My wife Erin and I are in Minneapolis/St. Paul for the second time in two weeks. Two weeks ago we were here for the funeral of a close friend of Erin’s, this week we are here to celebrate the retirement of her uncle after thirty-three years at the Post Office. As we made the five and one half hour drive Wednesday we passed a few RVs, and I started thinking about traveling.
As a child about the only trip we took was to northern Wisconsin for two weeks every Summer. It was about a four and one half hour drive, and I remember that it seemed to take forever to get to our destination. We had to hurry up because we had relaxing to do, and apparently relaxing was full of deadlines. The truth is that I know a lot of people for whom vacation is a highly scheduled, stress-filled event. I can’t do that, although if that is your idea of fun I say more power to you. What I have noticed is that somewhere along the way, somewhere over the last couple of years, I started enjoying the trip as much as the destination. Vacations started when we left home. There is a lot to learn along the way.
One thing I learned two weeks ago, to my great relief, is that the building just north of Madison, WI, with the big “ABS” sign out front is not, as I have feared, an office of the American Bible Society. Rather, it’s the office of the American Beef Society. I don’t really know what the American Beef Society does, but whatever it is I much prefer to much of what comes out of the American Bible Society.
Another thing I have learned is that pets are violating Wisconsin’s ban on smoking in public places by smoking inside rest areas along Interstate 94. You are probably as shocked as I was and, to tell you the truth, it I hadn’t seen in writing I wouldn’t have believed it. There was also a large plaque in this rest area in Menomonee, WI that sad something about World War I. I didn’t have time to read it because the plaque was right near the place outside the building with the above sign where pets are now forced to gather to smoke and I was having trouble breathing because of all of the second-hand pet smoke, but apparently one of the great battles of World War I must have been fought there – just a few miles east of Eau Claire, WI. Who knew?
Of course, I would never have learned all this if I hadn’t taken the time along the way to stop and smell the roses, read the signage, and use the rest room. Vacations really do start the moment you pull out of the driveway, which may have something to do with the fact that I spilled coffee all over myself two blocks from home. Aren’t vacations great?