Sunday, December 4, 2011


The last several weeks of November 2011, have been unusually special for me. This is the first time since 1962 that I haven’t had Thanksgiving with my immediate family. I have traditionally cooked the bird and all the dishes; generally for about ten to fifteen people. Now they, my family, are grown and have set their sails, boxing the compass in their directions, building their lives.

My good friend Joan asked me to spend Thanksgiving with her, her family, and friends in Cincinnati, Ohio. For a couple of months I labored hard around Windsong to leave her in good shape for winter. The leaves have been raked and piled away from the trees that shed them; mostly elderly oaks, some yellow popular and walnut. Select piles destined to be used as soil enriching mulch and some burned, adding to the earthy aroma of fall.  The half a dozen ricks of firewood I split are covered against the elements and neatly stacked for easy access from the house and fireplace. Rye winter grass planted earlier and mowed just a few days ago will hold the ground during winter storms and spring flooding.  The gravel road, slopes down to the creek and then across the sturdy railroad beam bridge, rising to the now dormant orchard and winding out onto the county blacktop, about 1500 feet, lays nicely dressed by the tractor rake for all to see.

 Assured that the Ranch lay turned-out, well groomed and able to fend for herself, I loaded up my Supra Turbo, her powerful engine faithfully maintained over her twenty-three years. She could growl if called upon, instead we used her understated purr to set the pace on the interstates. I eased out onto the county highway, I was ready for this trip; a journey of about six hours of easy listening, running on cruise control for most of the trip. Being a guy, you all do know that the "man-code" won’t allow us guys to stop until we get there.
Fortunately, my gas tank had enough capacity to get me to Joan’s without needing a refueling; some three-hundred and sixty miles. Oh the joy of a large bladder and a nonstop trip.

Still, all who drive this land speak of its beauty; the quilt of pastures, forests, streams, shimmering city spires; and satellite navigation, a guarantee of never being lost. On second thought, I’m not certain that I really want that assurance. The “less traveled road” forever beckons, thank goodness.

Crossing the Ohio River, I turned off the cruise control and wound through the Cincinnati traffic, not all that heavy though. I called Joan on my cell phone to give an update on my ETA.

On my arrival she, being Joan, had a gaggle of activities for us to engage in. I can’t begin to tell you all the boards that Joan sits on, classes she teaches or takes, and the seemingly innumerable “close” friends and family this talented woman has nurtured and sustained over the years; not to mention her personal life style of physical activities; tai chi, endurance swimming, hiking, kayaking, sailing, and on and on; oh yes, and watching copious hours of funky TV in her entertainment center, on her new sixty (yes I said 60) inch flat screen with a Blu-ray DVD player. Joan a very classy lady, is an occupational therapist, patiently tutored me in the mechanics of the remote controls, the bane of my life.