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Another Day in the Country

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

© Another Day in the Country

By the time I got back from California and the woes of having flights canceled and rerouted, I decided I’d had my fill of traveling in winter. I was going to stay put for a while. 

Before the pandemic hit, we’d scheduled a trip with the family to Hawaii. We waited until the last minute to see the lay of the land and then finally had to cancel. Those miles have been niggling at me. “When are you going to reschedule?” they say.

My daughter solved that at Thanksgiving. She saw trips to Hawaii on special discount, and rescheduled for late in January.

I was remembering when we last had been to Hawaii. It was 2005, in January. There was a big cold snap in our absence — an ice storm — and we felt pretty smug sitting on a beach in Hawaii and hearing about it. We were very glad to be far, far, away.

But years have gone by, and I was itching to see Hawaii again — to go to the market, watch the hula shows, have some pineapple sherbet, and lie on the beach in the warm sunlight. The most fun was going to be introducing my grandson to these delights.

Once we made the reservations again, those visions of warm sunlight and pineapple sherbet kept me going as the battle with the virus kept escalating — especially in Marion County.

After driving home from the airport while snow came down and drifted across country roads a couple of weeks ago, I chickened out.

“Count me out,” I said to Jana. “Given the circumstances, I think the smartest thing to do would be for me to stay home.”

They’re still going. Then again, it’s a much shorter one-way hop from California than it is from Wichita.

So here I am at home, all snug and warm while the thermometer dips and swings, wondering whether I made the right decision.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

This got me to thinking about different decisions I’d made throughout my lifetime.

Were there any that I was sorry about? Or was I satisfied with the course my life had taken. Every choice, little by little, determines our life path.

The decisions that determined my experiences in life began with my parents, who were sincerely religious, health-minded, hardworking, honest folk from Ramona, Kansas.

“Don’t drink, don’t chew, and don’t go with boys who do,” is this little ditty that comes to mind from my childhood.

I didn’t! Those decisions served me well, starting me on a particular path.

The decision to get an education was a no-brainer. My grandparents hadn’t had the opportunity; none of them had ever had the chance to even get through grade school. They’d been educated by life experiences and saw to it that their children were educated — at least graduating from high school.

Getting married was a big decision. Blending your life with another person’s is a big fork in the road. I thought I’d made the best choice that was available; but there rarely is an iron-clad guarantee of success. Even though I didn’t like the idea, getting a divorce 30 years later turns out to have been a good decision for both of us.

Leaving California and moving back to Kansas was one of the biggest decisions I made in later life. I told myself I was doing it only for a few months — maybe as long as a year — and yet 20-plus years later, here we are.

I weigh that decision now, as I age.

Was it really a wise choice to move so far away from my daughter and her family? Is Kansas still the best place for me to be?

So far, it’s still the best place. These little fading towns that so many of us live in in Marion County are usually quiet little towns. We can own a home more easily than we could in a big city, where the cost of living is higher. Traffic is sparse — almost nonexistent. I made a list for myself of all the advantages. It’s quite a long one!

This time, I’ll content myself with sitting curled up on the couch with a good book instead of lying on the beach in Hawaii.

If the day warms up, instead of enjoying a pineapple sherbet cone in Honolulu, I’ll treat myself to a Baskin Robbins jamoca fudge ice-cream cone straight out of my freezer and give thanks it’s available in the local food store.

When the wind whistles around the eaves and the thermometer dips to almost zero, I’ll listen with enthusiasm to my grandson’s impression of Hawaii, understanding what he’s experiencing because I’ve already been there, done that. This time I’m here, instead of there, and content with another day in the country.

Last modified Jan. 27, 2022

 

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