Friday, December 26, 2008

Collecting people for my boquet...

I'm always interested in other people's pictures of their trips.  Nick's blog and pictures inspired me to remember.   What do they want to capture, what did they experience that you can't capture.  What memories did they make.  Who did they meet that was someone never to be forgotten.  Never ever.  What country stamped their passport? 
 If you go to Israel, some countries won't let you enter theirs.
 Wouldn't it be fun to fill your passport up before it came due?  Whoooaaaaaah!  
I journal when I travel, write down shallow info, impressions and defining moments.   Looking back through them, I can recall the exact experience, moment of tears, connection, or laughter.  It ends up filed in my memory box 'slideshow'. 
Some point and shoot snapshots from my slideshow:   
A mammoth clump of dirt and grass stuck in the bumper of my rental car, after 3 weeks of driving on the wrong side of the road in the wrong side of the car in the U.K.   The stunning rock walls distracted me.

The time in the highlands of Scotland when I exclaimed over the gorgeous doors everywhere one too many times for Amber's finally- weary- of- hearing -it ears, and she despondently said, "I have no response to that".  

Getting disorientated coming into Edinborough, when we stopped for gas, I casually asked a 
fine lad at the next pump, "Which way is north?"  He looked disgusted and replied with a broad Scots accent, "I don't know, I'm not lost, I don't need to know".   Amber would have driven off without me, except I had the keys.  I laughed and laughed and laughed-howled in a very unladylike manner, making me an extremely ugly american woman.   Couldn't help it.  It released a little tension, no high blood pressure.  Amber wouldn't talk with me for a while after.   

In a miniature little town at the border of the highlands-Pitlochry, we were travel weary, cold,
not sure where to go next.  We had just bought a wool scarf each to wrap our necks to protect us from the sour wind, sat down on a bench to think about things and get our bearings.  Both of us a little homesick and weary.  Two of the most precious little old women walked up and offered us  2 fancy cookies called madeleines.  It restored us, this kindness from strangers.  They must have known what we needed.  

A little tiny raisin faced woman in downtown Jerusalem, with a green beret on her head, came up to me out of the blue, hugged me and held both my hands, exclaiming delightedly, rapidly and energetically in a language I couldn't understand about something we should both be so glad about.  Her eyes were lit up and I couldn't help getting just as enthused.  Hugging and kissing her a last time, I had to catch up with my group, but I've never forgotten her eyes.  We'll recognize each other in heaven I think.  How did we know each other?  

At Masada the lesson I carried away was even though they knew the hour and day the fortress was going to be breached by the Romans, they spread a sumptuous feast, enjoyed it, had regular teaching classes for the children and literally 'lived until they died', and chose when to do that and how.    Uncommon courage and valor.  And died rather than betray or kill their brothers who were used to build the ramp that carried the Romans over the wall.  

Meeting Arthur, a gentleman, scholar, storyteller extraordinaire.  He had the heart of a lion, the gentleness of a lamb, the intelligence of his collies.  His hands and eyes were so loving.   His 80 years of life so full that it was squishing out the seams.   He lived!   He really loved!   He let me comb his white silky curls like it was a totally common request.  In one night, he changed our lives forever, his highland peat fire, his completely obedient collies who only obeyed Gaelic, his tea.  Arthur was a highlander, legendary.   He casually gave me a sterling silver 
sugar spoon with holes in it, delicate and artistic and old.  It was his mothers.  Showed me his dead wife's bible.  Dressed Amber up properly with the tartan.  Showed us his (Antique) first 
kilt, that had followed him to war.  Told us the stories that held us spellbound.   During one 
bad fight, they were losing, all his highland lads donned their kilts, which they weren't even supposed to have with them, and suprised the enemy with their wild yells and unexpected apparel, and subdued them in one fell swoop of uncommon courage.  He was so beautiful and distinguished in his full kilt and tartan, which he did just to impress us.  I think I fell in love, with his spirit, his embracing style of life, his yes face, his hospitality and his wisdom.  Craig wasn't jealous, he understood when I told him.  Arthur traveled as a buyer for one of the big 
grocery stores.  Traveled all over the world.  I asked him if he had been faithful to his wife.  
He looked at me so puzzled, and said, "Yea, what would be the point not to have been?"   He 
passionately was disgusted with Princess Diana and couldn't understand our U.S. fascination. 
Arthur is gone now, but he would be on my list of people who changed my life and looked at me with eyes that were delighted with what he saw.   It was a gift.  When he came to Edmonds the year after for a Rick Steves travel workshop week, he called and came over to our house for 
lunch.  Our home was blessed.  I was blessed to meet him.   I hope he had a grand going home party with good music, good 'piping, good whiskey.  Amber and I brought him some from Ireland thinking it would be a treat, he was embarrassed for us picking out 'that paint thinner', then gave us a thimblefull of his hidden stash.    :)   Arthur said if a woman has pearls, she should wear them everyday so they become lustrous from her body oils and fragrance.  He loved women, honored them and respected them, collected them, but it was the purest thing.  He loved his mates, had some with histories together as long as his birth and death.  He spoke so 
well of his men friends, like he couldn't have done without them.   Every summer he and a friend would go cut peat from one of his bogs.  They were dug in strips, dried, then broken in chunks 
for winter fuel.  Made a nice hot fire.....   He told us that the Romans had been there, and he gave me a REAL roman coin, a mite, like the widow's mite in scripture, that they dug up often while digging.    Gave me shivers.   He knew stories of the glen that made me cry buckets-the betrayed hospitality, the betrayed trust.  Glencoe is called the weeping glen, because of it.  He 
made the stories from hundreds of years ago sound like 2 days ago.   His generous style, how he gave so much of himself-meeting him is a bold stroke on my timeline of life......  

The palestinian woman who let me see her and who saw me, we weren't enemies after all, we were women looking deep for a moment into each other's eyes and lives. 

The school children at En Gedi who sang for me when I asked them to.  We were all full.  

The vibrant, beautiful  young boy at Petra who would NOT take no for an answer and pestered me from beginning to end without letup to ride his horse.   I finally had to give to make him happy.  No money was exchanged but by his smile at his success, it would seem I had had given him 1000.00.  Even though I haven't ridden in years and years, I guess I can still sit a horse, for when he smacked it's butt, I stayed on and remembered to clamp with my knees...  We both won!   It was fun.  He offered 20 thousand camels for Debi.....Richard wouldn't take it.  :)   Taught us how to wrap the scarf so just our eyes showed.    When you really see and really look into someone else's eyes, countries, nationalities and borders are torn away.  We're all really the same and just want to connect, give something and take away something.....     





Rhonda said...

What incredible experiences! You have a way of connecting with people and touching their hearts, and then writing about it, that is NOT common. Thanks for this glimpse into these delightful souls!

KoverB said...

I still want to take you and Chris 2 places. It WILL happen! They are book places and we will meet weird bibliophiles like us and not feel alone! :) And you can write about that!