|The little town where I grew up......|
Every morning and every evening, I travel the same road to work.
It's a road that I know very well....I walked those sidewalks--hand-in-hand with my mother as a child, pushing-and-shoving with my sisters, side-by-side with my friends as I was given permission to venture there, accompanying my aunts on little trips, running and jumping with my cousins, arm-in-arm with assorted boyfriends of my youth, wrapped-in-love with my husband-then-boyfriend, stroller-pushing as a young mother and out-for-exercise as a grown woman....
It's a road that has taken me many places, with many people.
Some days, as I zip through the morning traffic, I am completely oblivious to my history on that road.
My mind is preoccupied. The day ahead of me looms. The traffic is making me crazy. I'm running late. My car is making a funny noise. My phone just rang. Someone texted me. What am I making for dinner? What time is that meeting? Why is the driver in front of me going so damn slow?
Even when I am a red light, I might glance here and there but the familiarity and the memories don't flood over me or give me pause to stop and take it all in.
Fifty some years of being on that road.....at least 5 days out of 7.....and I don't have the time or I don't take the time to ponder the fact that my feet and the feet of so many people in my life have walked those same roads.
Then, yesterday happened.
As I was driving into work in the early morning hours...running a little late and wondering what I would face in the day ahead and cursing that the awful noise in my car had returned........out of the corner of my eye....I spotted a face that reminded me that this was my hometown. I don't recall ever really being friends with her. She was in my kindergarten class and my first grade class and probably many other classes. We graduated high school together. I'd see her at the pool. Her hair was cropped close to her head. Her face was the same....although older. Her name is Karen.
Then, a moment later, I saw a woman with long dark hair walking with a cane up the street....as I peered at her....I realized that she was too was a fixture of my young life--at school, at the park and the pool. Although not a friend, her face was a face that I saw so many times over so many years. In my little hometown.
The memories swept over me. And, I was reminded that this road is where much of my life resides....
As a young girl, I remember dancing in the streets on this road at a celebration to commemorate it's repaving.
I would relish going to the "fancy" movie theater.
I would run to get a skyscraper cone from the neighbor lady who worked at Isaly's.
I bought shoes in the shops that used to line the street.
I had my hair cut in salons that were once there.
It's the street I had to cross to make that long journey to high school.
I did bar crawls to raise money for the neighborhood pool.
This is where I would run to buy tickets for the 4th of July car raffle....sure that I would win that year.
It's where my heart still skips a beat each May 1st when I see the sign for that same car raffle....
And, even after I moved to the neighboring community....that road held so many pieces of me....
Twenty-some years ago, one each trip home from work, I would spy my Uncle Lou (my mom's oldest brother), driving home from work. As his face came into view on the other side of the road, I would stretch my neck just to see him....he looked so much like my mother. It always gave me comfort.
For many years, on my way to work, I would see my Uncle Anthony (my mother's youngest brother) taking his morning walk....his long legs, his determined stride. When I could, I'd try to catch his attention.....I always loved to see his smile and enthusiastic wave. It made me happy.
One time, as I was sitting at the light in front of the bank on the way to work, Carmen's cute, fun, wild cousin Anthony ran up to my car and banged on my window.....I rolled down my window....and we chatted...holding up traffic. As people honked and made hand gestures at him, he just waved them on as he casually leaned on my car and acted as though no one else existed. As nervous as I was that someone was going to get out of their car and start fighting with him, I couldn't help but enjoy the banter. It made me laugh.
Both of my Uncles and Anthony are now gone. Those simple memories of our lives intersecting on that road still lives on in my memory.
This morning, as I reflect on this road that has carried me many places during every season of my life, I am trying hard to remind myself that I have to take the time to relish the faces and the places that come into view. I need to stop and recognize that I am fortunate that each and every day I get to travel a road that takes me back to the little town where I grew up.....
Just another reminder that our journeys are forever.....
they are in the faces and the places
As you travel your ROAD today....