As a child, I discovered the love of reading before I was supposed to. I figured out my father’s name on a prescription bottle. I’ve no idea how I recognized the capital J and T but when Momma confirmed my extrapolation, doors opened.
I read billboards and sale posters. I thrilled to the challenge of sounding out new words and puzzling out new concepts. My parents started buying books for me to devour. I requested books for every gifting occasion–Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Black Beauty, Mrs. Wiggs in the Cabbage Patch, The Boxcar Kids, Greek myths and Pooh stories. Consequently, I excelled at academics but I did not learn to cook.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“You probably want to get married and raise a family?”
“No! I don’t want to get married. I want to go to Europe–maybe France. Maybe I’ll marry a French chef.”
I suppose my childish logic thought that would solve everything. The chef could do the cooking; my longing to see the world I read about would be fulfilled; people could stop asking me what I wanted to do with my life.
I married a man who didn’t cook but he taught me how to cut up a chicken. We took day trips on a motorcycle. Meanwhile, my sister went on a mission trip to Jamaica. She celebrated her retirement by going to Hawaii with her church choir. My mom visited Mexico, California, Florida and Tennessee. My daughter’s fiancé flew her to Paris. After they married, he took her to Hawaii, Singapore and Ohio, where they bought a house. I was so jealous, my tears were green.
A lifetime later, my daughter asked me to visit her expatriated family in Hong Kong. I obtained a passport and I flew. And flew and flew and flew. I went to the zoo in Minneapolis. I rode the trains in China, visited the open markets, ate sweet potato leaves, smelled the sea, saw a statue of Jackie Chan and rode to the top of Mount Victoria. I bought two-dollar postcards in the Tokyo airport. I was a traveler!
About three years ago, I married again. This adorable guy really enjoys travel. He’s taken me on ocean cruises in the Caribbean, flown me to Arizona and Tennessee, driven me to Arkansas and the Alamo and Cripple Creek, Colorado.
I am learning to do what I love. (Ahem: blove.) It all started with a J and a T.