April 11, 2016

there and back again

I feel a bit bedraggled this morning, not unlike how I am sure Bilbo Baggins must have felt as he wearily returned to his snug hobbit hole after all his adventures!  I had a lovely weekend, but it involved racking up some serious car time! Phil and I left home at 3 am (yes, I typed the right time) on Friday morning, Pittsburgh bound.  He must have been reading Tolkien again...We must away, We must away...We ride before the break of day!

"The road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road is gone
Let others follow it, who can.

Farewell we call to hearth and hall
though wind may blow and rain may fall
We must away ere break of day,
Far over wood and mountain tall."

His wonderful Aunt Synorita was celebrating her 80th birthday and we wanted to be part of the celebration.  We only had Friday afternoon and Saturday in the city, and headed back home early Sunday morning.  Along the way we encountered family roots and connections, and made more great memories. We also managed to encounter wind, rain, and snow.  Is spring ever going to arrive?

shot from the car with my phone camera somewhere in Ohio...

 A great "blast from the past"...I didn't know Big Boy restaurants were still around!  My family used to stop at one on the way to taking me to college.  One time sitting in the next booth was actor Ken Curtis, who played Festus on Gunsmoke.  I was so excited, as I have fond memories of watching Gunsmoke on Saturday nights, sitting on my grandfather's lap in my nightgown after my getting-ready-for-church bubble bath.

Also in Ohio, taken from the car

It's always been a given with our family road trips that point A is followed by point B.  No deviations off the route for the world's largest ball of twine or world's largest reptile garden, or more frustratingly, for what looked like a really interesting antiques store, ever happened on my husband's watch!  I still remember longingly pressing my face against the car window as he heartlessly drove by a log cabin quilt store in the Smoky Mountains.  Yes, he's definitely a Point A, Point B guy!!  But this trip, to my delight, the rules were bent and a side trip was made to the Ft. Meigs Cemetery in Perrysburg, Ohio.  (It was only three miles off the interstate, but I am giving my husband HUGE kudos for this, hoping to inspire more off the map adventures in the future!!)
And what did we find at the cemetery?  My great-great-great-great-grandfather's grave and marker!  Joseph Badger was born in Massachusetts, and served in the Revolutionary War.  He was in the Battle of Bunker Hill, and after the war put himself through Yale Divinity School.  He then became, as the marker states, the first missionary in the Western Ohio reserve, ministering to the early settlers via horseback.  I was thrilled to be able to visit this site and pay my respects.

Then on to the real point B...Pittsburgh!  We stayed downtown and had a wonderful time strolling through the bustling streets.  The weather was lovely.  Okay, maybe not...!!!

But we still had lots of fun  walking around, admiring the sights and sounds of a large city. I loved all the architecture and history...

 and listening to Phil reminisce about his adventures when he was a teen.

But of course the highlight of the trip was celebrating with his family, and what a wonderful night it was!!

Phil and the birthday celebrant, Aunt Synorita
Phil and two of his brothers with their mother.  What a great family!
And then it was back in the car for another snowy drive home, with Bilbo's song ringing in my ears...

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”

~~JRR Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring

I can't wait to share more Pittsburgh photos with you during the week, but until then, please remember that...

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