Four good “witches” from the North traveled even farther North this weekend as Mom, two aunties and I made our annual trip to Salem, Massachusetts. Sadly, we were a much smaller group than last year’s convoy but I’m learning to accept that things are the way they are and, more importantly, I’m learning to follow Father Elson’s advice about the current family situation: Let those who don’t want to associate with you go their own way but don’t burn all the bridges; let them know the bridge is always there if they should ever decide to cross back over. You cannot force someone to cross it if they do not want to; that is their free will, but you can love them enough to keep in contact, whether a holiday card or whatever means, to let them know they still matter to you. And so, I take it to heart. Or at least try to…
However, despite all of this crazy drama, I am not lamenting this Saturday’s outing at all. We had a grand time, enjoying the sites, the beautiful weather, some good food and a lot of laughs.
I have a penchant for always being late. Amazingly, Mom and I were actually about 15 minutes’ early–even with stopping for gasoline and a cup of chai (moi)/coffee (Mom) along the way. And there was no convoy as 4 of us fit quite nicely together in one car. I have to remember next time to bring some tunes but that was the only hitch this time around and we made up for the lack of tunes by catching up with each other. No wrong exits, no ‘bad’ directions, fewer streets blocked off and we found the perfect place to park–at a special education school parking lot that was raising money for the school to benefit the kids that attended it. It was a win-win situation; we found a safe place to park for the day without worry of being towed or vandalized, and the school received a much-needed donation. They also opened the school up for travelers to use their restrooms and provided printed directions for an alternative route out of Salem–one that wouldn’t take you through the downtown area that became more congested as the day wore on. And, though we planned for any sort of weather and temps, it was a beautifully balmy day for sharing with loved ones; the jackets and gloves got plunked into the trunk of the car before we headed downtown.
The usual million dollar question got tossed about for awhile: what do you want to do/see first? We took a walk through the mall where countless vendors hawked their wares and I was strongly tempted to purchase a T-shirt that read: “Never mind the flying monkeys; beware what I might do with this broom”. But I restrained myself, preferring to keep the $15 in my pocket. Instead, I went for a $2 bumper sticker that reads: “I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned” That may well become the battle cry for my existence.
We found a lovely little pub down by the wharf for lunch. Initially, we were told it would be a 45 minute wait but, when so many people had left rather than waiting, we had a table for 4 within 10 minutes. Again, we enjoyed the conversation, the laughs and even made plans for the upcoming holidays. It was the perfect sharing: no gossip, no quarrels, no drama.
What made it even more perfect was that the sharing wasn’t just in the conversation. I drove. I didn’t mind; I’ve been to Salem enough times that everything starts to look familiar without directions–almost. But everyone chipped in for parking and gasoline; I didn’t ask, they simply did. One aunt paid for lunch. The other bought us coffee/tea and dessert later on. We gave to each other in an endless ebb and flow of sharing. By doing so, nobody felt left out or uncomfortable.
Now we’re planning for next year. Despite the mutual sharing, pricing was such that we declined a number of events. And some of the tours were rather lengthy so we’re hoping to plan out a few activities before we make this next road trip. The Psychic Faire, The Ghosts and Legends Trolley tour, The Smugglers’ Tour and the Mahi Mahi boat tour were all yearned for but either the timing was off and/or we hadn’t planned on the higher price tags. Also, the usual historic home tours do not happen during October due to the sheer volumes of visitors. Instead, though I assured everyone that Witch House was worth the admission, it proved false as we were left to look around on our own and simply read the lengthy static displays in each room; it’s much better off-season when an actual tour guide provides a good 30-45 minute commentary on the history of the house, and Judge Corwin, who was a prosecutor during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
Maybe next year we’ll make two trips–one for a more enjoyable history lesson and another for the special Halloween/Samhain events. Maybe next year we’ll also have a bigger convoy but, again, I won’t lament what is. Gratitude is the way to true happiness.
May God bless you & keep you!