Friday, April 20, 2012

A Sense of Adventure

"The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself, 'Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home.' And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure."                      -Thorton Wilder                                                                             

I am on an adventure.

By the time anyone reads this I will be well on my way somewhere on Interstate 95.  It’s a road I could probably drive in my sleep.  Undoubtedly, over the past few months, I think I have. It’s bad when you know the rest stops in New Jersey by their famous names and the particular features that mark them from the “rest”.  I know the one that has feral cats, the one that has an abundance of women’s bathrooms (important when you urgently need to “rest” and a tour bus  just docked) and the one that has free cups for free water.

But rest stops aside, I am on an adventure.

Through genealogical work,  my sister and I found that my great grandmother did not come to the United States alone.  Various genealogical search websites matched her name and her parents' names with a sister who came from the same small County Monaghan town. Both immigrated in 1890 from Ireland to New York City and lived within blocks of one another in the Bronx. 

Maybe they were on an adventure too.

Several weeks ago I was contacted out of the blue by the sister's grandson. He invited me to attend a wedding celebration this weekend in New York.  I have never met this distant cousin.  I know of his relationship through many letters, pictures and pedigree charts that we have exchanged through email in the past year. He and his wife will be driving to New York too.

Maybe they both need an adventure.

True to my more pragmatic self, I will combine the trip with some practical matters that I have to attend to in the New York,/New Jersey area. I have to justify the nearly $125 of gas I will be burning. Wallpaper needs to be taken down, meetings with a drywall contractors have been set up, and an elderly Aunt needs to be checked on.  But I could have done those things any weekend.

This weekend I am on an adventure.

I have no idea what to expect in New York.  My mother’s family was quite distant and no one alive today has ever met this side of the family despite living so closely to them in some Bronx tenement.  Who knows what stories transpired that led to the estrangement.  It’s hard to keep track of who talked to whom so long ago.

But who cares? I am on an adventure.

My bags are packed. Gas tank full. Kids' schedules taken care of.  Cupboards well stocked. Animals well cared for.  IPhone charged. EZ Pass affixed to the windshield. Coffee in one cup holder and water in another.

It beats sitting quietly at home on any given Sunday.

And I am not anticipating such an awful mess….

But who knows?

 I am on an adventure.

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