Thursday, December 18, 2008

Through the Looking Glass - Part 1

My friend, Andrea, and I just completed a 2,000-mile jaunt from Martha’s Vineyard to the Ranch, retrieving my belongings from the island. Going to the island at this time of year was not my idea. I’d received a veiled ultimatum through my husband’s attorney, and my parents graciously and generously paid for my trip and expenses, with the hope that they will be able to recoup those costs in divorce court.

My anxiety was high as I prepared for the trip, and I approached my friend, Andrea, to see if she could take time off from her job as a home care nurse to drive my car back to Texas. I expected her to say she could not go. After all, it’s a lot to ask someone to use vacation time from work to drive 2,000 miles. But, she was thrilled to go and didn’t even take time to think about her answer!

I wish I could have had her enthusiasm. But, I had already made this journey once, when I married and hauled all my stuff up to Martha’s Vineyard. (I drove the 26-foot truck that time, too, while my new husband drove my car.) I also hadn’t been back to Martha’s Vineyard in 9 months, and since leaving the island hadn’t been my idea, I was apprehensive about returning.

Many people were praying for us as we embarked on our journey, and those prayers were certainly answered. Our 5:45AM flight to Boston Logan Airport, with a connection through Houston, was quite uneventful.

From Boston, we caught the Peter Pan Bus down to Bourne, Massachusetts, which was a 1 ½-hour ride. We sat in the first row and chatted with the bus driver, John, the entire time. And boy, John sure did like to talk.

We learned that John had been driving commercial vehicles for the past 30 years and that he was “still learning”. I wasn’t sure whether to take comfort from this revelation or not. He was originally from Portugal, which he made us guess. Thankfully, I had ridden with John once or twice before and seemed to recall where he was from. He told us about how he met his wife in the United States, had gone to school here, and how much he loved this country.

John also gave us tips for long-distance driving: 1) take frequent breaks, 2) keep peeled oranges in the car for refreshment, 3) wear loose-fitting shoes or no shoes while driving, and 4) take along a cooler with a washcloth. When tired, wet the washcloth in the cold ice water from the cooler and touch it to your forehead and the inside of both wrists. John was quite a character and kept us thoroughly entertained.

I had previously arranged for a taxi to meet us at the bus stop in Bourne. With long, dark straggly hair, topped with a ski ha, an oversized nose and pasty white wrinkled skin, our cab driver looked like a very old hippie from a Cheech and Chong movie. He drove us over to Colony Moving and Storage in Pocasset, MA (pronounced “Po-CA-sset”, not “PO-ca-sset”, which is how I said it) where we rented the 26-foot Penske Truck.

I encountered a glitch as I tried to pay for the rental truck with my debit card. Apparently, the cost for the rental far exceeded the daily limit on my card. So, I contacted my bank, and they were able to adjust my limit within 15 minutes. Glitch squashed!

Climbing behind the wheel of the monstrous vehicle, I felt the power that comes with sitting up so much higher than the rest of the traffic and listening to the roaring engine crank up. Andrea hopped in and I proceeded to run over a curb making my first turn. My ego quickly became right-sized. Although a twinge of fear about driving the large truck onto the ferry hung in the far reaches of my brain, I tried to remain focused on the road right in front of me. That type of thinking served me well throughout the our journey. After a brief side trip into Wal-Mart to buy Andrea a winter hat, we continued on toward the ferry in Woodshole, MA, and my fears were unfounded as the Steamship Authority workers guided me onto the ferry.

Returning to the island was not easy for me, but I was much stronger emotionally than when I left the island. However, some things never change. As I stepped off the ferry, I could feel my perfectly straightened hair begin to kink just like it always did when I lived on the island. It was quite cool and humid outside.

I followed the directions to Lou and Brenda Dimovich’s home where Andrea and I were invited to stay. Brenda met us at the parking area where we planned to park the moving van overnight. I stepped down from the truck and gave Brenda a big hug. It was an emotional moment for me. I hadn’t seen Brenda in over nine months. When I returned to Texas, Brenda had been visiting her new grandbaby. Her big bear hug was balm to my soul and I began to realize how important it was for me to gain closure with my friends from Martha’s Vineyard.

To be continued…

”Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.”—The Duchess, Alice in Wonderland

“Oh, pooh. I'm not afraid of you. Why, you're nothing but a pack of cards.”—Alice, Alice in Wonderland

Keep on Truckin’, Y’all!

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