border, to Sammy’s mom and dad, who had such a tough end of the year, health-wise at 2006’s close.

Shot some great pictures, celebrated Nick and Manette’s birthday, and then rolled down, down, down I-75, stopping to enjoy the company of Maureen and Billy and young daughter Gillian in Lexington–again, great food and conviviality.

I would, in fact, be even more upbeat relating all of this if I didn’t have to pass on the news (I received this morning) that my very dear and longtime friend Kevyn Burger has taken up blogging theraputically—she’s been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma—yes, that’s breast cancer. I suspect she may have some important things to say about the battle she faces in the days ahead.

So she’s way in my thoughts as we rolled back down home quite safely in our little rental car.

Rental car? Oh, yeah. The day before our trip north even began, our 1996 Honda Civic was stolen out of our driveway. Seems kinda insignificant in the greater context of life here, now.