Some readers will remember my view that one of the best flights in the US is the 6am-ish run from Boston to Chicago. Most people who show up for this have been in motion since 3:30 or 4am: getting to the airport, saying NO to seemingly endless offers at the self-check kiosk, shuffling through security, and then waiting, hopefully with some kind of coffee related brew in hand, to board.
Once aboard, no one speaks; most of us sleep. Imagine a silent, silver, cylindrical tube shooting through the air at 37,000 feet. On yesterday’s flight, even going westward in the lee of all this bad weather, we gained time and landed early. It’s a flying, narrow bedroom.
This is the first trip home after Mom’s funeral, and as I expected, it’s been hard to be in the silence. What I didn’t expect was how much snow was on the property. Happily, though, the temperatures have warmed to the balmy 30’s and shoveling out gave us purpose and a sense of achievement. One of the neighbors came to help; we shared a nice chat over the spadefuls we hoisted. Next door’s grandfather ran his pickup into and out of the driveway a few times to knock down some snow. A squad car parked out in front for quite a while, lending a sense of security (unless I had been reported as trespassing….but then again, I was doing the public sidewalk too: surely a public service?!)
And today, while hiking out for those basic supplies we heard about growing up: “Will you pick up some bread and milk on your way home?” I had another surprise. After I got these basics at the gas/winter hat/everything else for sale/corner shop, I decided to walk to the site of the former really big supermarket, now a health food store. It might have bananas, I thought, but no, it didn’t, since these come from Indianapolis (!) BUT what they did have was the soda I thought I would never see again—Blue Sky, and new varieties to boot!
I found Blue Sky in a vending machine in the Desert Museum outside Tucson in October. Resigning myself to never finding one again, here, in MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD, I found this wonderful drink. Now I can look at the snow and still see desert and mountains. I can be lost in time and memory, but then brought forward by a few sips of great flavor. It is very hard to come home and be alone, but in this I realize something much more important than my good tasting sodas. It is that this house is so full of memories and support it can never be empty. Even if all the furnishings were to be dismantled stick by stick and carried out, the house would still be for my family a safe haven, a tower of strength. I have more to think about on this, but I am beginning to understand I have as an inheritance not just bricks and mortar and proceeds of policies and accounts. I have a very strong foundation, one built and fashioned from great love.