Friday, November 29, 2013

The 'right' side of the country

On the road again – but this just a brief jaunt in the East Coast…( no photos this week -sorry... )

(earlier)  Check lists, house sitter in place, dog instructions posted, rides arranged, bags packed…. Checked off, Checked off, Checked off….

Tuesday AM - The alarm sounded its cheery greeting at 3:30 AM – its kind of shocking to see empty freeways… Our neighbor – a college student – drove us to SFO.

In the airport I love the phenomenon of 4-minute communities – waiting in line for coffee we start talking – sharing pieces off our lives… They seem like really nice people – people that I would like to know better… but when we line more forward we separate never to meet again.  I love the meeting and sharing –not the separation

(later) When I look out the airplane window I see snow covered Sierra mountain peaks and valleys – The pilot says we are flying at 33,000 ft. … Well into the stratosphere above air turbulence. 

(later) Below are the geometric squares of Midwest farm fields. One hour to go until Chicago…Patches of snow are visible.

(later) We are startIng the descent into Chicago…After hour an hour in a holding pattern we have permission to land through the dense low clouds.

(later) Chicago airport – thanksgiving crunch has definitely arrived… every seat filled – flight late…  Most notably people here do not dress like San Francisco – people are dressed in heavy coats and wooly caps – thick wintry sweaters…  The sky outside is heavily overcast and it looks cold.  People are wearing more dark colored clothing than I would see in California.

(later)  Landing at Dulles airport in N. Virginia ( near Washington DC ).  The US is strangely uniform in its cultural life for such a large country – but there are differences in dialects, predominant ethnic minorities, names for thing… We quickly find our across town shared-ride shuttle-van that will take us to our destination in Falls Church. 

(later)  Oh my goodness!  The infamous Washington DC going home traffic is close to gridlock!  We sit in our van and watch the cold rain fall around us…The van driver is calm and careful – He is from Guana (W. Africa) .  All the red tail lights reflecting from the wet streets are quite beautiful

The van drops us at the front door of our son and daughter in laws home.  Their house is warm and a good meal is soon served.  So much news and good stories to catch up....A time for hugs and laughter.

Wednesday – Low-key day…Novel experience for a California boy like me ( after all these years I have become one ) to walk down a  suburban street with tall wintery Oaks and Maples towering overhead – bare twigs in the morning sky.  Ice crystals too large to call ‘snow’ are falling.  There is a cold wind blowing that makes my eyes water… After poking around for an hour I am ready to return to a warm room!  Schools have a half day of work today – so we stuck close to home until our son and daughter in law were free…

Thursday – oh the smell and sights of Thanksgiving! – the Turkey cooking in the oven… I cut the apples and my wife Judy made one of her absolutely delicious pies.  Of course all the other traditional dishes also made their appearance. Few things in America are more sectarian than choosing the form of cranberries to be served– To keep peace in the family when we cook at home we have raw cranberries/raw orange, stewed cranberry sauce, canned cranberries!

And the left overs - just as good as the first time around!