Friday, November 09, 2012

no more "i love you's"

It's funny how hearing a song can take you right back to a specific moment in time. Today Annie Lennox's No More "I Love You's" came on the radio and I was suddenly driving through some lush and green scenery on my way to Kentucky with my cousin Ann. I lived in Washington, D.C. It was a holiday weekend and I decided that I wanted to go to Lexington, Kentucky to se my dad's grave and headstone — when I had been there last for his funeral at Camp Nelson the headstone wasn't ready or in place. 

Who better to go on a road trip with me but my best buddy and ever-loving cousin Ann? We headed westward, not sure exactly where we would stop on the way, but with a sense of adventure and my car full of CDs. We made some touristy stops at Dinosaurland and the Natural Bridge of Virginia, where she wore her trusty pith helmet as we hiked. West Virginia seemed to go on forever, but we eventually reached Kentucky and checked into the Campbell House, the same hotel where I had stayed during my dad's illness and later, for his funeral. 

Joseph F. Periale - Camp Nelson
At Camp Nelson
Ann at Natural Bridge of Virginia in her trusty pith helmet
Ann in her trusty pith helmet
As we were driving through the area we also had a scary moment when the gravel at the side of a not-very-paved road caused the car to swerve. I was driving, and luckily, instinctively turned the wheel into the spin and was able to get us straightened out fairly quickly so we didn't go see-sawing all over the road. As it was happening Ann grabbed my arm, which was also instinct. She apologized later, "That was the worst thing I could do!" But she hadn't grabbed me hard  it didn't impede my driving. It just showed how we were in this together.

With Ann along for the ride the road trip never took on a sad aspect. It was just a loving and fun experience. We went out for dinner in downtown Lexington, which was a cute, small American city. On the way back we stopped to look at a beautiful old Victorian house which Ann fantasized about buying, but we couldn't really figure out a way she could live so far away from her current life and eke out a living. She was able to satisfy herself instead at a garden center where she purchased a stone statue for her back yard, which we christened "Our Lady of the Back Yard." My little golden Acura Integra hatchback managed to haul it all the way back to Springfield, VA.
Ann makes a decision
Ann mulls an important purchase
Our Lady of the Backyard
Ann and her littlest cousin visit Our Lady

Ann is gone now. She died after battling ovarian cancer, a few years ago. I live in Florida, so Lexington is no longer in driving distance. But I love how Annie Lennox's voice brought me right back to a score of moments that I hadn't exactly forgotten, but were maybe hidden in a corner of my mind. Music is like that.
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