Bright orange pumpkins, crimson red apples, delicate falling leaves, smoke gently billowing from chimneys and cups of hot cider are all reminders of my favorite season of the year; fall. For many years during my 44-year marriage, it was not only my favored time of the year, but as summer ended and autumn began, I knew my then husband, Charles and I would enjoy some time together.
When our children lived at home Charles didn’t permit annual, family, vacations. However, when our nest was empty, I budgeted money from my income to plan yearly adventures. We preferred not only the brisk chill of the autumn air but savored the beauty of the changing colors of the vibrant trees. It was also a bonus to enjoy the beautiful sights without the bustle and crowds of summer tourists.
As we chose a destination to visit, for months prior to our departure, I delighted in being our travel agent and planner. As I eagerly presented my plans to Charles for his approval, the anticipation of the trip became one of my highlights of the year. Quaint inns and cottages, “off the main path” dining and points of interest were some of my greatest treasures in my memory journal.
Along these paths, pieces of artwork, pottery, lamps and countless other items graced our home as mementos from our journeys. Recently as I placed one of these collected “memories” outdoors for others to enjoy, a neighbor queried me about the location of the purchase.
Even though almost 20 years ago, my heart pounded and my eyes filled with tears, as I so intensely recall the moment of that purchase and the memories of that trip. As with most of the excursions, the routine and stress of our daily lives was laid aside. Never do I walk by one of these keepsakes from those trips without a twinge of sadness in my heart.
Our trips were never finalized until I had made a visit to our local library for a stack of audio books. Whether traveling in our personal car or a rental, I recall countless hours that Charles and I had “driveway moments” while confined to the author’s words. More than one trip was not concluded until we returned home, sitting in a silent house captivated by the conclusion of the book which had drawn us into its’ presence.
Our personal goal had been to visit all 50 U.S. states during our marriage and then return to those destinations we esteemed. We did return to some of our favorite spots during the last few years of our marriage, but never completed visiting all 50 states. Our lives changed when Charles began a new life with a new love. Nonetheless, even though he now travels with another, those trips will remain some of my most cherished recollections. James 1:17 NIV, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.