It has been just over four months since we returned from this adventure together. The COVID-19 variant of Omicron appears to be waning, mask mandates and testing requirements are being lifted; and tragically, war has begun in Ukraine.
Sally had relocated from Vermont to Michigan just prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. After a long year of isolation, we three looked forward to Friday night pizza gatherings at Plum Loco where; as previously stated; we would typically share a bottle of wine, a fine homemade pizza, and several rounds of Farkle. Of course, interspersed in those evenings were conversations about idiots, politicians (often one in the same), family, friends, and any topic that might fight its way to the surface. Bill would dish out his not-too-serious insults and Sally would not skip a beat. I began to mark my workweeks looking forward to the standing Friday night invitation to my sister, and the camaraderie we all created together.
Bill and I have always traveled by ourselves, resisting the invitations to travel with others; avoiding the added compromises, potential personality conflicts and/or crisis, that adding others to our bubble might create. We cautioned others to go off by themselves, get to know the locals, be adventurous but don’t take a bunch of your best friends with you. And so it was truly a surprise to me when this plan was hatched. I worried whether or not the new “Team Plum Loco” would still have such good feelings about each other after spending two weeks together…in another country…in the same car, same housing, same everything. Was that really such a good idea? Trust this, I had some anxiety and feelings related to loss of control…somewhat increased and yet tempered, by knowing that at least I would be in control of the vehicle!
As things turned out, this trip was a great experience. I had two people I greatly cherish with me…and I loved it! The highly unusual thing was that I never felt like I was “in the middle” or torn between choosing one or the other. I’m not quite sure how the stars aligned to create such a seamless trio of traveling companions but for this trip…we were…at least from my perspective. The person who has truly loved me most unconditionally, for the longest period of my lifetime is my sister, Sally. She is my “Precious”, one who did her best to protect me from the trolls, orcs, and goblins of life, my cloak of invisibility, and a true source of strength and support throughout. What an incredible blessing it was to craft these memories with her and my darling and most loving, Bill.
Soon Sally will be returning to her beloved Vermont and closer proximity to her children. Our Friday night pizzas will be a thing of the past, and many miles will again separate us. I don’t know what the future holds for our traveling fellowship, but I believe this: though our paths may be parted, our connection with each other will be forever strengthened by this adventure together.
Don’t adventures ever have an end?
I suppose not.
Someone else always has to carry on the story.J.R.R. Tolkien “Lord of the Rings”
Kelly and Sally circa 1965