Summer vacation - Empty Nest by Curt Swarm


It was 2:00 am.  Even on vacation I get up early.  I just wake up.  I was trying to read my morning meditation.  The words were blurry.  I wiped the tears from my eyes.  The words were still blurry.  I wiped my eyes again.  It didn't help.  Maybe I was going blind or having a stroke?  Oh, no!  I struggled with trying to read the small print from 24-Hours a Day.  I could barely comprehend what was being said, the words were so blurry.  I felt my face.  Yes, I had my glasses on.  I pulled them off and looked at them.  They were my wife's glasses.  Grrr.  In the dark of the motel room, I had grabbed Ginnie's glasses off the night stand.  Well, duh!     
It sort of reminded me of my drinking days.  I was passed out on a bathroom floor.  I came to and couldn't see anything except a little slit of light.  I thought I was going blind.  Then I realized I was looking through the crack under the bathroom door.  I sure am glad I don't drink anymore.
After reading and writing for a couple of hours, I went to the exercise room of the motel and was pleased to see a Peloton Bike.  This was the first motel I had been in that had a Peloton.  I had been wanting to try one, they are so popular now for exercise.  Anywho, I climbed on, got it figured out and had a fairly good 30-minute workout.  Maybe I should buy a Peloton, I was thinking.  They are expensive, but for a low impact workout, they do a pretty good job.  
Later in the day I noticed my ankles were swollen.  What in tarnation?  Did the Peloton Bike cause this, or all the car sitting while vacation driving, or my age (almost 75)?  I text a doctor friend who also works out on a Peloton and asked if ankle swelling could be caused by a Peloton Bike.  His answer was no.  So I will have to keep an eye on the situation.
The swelling went down, but came back up after another long drive.  Sitting in a car seat for long periods is hard on the bod.
At Cade's Cove in the Smoky Mountain National Park, outside of Gatlinburg, TN, beside the foundation of a grist mill, Ginnie and I saw a copperhead snake—two of them actually.  It's the first time I have ever seen a copperhead in the wild.  They were both lethargic and of no danger to tourists, unless stepped on, of course.  I posted a picture of the copperheads on Facebook.  It freaked some people out, others thought the snakes were pretty.  It's all in the eyes of the beholder, like most things.
I saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time while on vacation.  Wonder upon wonders, a rainbow greeted us on the beach.  What a good omen!
The next morning I went for a jog on the beach while Ginnie slept.  The waves rolling in at that time of day were magnificent.  In a moment of glee and excitement I took off my shoes and ran in the sand.  Oh, what a great feeling, the sand and ocean water on my feet.  A wave nearly knocked me over.  Sand crabs skittered to their holes.  I'll be darned if a young man didn't run up to me and asked if I had a cigarette he could bum.  Can you believe it?  While I was jogging!  (Only in the land of tobacco.)   The next morning, Ginnie joined me, walking on the beach while I slow jogged, and I mean slow. 
Ginnie, the navigator, had our whole vacation planned: what route we were going to take, where we were going to stay, what we were going to do, and who we were going to see.  All I had to do was drive, and turn where I was told.  Even I can do that (if I work at it).
People are so friendly in the South.  And everything is lush and green, unlike SE Iowa right now.  I had no idea the South was so heavily forested.  I bought a package of deep-fried peanuts to see what they were like.  (You eat the shell and all.)  It reminded me of a dry stick.  Will I try boiled peanuts?  Nope.
We visited the Wright Brothers National Park at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks.  Just think, from their first flight of 12 seconds on December 17th, 1903, we are now contemplating trips to Mars and beyond.  Wilbur and Orville Wright were bicycle mechanics with little education, but developed the formula for lift.  Most importantly, they didn't give up. 
At Corolla, NC we visited the Wild Horse Museum.  The Outer Banks actually has a small herd of wild horses (mustangs), left behind by the Spanish.  I thought only the Southwest was privy to wild horses.  Nope, again.
Our vacation took us through eight states: Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee (the parallelogram state), North Carolina, and back through Indiana, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Ginnie is actually, “Virginia,” she pointed out.  It was so nice to share this vacation-adventure with someone I love. 
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.

Empty Nest, Curt Swarm, editorial, weekly, opinion, vacation, pen CIty Current


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