Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Not so little... to me anyway.

So my folks are on a trip to Washington DC and surrounding Virginia sites. My Mom called the other afternoon from her cell phone while she and my Dad were sitting on George Washington’s porch at Mount Vernon looking out over the Potomac River.

On my youngest sister’s advice, my parents took a boat cruise up the Potomac to Mount Vernon. Turned out to be a great way to visit.

This business of naming of one's house is kinda cool. Wonder what we could come up with for our house here. Like Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Montpelier it should be something sufficiently gracious sounding.
Let's see some translations... I will make it easy.
Just translate "Lake Thirteen House":

Irish = Loch déag teach
Italian = Lago di tredici
French = Manoir du lac treize
Finnish = Järvelle yksikymmentäkolme

Umm... The Italian one is kind of cool... but nah.

Anyway, my parents are having a great time in D.C. Mom said they are getting around just fine on the metro system

and they have visited a zillion museums, memorials, cemeteries etc. I know they planned to go to the White House but I have not heard that story yet and if the got to meet 'the Man' himself.

This morning (Monday) they were going to drive up to Charlottesville, Virginia to 'Monticello' Thomas Jefferson’s home.

Monticello is a little over 100 miles from where they are staying so it is not exactly a hop skip and a jump for them to go there… but if you are close and especially if you are not sure you will be going back any time soon… it is a must.

The visit to Monticello of course was at my urging as I absolutely loved it. I am a big TJ fan though so I might have been a bit biased. I sure hope they enjoy their time there as much as I did.
... did you know he was fluent in five languages and could read seven? Did you know he could play the violin? See what happens with no t.v., internet, and Wii?

Speaking of Monticello I have a souvenir story of sorts. Along with handfuls of postcards, the souvenir that I treated myself to was a terracotta pot looking coffee cup with Jefferson’s quote about being devoted to the garden on it.

I know, I know ...

I go to Monticello and I get a coffee cup?

Well, it was a cheap souvenir and during all those years when it was just myself and my daughter IF we got to travel somewhere I got into the habit of trying to get a very inexpensive souvenir while on our visit. For example, for years I have been getting my daughter squashed pennies:

You have probably seen those touristy machines you put a penny and two quarters in? The penny is squashed by some archaic looking clockwork type machinery while you hand crank it and it imprints a picture onto the penny.

Fifty cents for a smashed penny from the Space Needle, or from Kit Carsons’ house, Bond Falls, or the grand canyon, etc. It's quite a deal!

Now that my daughter is older and has been out of my nest for quite some time, it has kind of become a joke between my daughter and I because I continue to get the pennies for her. In fact I have one in my purse right now from the Kit Carson house in New Mexico that I need to send to her. She just chuckles and rolls her eyes a bit when I hand them to her. When she returns to her home she probably tosses them into some drawer or box that is chock full of these squashed copper discs.

Someday she will show her son this treasure trove and tell him how his goofy granny kept paying 50 cents to smash pennies. Could have just set it on a train track for free! Of course, you get no travel themed imprint when a train smashes a penny and heck whats the point of that!

Anyway, we laugh about it, but both of us know the point of these ‘gifts’ was not so much the actual imprinted penny… the point was that if we were there together, I wanted to get her something to trigger her memory of our time there. If she was not with me when I got the penny, I wanted her to know I was thinking of her while I was there. The item itself was not really so important. It could have been a smashed penny, a postcard, a bookmark. What was important was the memories surrounding the souvenir.

After all, that's the point and the importance of souvenirs is it not?
I thought so.
.. until recently.

So... back to my coffee cup. I have been dragging that admittedly goofy looking coffee cup around since I bought it. Every morning since I got it I used it for my coffee whether we were traveling in the camper or at home. Well… you can probably guess what happened. On our way back from California somewhere in godforsaken-utah-nohumans-dirt-rock-notrees-sand-Mars-land I hopped out of the camper and felt the side of my ChuckTaylors catch something. I watched as my cup flew in slow motion out the door, bouncing off of the step on the side of the truck, only to shatter on impact with the pavement.

I started balling.
Honest I did.

David was truly at a loss. All I could say through the sniffling and crying was “my Thomas Jefferson cup broke!” David probably thought I had lost my mind… but he said he was very sorry that it broke. (...and cautiously watched me out of the corner of his eye for an hour or so to make sure I did not flip out again.) I used a cruddy old plastic cup for my coffee the rest of the way home. Well yesterday, when I was talking to my mom on the phone about their upcoming plans for Monticello, David overheard and got all excited and tapped my leg and told me that I should have her get me another cup from the gift shop and send it out to us and he would reimburse her. I just smiled, shook my head, and finished the conversation with my Mom. I can not tell you how much his offer meant to me and I told him so when I got off the phone.

You see, about 5 minutes after my cup had originally broken I came to my senses. Well maybe more like 10 minutes later. You see I realized I did not need a cup… or anything else really… to remember every single minute of that day. Also, upon reflection, my favorite memory of that day had nothing to do with Thomas Jefferson, or Monticello, or any damned coffee cup. My favorite memory was the fact that David sat with Cosmo and Delta out in the camper for hours in the parking lot at Monticello so that I could go inside. That memory became even much more precious because here we were a few weeks later and he was still thinking about my cup breaking and remembering how upset I was. He was going to try to get me another cup thinking that would make me happy. Its the little things that matter... truly.

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