Sunday Travels


Monday Morning Musings:

“It is not down in any map; true places never are.”

–Herman Melville

A trip to see my mother,

not the one of birth

but the one in-law

(Is it a human trait to group and classify?)

I think of her as a young girl in Scranton, PA.

she and her sister, and the adventures they had

little girls in braids

roaming the hilly streets

to library, school, and church

playing with their friends

Rock Around the Clock

And Love is a Many Splendored Thing

She fell in love—love of her life–

and became a parent so young,

equal parts excitement and terror

I imagine.

Did she wonder was this what it meant to be an adult?

In less than a year, she’ll be eighty,

not so old anymore,

eighty, it’s the new sixty,

fourscore years

just a blink in the life of the universe

but enough time to build a life—and then some.


We travel through three states: New Jersey, Maryland,

and Pennsylvania,

crossing back and forth over the Mason-Dixon line

I look out the window

verdant rolling hills

goats, horses, and cows grazing contently

in the glistening grassy fields

waves of lavender-colored wildflowers in another field,

it is drizzling, and our daughter needs a bathroom stop,

a typical car trip.


With my brother and sister—also in-law–and their son

we take this other mother of mine to lunch

a belated Mother’s Day celebration,

we laugh at how my husband and his brother,

do the same jog-walk, arms pumping,

we eat sandwiches and French fries

and talk of this and that

we return to her house for dessert

and then the women sit in the living room to talk

while the men and boy go downstairs,

we talk of my daughter’s teaching job,

the play her students performed

the porn site her students discovered


we marvel at how the boy has grown,

his boyhood now shadowed by the man he will become,

taller and broader,

his opinions proclaimed in a deeper voice,

self-assured and absolute with the confidence of youth.


Soon it is time to leave,

back over the Mason-Dixon line

using technology that Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon

could never have imagined,

traveling through a nation that was still a colony

when they surveyed it,

traveling over a line that became more important a century later

for those who sought freedom from slave state to free,

traveling back on highways,

retracing our path home,

through time and space.


Grandmother and granddaughter–both grand!


34 thoughts on “Sunday Travels

  1. So much to enjoy here, Merril. So many possible directions to go. Hmmm. Here’s what remains foremost on my mind:
    How well did your mom-in-law know Joe Biden? THAT really is the only question.

    I love your life. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. I love how your family tree expands and flourishes. Sometime I will have to use the lines about the boy becoming a man. It describes to perfection changes I see in grandson Curtis. Thanks for being poetically warmhearted!

  3. This is such a heartfelt post, Merril. I love how you wrote this, gently carefully unfolding the tale over distance and space. You describe a mother in law, truly understanding her sacrifices of youth to have her child. The brothers “walk style” reminds me of my own two brothers. The photo of the beautiful granddaughter of your mother in law and grandson showing confidence in his thoughts and opinions were extra details creating the total picture of the trip and Mothers Day meal and dessert together. 🙂 ❤

    • Thank you for your very sweet and detailed comment!
      The “walk style” was the source of a bit of laughter starting when my daughter saw her uncle and said that he does that just like Daddy. 🙂

  4. It sounds like a lovely trip. I like the way you described the journey through the different states. It sounds like an area I’m familiar with. And walk styles! It’s how I can tell my husband and youngest son from a distance (when my eyesight isn’t good enough to pick them up by their details). Beautiful photo at the end to go with your beautiful words. 🙂

  5. Merril, you invite us on such rich journey with your family. A microcosm of life with lightheartedness and love intertwined. Lovely! Thank you for sharing your gift with us. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.