I think the best journeys are the ones that take you inside yourself as well as exploring the world outside. This journey has certainly done that. Every place I went I left wishing I had stayed longer, had explored more. The places I went without Sue, I wish she had been there.
Goodbyes have been hard. I think they get harder the older we get because life keeps providing ample evidence that it is so fragile and the lines on my face scream out to me that we are mortal. The time spent with family and friends was so wonderful. I am kept awake wondering when or even if I will get to see all of these wonderful people again. Soon I will be packing up my car and heading on the highway home. Sometime tomorrow I will be home.
I have heard some great stories, like how my Grandpa Sloan when he first saw my tall Grandma (then 5'10" in time when everybody was shorter) with a 24" waist looked at her long skirt and wondered how many yards of gingham it took to make such a skirt for her. I also heard about the old home place in Pittsburg, Kansas and the big family dinners there and about how my uncle Sid and uncle Finis used to fight about everything and how all the adults ate in the dining room as the kids ate in the kitchen and how my Grandpa Sloan (who died before I was born) would make pancakes in the morning while also shaving with a razor and a strap. I heard my cousin's tearful accounts of how her loving husband of 57 years died. I felt sorrow at her broken heart over his passing and wish I could do something that could ease her pain.
On this trip I visited with people and saw new places and drank mostly very good wine and chased trains and had adventures and created new memories and shared the memories of others. The best part was spending time with people like Steve, his wonderful wife Luci, their great kids, my super cousins, my friends Leslie and Ed and of course my wife Susie. This journey will stay with me as long as my mind is sharp and I am alive and the memories I have made are ones I will share with many.