I’m late in writing this week, having had a full weekend with Mother’s Day and a Saturday enjoying a wonderful outing in Laguna Beach. So, I’m sneaking in a short blog before dinner, what bloggers call a five-minute post — writing free-form for five- minutes without editing. I promised I’d try it again during a busy schedule, but the notorious typo-queen I am, I can’t promise not editing! Here it goes:
As some of you know, my 19-year old son is on a cross-country adventure with his friend in my husband’s Ford Mercury, one of those old reliable SUVs that haul through miles and years without breaking down. I’m crossing my fingers. They put down the back seat so they have a place to sleep at campgrounds and Walmart shopping centers along the way. I learned that most Walmart’s allow overnight cars in their parking lot. A friend in my Bible study told me about these Walmart pit stops instead of camping, but my son had already scoped it out. Anyway, the point is that I couldn’t bear to have them sleeping in shopping centers more than few times, so arranged for friends and family scattered throughout our vast country, to give these two cross-country bumpkins a shower, meal, and maybe offer doing a load of laundry. They’ve already stayed at my cousin’s house near San Francisco who cooked up a hearty meal on the barbecue, giving them a good night sleep before on to Grandma’s house in Oregon. Of course she treated them like princes, taking them to my son’s favorite hamburger joint, sending them on their way after a good night sleep with a brown bag full with sandwiches, green drinks, and health foodies from my favorite organic food co-op. Next stops: a few Walmart shopping centers (sigh), a friend’s place in Seattle, camping in Yellowstone (awesome), then a stop at my other cousin’s home near Chicago for a homecooked meal and discovering the unexpected joys (and genetic similarities – playfulness, fiestiness) of extended family he never met. They then went on to Battle Creek Michican where a colleague took them on a tour of the city, including a visit to Mr. Kellog’s house (Special-K was my favorite cereal as a girl), out for out for big dinner, putting them up for the night in her 1900’s historical home where they slept between soft sheets, waking to homemade bread and brownies for their drive onward.
Oh yes, and I forgot the story he told me of when they stopped at a cheese shop in Wisconsin, famous for their cheeses, where they nibbled on a variety of fresh cheeses, (trying to save money, they probably considered it lunch), praising the owner for having the most delicious cheese they ever tasted, and sharing that they’re on a cross country trip. As they started driving away, the owner running after them, gave them a huge chunk of cheese as a gift for journey. And oh yes, they had hopped over the border for a quick visit to Vancouver, Canada, where our friend who owns a movie theater had them stop by so he could give them a $100 to stay in a hotel. (Can you imagine it was too late by the time they found a hotel so they stayed in a shopping center somewhere, returning the $100 the next day to the movie theater’s attendant to give back to our friend).
I think of my husband spending hours upon hours at mechanic’s shop in the midst of a busy work schedule, making sure the boys left our driveway with the ole’ Ford in tip-top shape — how he’s a solid rock under the foundation of my son’s life with the endless fatherly love and support he offers wholeheartedly, on-call any hour of the day or night. I think of our friend Bobby, helping the boys secure a cargo carrier he loaned them on the rack on the Ford’s roof, how over the rough spots of these teen years, he’s cheered them on from the sidelines. How boys need positive male role models as they venture into the great wide world of the unknown!
The real point of writing is today is the heartwarming realization that the immense kindness of strangers and loving hospitality of people in our country makes America great. It’s reminding one another of the million points of light coming from gracious, kindhearted people with open wide hearts and doors who are the pulse of our country. This is the America I remember and honor, and grateful my son’s adventure puts the generosity of Americans back into focus. So today, with a tear in my eye, joy in my heart, and ongoing daily prayers, I find solace and humility knowing my son and his buddy rambling through the states in an old Ford, are held, not only by God’s grace, but by the people who make America’s heart beat with love.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. -Hebrews 13:2
Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:31