The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.




            For more years than I care to remember I was married to a man whose idea of a weekend get-away was a football game in Madison, Wisconsin – every year –same time – same place.  We once went skiing in Aspen over Christmas vacation. Guess where he wanted to go the following year?  “No,” I said.  “I’m going to Mexico.- come if you like.” He swallowed his fear of new places, joined me in Cozumel  and – you guessed it – wanted to return toCozumel the following year. His idea of experiencing something new was to occasionally sample a new restaurant not more than five miles from home.

We once planned a trip to California with stops in San Francisco and San Diego.  After three days of Fisherman’s Wharf and trolley cars a rented car was delivered to our hotel.  I grabbed the wheel.  He hauled out a map and directed me to the freeway leading south. I ignored him and headed forU.S.#1 – certainly slower but far more interesting. Spent two hours watching the Monarch butterflies in Pismo Beach where, at that time, the count was something like 30,000 butterflies. Imagine that!  Returned home with a small Eskimo soapstone sculpture and a luxurious woven shawl from an artists’ colony.

I vividly recall once taking a back road and stumbling upon a family having a picnic along the banks of a river.  They invited me to join them.  I enjoyed some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had and climbed aboard a canoe with them for a ride down the river. I made new friends, and walked away with a recipe for the cranberry/banana bread the woman served, thankful for having taken a detour.

Another detour took me past a farm with a large sign out front. “LabradorPuppies For Sale.”  “Are you joking?” I said to the farmer.  “$25 for this lovely pedigreed dog?”

I grabbed my purse, took out my wallet, and handed the guy three tens.  My children couldn’t have been happier. Heidi was the best dog we ever had and I never would have found her had I stayed on the expressway.

I do know one man who is the antithesis of my husband.  This guy seems to have an insatiable need to try everything.  One year he decided to learn to ride and bought  a horse. The next year he sampled sky-diving. The following year it was a sailboat. His idea of a Saturday evening’s entertainment is to visit a local pool hall and make an ass of himself or to drive 100 miles to have dinner at a hole-in-the-wall diner purported to make bar-b-q ribs to die for.

I pity the stick-in-the-muds who never experience the joy of discovery –  the aroma of fresh bread baking – the challenge of a riotous surf – the satisfaction of learning a new game  – the courage to tackle Shakespeare – serendipitous moments that come only to those willing to step off the beaten path.



Today I followed a new route to my destination

I was grateful there were no stoplights

The road meandered along lazy lagoons

Water lilies along the shore

Serendipity is what it was

A pleasant, unexpected, surprise

Like putting a coin in a vending machine

And getting three chocolate gumballs

The cautious resist taking a detour

They miss the pleasure of discovery

The joy of stumbling upon  the unusual

Discovery is a precious thing

You can’t beat the elation an astronomer or an archaeologist feels

When he discovers a new star or uncovers a mummy

Or the thrill a man experiences when he invents a new mousetrap

Or the satisfaction a couch potato finds in mastering golf

No one with limited vision stuck in the quicksand of life

Ever discovered the secret of the stars or opened a new door

The seeds of discovery float constantly around us

But they only take root in those ready to receive them

To discover a new author who speaks to me

A symphony that moves my heart

Find my own quiet corner of the woods

A pretty shell on the seashore

Would be “aha” moments for me

The voyage of discovery is not seeking newness

But in having new eyes

Dr. Seuss had it right:

“You’ll be sort of surprised what there is to be found

once you go beyond Z and start poking around.”

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Julie rose


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