I am very happy that my grown children and grandchildren have been able to travel and all have even been abroad in the past couple of years. My travels have been much more limited. They tell me that it broadens you as an individual and greatly enhances your education and appreciation for what is going on in the world. Some of my friends have traveled so much they have run out of countries to see.
I’m more content to stay at home. I haven’t even had a wild weekend in Waco to see the Cameron Park Zoo or stroll along the Brazos River. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even been to the Railroad Museum in Temple or the the SPJST Museum. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t even been to the Visitors Center in downtown Temple to go to the restroom. We recently visited the Bell County Museum and it was terrific.
When I hear stories from those who have traveled I think about a favorite uncle of mine who never traveled far from his farm in northwest Montgomery County. I believe Houston was the greatest distance he ever ventured from home. He read a lot and it turns out he was one of the most interesting people I have known. His brother was even more interesting and never even had a car during his life. If either of these brothers had attended college or traveled they may have won a Nobel Prize in something. They were that smart.
I ask my uncle one time if he had ever been to college and he said that he had attended a weekend course at A&M when he was a young man. I ask him what he had learned from that experience. He said it was one of the most enlightening times of his life because he had actually seen a baboon during that weekend at A&M. He talked a lot about that baboon and it was more entertaining than hearing about exotic trips to foreign lands. Other than for deer and other wild animals of the forest in Texas, I think the baboon was the only wild animal he had ever seen.
I have been to a lot of places in the US. After several trips to Mexico and sickness from some of those visits, I have sworn to never go south of San Antonio again. I certainly won’t go to a place where the water is unsafe to drink.
I am more of an armchair tourist. I’m content to just stay on the porch and watch the deer as I see the world through the eyes of CNN and thank God I’m safe in my chair. Even the deer are better than what I see and my books takes me to distant places where I met the most interesting people. I just got back from the Yukon with Jack London as I read a new biography of his life. I was eaten by mosquitoes in the summer and almost died trying to build a fire in winter. I then took one of many trips I have taken to Troy to help Heinrich Schliemann excavate. I attended the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots in a biography of Elizabeth I that I just finished. I did all this and walked to a room adjacent to the porch for a meal by my favorite chef of over 50 years. We dined on home grown tomatoes, black-eyed peas and cornbread. To quince the fire from the fresh hot green peppers on the peas I drank several glasses of iced tea brewed from the safe Salado water. It simple doesn’t get any better than that. My uncle was right.