The American Experience

Back at work now and unfortunately the vacation seems so distant. Despite a hiccough on the way to St Louis (missed connection in Charlotte, don’t ever fly US Airways), the trip was great.

As planned  we were able to spend about a week in St. Louis visiting friends and Elise’s family there. I got to catch up with Chris now that he is living in the metro area again and I am pretty sure I have convinced him to come visit some time soon. We were able to bring back our old monthly dining tradition with Denise for a one night engagement, and she was nice enough to offer us refuge and her kitchen when we did not want to go out to dinner again with Elise’s dad. It was great to see her as well and we hope to have her visit in 2009 as well.

It wouldn’t be our M.O. to not be terribly productive during vacation, and most of the days found us getting our mother fucking Enron on with destroying a life’s worth of documents we no longer needed.  Many of our personal belongings found a good new home with Chris as well. Tom, the neighbor, was good enough to distract us regularly with requests to go out for a beer. And it wouldn’t be a complete trip to St. Louis without a night out with the guys, this time hitting up The Scottish Arms for a sampling of whisky for a second time after Tom beat them to the punch.

Perhaps there is something inherently temporary about the American mentality. People are more mobile in the US, changes happen much more rapidly, buildings razed and replaced by something more modern and splendid, and the past seemingly always being obliterated by what’s new. In this spirit perhaps, I found myself going through years of papers in my old room at my parents’ house as well. I found documents ranging from lame autobiographies of grade school, to half-assed mythology research projects of middle school, to agonizingly awkward letters passed to me from an old girlfriend between periods of a school day from high school. Remember those? Written on a piece of torn, spiral-bound notebook paper and folded hundreds of times so that it kind of formed a palm-sized parcel? You know the ones I am talking about. Apparently I saved every one of these things.

Sometimes on thinking of the past, those heady days don’t seem that long ago. I suppose just like a person kind of forgets that he needs a haircut sometime as hair grows so slowly, but because it is a part of a person, one doesn’t notice. Similarly such memories are a part of one and always near and close. Only after reading these letters did the vast distance of time become clear. See my post about the future for my further thoughts on such matters.

However it was just like old times with my family. It was great to have a few home-cooked meals by mom and some barbecued chicken from dad. We also cooked for my family up at my aunt’s place one evening, which has sort of become an annual tradition when we visit the family. And of course Easter has always been one of those epic family holidays for us, but mom outdid herself this year by inviting both sides of the family to their home. Apparently on account that she thought that people might want to see me. Although I am vain, I do like to think that they did want to as nearly all of my extended family turned out. And even though grandma and grandpa were not there, the spirit of those large gatherings really did live on I think in some small way that Sunday. All I do know, is that I do not remember feeling that way at a family holiday in a very long time. And I am happy that so many people did turn out for it.

Now to plan the next vacation.

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