Essays

Vacations

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Most of us look forward to vacations. A great get-away can fuel our energy and awaken our senses. Unfortunately all the bad news about airline bombings and terrorist activities may have discouraged a few R&R plans.

Here in Carpenter Country, where summer sojourns have always been a regular occurrence, we noticed our sabbaticals had fallen to a new low of a week or less.

Well, we thought, enough of that–time for a two week vacation–and to heck with scary reports!

The next day, airport security scanned our passports and before we knew it we were heading north just twenty-four hours ahead of a bigger threat than terrorism–Hurricane Charley.

A short flight later we met up with friends in New York, and after another passport check, boarded a cruise ship headed for Canada with a second stop at Nova Scotia.

The Captain, hoping to outrun the storm that seemed to be following us up the coast, switched the ship’s itinerary. Because of his wise strategy, the seas we traveled remained calm. In Nova Scotia and Halifax a ‘thanks for bringing the sunshine’ greeted our arrival.

Five days of food, fun and sightseeing followed. The sixth evening found us back in NY–where we immediately climbed the gangplank of The Lady Liberty for a voyage up the East River.

New York City’s homeland security meter hovered near high alert and the Coast Guard boat that passed our craft as we navigated the river bristled with guns. But the town at night was an electric light show. Buildings glowed like jewels set in black velvet. Brilliant green strobes illuminated the Empire State building. To our eyes, all of NY was alight and the shine and sparkle quickly banished any anxiety.

Before long we circled the Statue of Liberty. The sight of the Lady spotlighted against a darkened sky, her torch held high, was awe-inspiring. She stood for liberty, for freedom, for all the good about our country.

Relatives from Europe once told us they felt the same sense of wonder when their ship entered NY harbor and they caught a first glimpse of the Statue. They knew, as they gazed at her, that America was a place where people could work or travel anywhere without fear of being shot or blown to pieces.

September 11, 2001 destroyed that feeling of security–but only temporarily.

On this vacation, even though we passed through numerous security scans, freedom rang out from every direction. We’re happy to say the American spirit is alive and well.

May it always remain that way.

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