I took a week off. I lost my writer’s muse and struggled to find the inspiration to blog. The other morning, the muse returned. I realized she left because I was sad. It happened the Sunday before Thanksgiving. My husband’s mother — a woman I had grown to love and respect immensely, was laid to rest; her ashes scattered over the Pacific Ocean.
Death is one of those odd things that no one really talks about. We tiptoe around what to say, how to react, the frustrations and sadness and, frankly, the joy. I know that sounds a bit weird, but here’s what I mean.
A funeral is one of those rare events when everyone comes together. The people you rarely see gather to celebrate the life of the person who is gone. There are tears for sure, but there are also plenty of laughs. I can’t remember a funeral in my life where there wasn’t at least one memory that caused a glimmer of joy.
I was reminded of all of that Thursday when laughter replaced the sadness and my muse returned.
Our little neighborhood is fairly isolated and many of our neighbors planned to celebrate Thanksgiving alone (as couples). We invited two of the couples over for a small gathering.
Greg and I spent much of the afternoon and evening Wednesday pulling out the Christmas decorations to give our home a more festive glow before the big feast. Greg even figured out a schedule for all the food so everything would be ready at the same time … IT WORKED!
From the moment everyone arrived, my spirits were lifted. We laughed and shared stories and rejoiced in giving thanks for each other. We sipped champagne cocktails, nibbled on meats and cheeses and relaxed.
We popped into the kitchen on occasion to put the next thing in the oven or prep the next dish. Greg broiled lobster tails and seared gorgeous slabs of steak. I finished off the risotto. Our neighbor Kathleen brought her traditional stuffing. We poured wine in our glasses and hollandaise over our asparagus. We tore off chunks of fresh bread and crunched on fresh salad. We laughed some more. My muse returned.
You may be wondering, what does all of this have to do with travel? I mean, this is supposed to be a travel blog, right? Much of the country stayed home this year on a day that is renowned for packed roadways, crowded airports, and huge family gatherings.
Here’s why it’s about travel. Whether you go across the country or across the street, it’s travel. When you step into someone else’s home, it’s a little like going to a new place. Their things are new and different. Their traditions are slightly (or greatly) different from yours. Their food is not the same as your food. THAT is travel.
So as we enter into the Christmas season and spend less time headed to faraway places, we can be thankful that even in our little COVID bubbles, there are new and exciting things to learn.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Some of it is right across the street.
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