Enjoy the Journey

“Stand still,” my husband whispered. “I think I've got it.” I tried not to move, even though something was scratching my feet. I glanced down to see prickly little bushes pressing against my legs. He moved in closer, aimed and clicked, but not quickly enough.  The fickle little orange butterfly fluttered out of the camera's view to another blossom a few feet away. We tried to follow it, but we were waist deep in yellow wild flowers, and losing sight of our feet altogether. “Wait, I told him. Here's another one over here.” Moving only his upper torso, he turned, leaned down close and clicked again. “Got it,” he said triumphantly.

"Stand still," my husband whispered. "I think I’ve got it." I tried not to move, even though something was scratching my feet. I glanced down to see prickly little bushes pressing against my legs. He moved in closer, aimed and clicked, but not quickly enough.  The fickle little orange butterfly fluttered out of the camera’s view to another blossom a few...We were photographing wild flowers and butterflies along the country roads in South Georgia on our way to a family reunion. We could have booked a flight directly into the airport, but we decided to take it slow and enjoy the journey on a 22-hour road trip from Harlingen to Atlanta. Road trips were fun when our children were small, but sometimes they were more interested in the destination than the journey. I remember trying to entertain them with drawing, singing and games, but our conversations were usually centered on three things; “Are we there yet, I gotta go, and he's touching me.”  It took a lot of compromising to keep everyone happy.

When we took our first road trip without them, we had to learn how to compromise with each other.  I liked taking pictures of flowers and my husband liked reading historical markers. The first day of our trip alone, it seemed we read every historical marker along the way from Knoxville, Tennessee to Williamsburg, Virginia.  It was hot and I was sounding a lot like the children with my complaining, “Are we there yet? I gotta go, and do we have to read another historical marker?”

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We finally reached the Jamestown Settlement Living History Museum where America's first permanent English settlement was founded along the James River.  Behind the museum was the James Fort with a self-guided tour through the relics of the first home, the first store, and even the first pulpit and church built in America.  In front of each was a stone marker with a written description on it and my husband read them all aloud. While he was reading, I wandered a few yards away toward the river. I stepped off the grass onto a sidewalk. Beyond the sidewalk were a rope fence and a dark concrete bank sloping gently into the James River, where the three historical merchant ships, used to carry pilgrim passengers and their cargo, were docked.

I thought it would be nice to sit on the bank and dangle my feet in the cool water. I didn't notice the posted sign that read, “Stay on the Sidewalk,” so I stepped over the rope. Instantly, my feet went out from under me and I landed on my back sliding toward the water. I turned over quickly and reached for the rope, but could only stop myself from sliding in by digging my fingers into thick mud on top of the concrete wall. I called out to my husband, but he thought I was behind him and he continued reading the markers to me. After struggling for a while, I pulled myself up.  I could see that my toe was bleeding, my clothes were muddy and I was shaking. When I looked up, I could see him standing reverently in front of the ruins of the Old Church Tower.

A second call didn't get his attention, so I hobbled past the “Stay on the Sidewalk” sign toward him. When I touched him on the back, he began telling me about the courage it must have taken for the pilgrims to come to America. I whimpered.  He turned around and looked incredibly at me.  I told him what happened, showed him my bleeding toe and muddy clothes and asked could we go now. The look on his face was utter disappointment and he asked, “Can we finish the tour first?”

We've traveled many miles together since then.  We continue to stop at important landmarks and read the markers and I try not to wander off.  We also stop to photograph flowers and butterflies and he sometimes takes the camera away from me.  I can't remember all the facts about the places we've visited, nor can I remember all the details of the landmarks in our life, but the journey continues to be the most interesting part of it all.

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Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

Deana Landers has had many roles in life — Pastor’s Wife , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer and Motivational Speaker ... more