Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Road Trip

Mom and I often talked about places we would like to see. One day we were doing it again. I said that my ideal trip would be to drive and be able to stop whenever something caught my eye. No timetables, no set destination, just be able to see whatever looked interesting.

Mom said she had always wanted to do that too. She said, "Your father's idea of a trip was to get into the car, point it in that direction, and step on the gas. We would rush to get where we were going in the shortest amount of time possible. Then when we got there he wanted to turn around and go right back home." I remembered that about him.

The more we talked the more we realized that we needed to do this. Mom was retired so all we needed to do was find out when I could get some time off from work. We were going to drive through New England.

It was autumn when we went. Since we were driving to New England we thought the fastest way to get in that direction was to go through Canada to Niagara Falls.

I had not been to Niagara Falls for more than 15 years. Mom had been there a couple of times since then. We had gone as a family when I went.

Everything was different. The only things I recognized was the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum and of course the falls. If you have never been to Niagara Falls please treat yourself and go. My favorite spot is the observation platform right at the place where the water falls over and down. You cannot imagine the quantity of water that falls over in just an instant. It is hypnotizing. And the Maid of the Mist boat ride is a must.

Then we crossed back into the United States. I am unable to tell you what we saw in what order. My little brain does not work that well. So I will just give little bits.

Mom and I are both souvenir buyers. For me that tackier the better. Mom tries to get some little thing that is nice. So in each state we got something for each person we wanted to remember. We wanted them to have something that said which state they were from right on the item. Those things are not always easy to find. A note to retailers... there is a market for those kinds of things.

We intended to share driving duties. For the most part we did. But Mom could not see well to drive after dark and she would get nervous. I was a more experienced driver so I always drove in the evening.

The original plan was that we would find a rest stop or something most nights and just pull over to sleep. We soon realized that we could not get enough rest that way so we stayed in motels instead. It also gave us a chance to rearrange our souvenirs to make room for the new ones.

In the morning we would stop at a drive through donut place and get coffee or tea and some donuts to eat along the way. We usually had a nutritious meal in late afternoon.

We steered around large cities for the most part. We wanted to see the out-of-the-way places.

We saw a sign advertising a candy factory. We had to drive a little farther and turn around in order to find the road that took us there. It was a converted barn and they made all sorts of candy there. I love chocolate. Chocolate covered cherries are my favorite.

Santa used to leave chocolate covered cherries for my mother and me in our stockings. I bought a couple for each of us because they were huge. We each thought of Daddy as we ate them.

The one place we had agreed we wanted to visit was Salem, Massachusetts. It is where the Salem witch trials were held. Mom also wanted to treat me to a lobster dinner because lobster is one of my favorite foods.

Salem is located on the ocean. I did not know that. There is beautiful scenery there.  It is a small town so you can walk almost everywhere. Which is a good thing. There is a little circle of traffic in one spot. It is a complete circle. You must join the circle in order to transfer to a street to take you to where you wish to go. The problem is that once you get on the circle it is almost impossible to get off! What fun.

We visited the Salem Witch Dungeon Museum. You can learn about the Salem witch trials... what caused them, what happened, and why they ended. They even do a re-enactment of the trials. Of course there is a gift shop so you can buy souvenirs.

The House of the Seven Gables is in Salem. It is a gorgeous old house with seven distinct gables. It sits halfway down a short street. At the end of the street is a barrier. I am guessing that it is to keep people from driving right into the ocean. From reading the book written by Nathaniel Hawthorne I did not realize how close it is to the ocean. The House Of The Seven Gables is now a museum with, of course, a small gift shop.

At the other end of the street is another street. On that street is Ye Olde Pepper Companie. It is the oldest candy company in America. It is said that a woman was shipwrecked and arrived in Salem with nothing but her son. The townspeople learned that she knew how to make candy so they gave her a barrel of sugar. The Gibralters she made are said to be the first candies made and sold in America. They also make chocolates and other kinds of candies. It is a small shop but worth the visit.

We also wanted to visit with a witch. After all that is what Salem is famous for. I do not necessarily believe that one person has more sensory powers than another. At the same time I have had some strange things happen to me. I do like to do things like this but it is like going to an amusement park and having someone guess your age. It is all in fun.

Mom had her heart set on seeing the official witch of Salem so we went to her shop. She was out of town and everyone in the shop was busy. We would have to make an appointment. They said we might try one of the other shops.

We went into a tea room that sold amulets and that sort of thing. They also had on site witches. There was a male witch who had a little bit of free time. His name was Sean. He agreed to do a reading.

Mom went first so I wandered around the tea room looking at all the wonderful little treasures. She was in there for quite some time. She told me later some of the things Sean told her. For instance he told her she was satisfied with her life. He did not see her ever in another relationship with a man. She was not wealthy but she would be okay. She was content because she always felt like someone was with her caring for her. She would live a long life... 102 years of age were not out of the question. He did see some respiratory problems that may or may not also involve her heart.

He was so concerned about the respiratory thing that he gave her a stone. He said it had the properties to ease symptoms if she had breathing problems. She should keep it wrapped in silk or some soft material. If she felt discomfort she could take it out of the cloth and hold it to her chest. Mom used that stone for years. then one day she took it out of the cloth and held irt to her chest and the stone shattered in her hand.

When I went in to talk to him he said that I was very different from my friend. Now he had to know we were related because I look a lot like my mother but I let it pass. He said she was like a cool calming stream and a person always felt safe around her. (True) On the other hand I had little lightning bolts shooting out all over the place from my aura. I lived a chaotic life. (Again true)

He told me that he did not see me with anyone in a romantic way and that I would be happier that way. The truth was that I was in a relationship that had died a slow boring death. Before I left on the trip I had decided to end it when I got back. No one but me knew anything about it. Not even the other person involved.

He told me I had the ability to call people to me. That did not surprise me. Throughout my life I would suddenly think of someone I had not seen in a while. Within three days I would see them in person. I was never sure whether I knew they were coming or if they came because I thought of them. Interesting, right?

The spookiest thing was that he then proceeded to describe my children to me! None of my children look like me, they look like their father. He told me what they looked like and a bit about their personalities. He did kind of mix my second son and third son together and while the things were accurate they might not belong to the son he was talking about.

He said he saw a young woman who looked like a fairy. I was so startled. I had never made this connection but my daughter looks like almost every picture I have seen of a fairy. I was a bit muddled when our time was over. And by the way, he did not give me anything. Not fair.

While we were in Salem Mom took me for my lobster dinner. Oh my goodness. They served two whole lobsters along with side dishes. How is anyone supposed to eat that much? I do not remember what Mom had. She was not much of a seafood person.

We saw Plymouth Rock where the pilgrims landed. We drove into Maine where we just pulled trhe car off the road and watched the ocean for a while. We stopped at little out-of-the-way shops and restaurants. We drove to the places that we saw little signs for and looked around.

When we drove through the mountains I was in awe. I have seen mountains before but this was a special time. As I said it was autumn. It was not the peak time for fall colors yet. But oh my goodness. I saw leaves that were colors that they have no name for. It took my breath away.

We drove down through all the states on the east coast of the United States. We had decided to go visit my sister in Kentucky.

We stopped in Culpeper, Virginia, at a nice little cafe. Such nice people there. The food was delicious and they gave generous portions. It was true southern hospitality.

We spent several days at my sister's house. Mom surprised us both by going out one day and renting a place to live. She said she was tired of cold winters. She had tried Florida with our other sister and did not like it there. So Kentucky it was.

Mom and my sister and her boys took me back home. It was the end of a great road trip.

Since Mom was the one who supplied the car this time I told her I would treat for a trip to Washington DC in a couple of years. We were going to go in April so she could see the cherry blossoms. She died in January that year.

But I have that road trip to add to all the other memories I have of my mother. I am so glad we went.


  1. What a great trip and those memories seemed so vivid! We took our first ever trip to Niagara Falls this past Sept and its beauty awed us as well. Of course, we had to take the Maid of the Mist ride. During our several days stay we revisited the falls drom both the US and Canadian sides. We have also taken extended road trips through parts of New England, spending a month in NH and Maine, where we too had lobster dinners! We did not buy souvenirs along the way as our memories were enough and the photos too.

    1. You can appreciate what I told about. It is as outstanding place to visit and drive through.