Day 336: Reunions, Relaxation, Refocus and the Smell of Vacation Towels
When I stepped out of the shower this morning and pressed the towel to my face, I breathed in deeply and felt a sense of joy I hadn't in a while. It smelled like vacation. This is our first day in North Conway, NH, taking a much needed respite from the day to day at home, with our current foster kids back home with their parents (a happy ending all around) and, for a time, just me, Linda and our 6 year old son Elias. So, time to head up north and visit Amanda and Joel. Elias is even going to stay with them (we're hoping, as long as he doesn't chicken out) a couple of nights, giving my wife and I even more needed time together alone.
North Conway is one of the prettiest areas in New England. At least right now. So much snow on the mountains, the air is SO clean. Granted, the pandemic has vastly limited the number of people coming up to this tourist destination.
The smell of the towel on my face reminds me of other vacations here. We've owned a week at this place since 1998. More than twenty years. And with all the stress and anxiety of my previous marriage, New Hampshire was (usually, not counting the last couple years) an oasis of happiness. The kids loved it because it meant Zed's and the Five and Dime (aka, toys and candy), Storyland and to a lesser degree Santa's Village. There was hiking (which Amanda usually hated, complaining all the way and ironically turning into a mountain woman in her adulthood). Ben and Jerry's ice cream on a hot day. Coffee at the shops and too much food for breakfast at the Stairway Cafe.
Funny, another aspect of my vacation time in those days, in that old life that comes back to me every time I come up here, is passing churches. Not many Catholic ones around here, but a lot of other, protestant and/or bible-believing churches which I'd yearned to be a part of. Over the years, I learned there's such a dangerous line between the concept of "bible-believing" and "Jesus following" and "fundamentalist" - the latter taking everything literally including the obvious metaphors and imagery and in doing so are pretty miserable people, let alone Christians. So many different flavors. It's taken me years to learn and grow and step carefully through the minefield of hypocrisy, heresy and truth to find a place (literally and figuratively) where the gospel is actually lived out.
I digressed again. Anyway, here's to a time of "away" which too many people are not taking because of caution and fear (all or some of which is valid). I can't seem to escape the idiocy of the human race (look at what happened to Gina Carano) because we have smart phones and are addicted to the "news". But this time is for reunions and relaxation and trying to refocus on what's important. Sometimes that means trying to relearn what IS important, or what should be.