No really, we did.
We were invited to a party (no really, we were) and the ride there! Oh, seventy-some degrees with orange-gold sunlight and we stopped for gas across the street from an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with people everywhere licking ice cream cones and laughing at the tables outside.
For 21 years we've driven past this ice cream shop, but have we ever gone inside? Not yet. Places like this are everywhere in Western New York and maybe we're waiting for the perfect time to visit this one.
Anyway, the party was around 20 miles away, at the home of one of Tom's bosses, and to get there we drove through the outer edge of the town we'd called home for nearly 15 years and well, I'd forgotten there's such a thing as an active world anywhere past 6:30 pm. and with that beautiful late summer sunshine, the memories flooded into my head-- raising Naomi there, chauffeuring her and my own growing-up emotionally there, hundreds of sweet memories tugged at my mouth, making me smile.
And for someone who lived in too many towns as a teen, I'm still delighted at knowing how things looked alongside that stretch of road 20 years ago and being able to note all the differences today and owning memories for both.
About halfway to the party, we stopped at a huge supermarket (whose beginning I still remember) and while Tom went inside to buy a pot of roses as a hostess gift, I sat in the car and watched happy parents and children walk past and recalled why I love where we live. Always the air has felt different, more joyful to me than it ever did out West. Or perhaps that's because I've felt more joyful here. Hmm.
As Tom sat the roses on the floor in back, a man said, "Oh! Your cart was rolling away. Here you go." Tom thanked him and the man said, "You're welcome, my friend."
Truly, I love New York and always I'll thank God for flying us here thousands and thousands of days ago.
The ride took us down the long road which I used to always take to the airport when picking up myriad visitors (or Tom or even Naomi one midnight), a route incredibly out of the way, but sane and beautiful with its old houses and woods and more memories on this night.
The party? Lovely, with three other couples in this beautiful home, all seated around an HGTV-worthy kitchen island, eating h'ordeuvres made by the sweet, young wife, enough to feed a village. We told stories about our past and train rides through corn fields and our children and African adventures and it didn't even matter that Tom's boss calls himself an Atheist. I just silently prayed for him sitting there next to me and listened to his fascinating stories and noted his especial kindness to Tom.
Memorable, mystical night, even though you all know what an introvert I am. Yet we introverts need to mix it up sometimes, to get out, to remember there's a huge world out there who does not go to bed at 8:30, but who gather together to share their homes, their stories and themselves until the moon appears then tiptoes across the inky sky.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ... John 13:34,35