Tuesday at the J.O.Y. (Just Older Youth) Club meeting at church, I have to give a speech. The theme for the meeting is "summer vacations" and "picnics". The grandmothers of the church who are also the best cooks around are to bring food you would have on a picnic. Three people have been asked to "share one of your most memorable vacations". Now, not only am I not retired (just not working right now) but I am barely over 50 and certainly not into my 70's and no way can I cook like these ladies. I still can't figure out why they asked me to talk.
Most of my family vacations as a kid were either to Roanoke, Virginia and one set of grandparents or to the farm in Bible Grove, Illinois and the other grandparents. We went to Niagra Falls when I was eight, the summer before my brother was born (Mom still says that is where he got his booming loud voice), but I don't remember much about it. I did a big science spring break field trip in college, but I doubt these are science people. They probably wouldn't be interested in the Disney World trip Nyssa and I took, no real unusual things happened and basically I was in an obsessively organized state at that time and so was our trip. It went off like clockwork. I even had my garage cleaned out and the floor washed before leaving. (It's what I do before a trip. Vicki could have a field day with this) So, I'm between a trip to Florence, a trip to Linz, Austria and a family trip to Oklahoma. Help!
The Linz trip was wonderful as we saw museums, opera, Vienna, Salzburg and a somber concentration work camp outside of the town, Mounthausen. It has been made into a museum with monuments to those lost there, the quarry still cut into the side of the mountain and the stark appearance of the work/death camp with its two small crematoria in comparison to the magnificent beauty of the surrounding countryside was almost overwhelming. But how can you explain the emotions, and the sadness at the hundreds of photos of those lost there placed on the walls of the underground furnaces by visiting family members over the ensuing years. You just had to be there. I guess that's out.
Then there is Florence. How unbelievable it is to sit and gaze silently at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or view the works of Michelangelo, Lippi, and Botticelli. So much art and music and the motor scooters and the heat. The strange city wide games that consisted of men pitching a round ball to each other, running in a red dirt field, trying to pitch the ball over a padded fence at a certain spot and receiving halves of points in a seemingly total random fashion. It resembled football except for the fact that when a man tackled another, he tried to keep him in the dirt, thus starting a wrestling match component to the game. Occasionally, one man would just sit on another to keep him out of the play. And the chocolate gelato, like no ice cream elsewhere on the face of the earth. No, you really had to be there for this one.
I guess that leaves the trip to Oklahoma. Hmm. Let me think. I'll try to get some ideas together and maybe report back tomorrow morning. It may just do. It has suspense, drama, tragedy and lots of comedy. The older folks seem to really like the comedy; they always start their Sunday School class off with a joke before asking for prayer requests. I guess that is as it should be. Today there were so many out with aches and pains and back trouble and leg trouble and heart trouble that they didn't ask for prayer requests, they just asked those who DIDN'T have any requests and who felt OK to speak up. They would pray for everyone else. Yes, the comedy will do fine.