Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pilgrims’ Progress

American essayist Charles Dudley Warner said, “There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it.”
I wonder….
Gary and I returned to Virginia from a “last hurrah of summer” family vacation on Block Island, Rhode Island earlier this week.
After a fashion, I think I went beyond my usual limits for this trip. To get “there” Gary and I endured a six-hour bus trip to NYC on Friday that ended with us stepping off into driving rain; a train ride to upstate NY – complete with change of train – on Saturday; and a three-hour car ride with my parents that began before 7 AM on Sunday followed by a 45-minute ferry ride with my entire family.
Phew! I’m exhausted just recounting it.
The vacation, itself, however, was delightful. It was a thrill to see my sister, brother-in-law, three nephews and niece; celebrate my mother’s birthday with her and get some R&R (and work on my tan) at the beach.
Of course, like most good things, it ended too soon.
Luckily (as I prepare for Hurricane Irene to “visit”) we had perfect conditions under which to travel home.
Our selected mode of travel? Amtrak. Which worried me….
The last time Gary and I returned from Block Island via Amtrak was about three weeks after we’d gotten married.
If that trip didn’t test us….
The train got stuck outside Trenton, NJ and we arrived in DC hours after we were due in. Indeed, it was after midnight, and we were hard pressed to find a way to get home. Ultimately, we ended up sharing a taxi with a total stranger. Reflecting on it now still gives me chills….
Traveling to Israel
This trip was infinitely easier. We’ve been married now for more than six years and all we had were two backpacks and copious numbers of snacks. We were ready.
So we’re sitting, relaxing, as the train pulls away from its first stop after ours and a couple, who are obviously Orthodox Jews, come walking through our car lugging two enormous suitcases.
The man takes in the do-rag on my head (used to keep my hair out of my face, not to cover it for religious reasons, but what does he know?) and says something to me about  having a long way to go or some such thing.
I say, innocently, “Where are you going?” expecting an answer along the lines of “Baltimore” or “Penn Station in New York.”
Looking me square in the eye, he replies, “Israel.”
I was a bit taken aback and could only offer this thought: “If you’re planning on getting there by Amtrak, you’re got a really long trip ahead of you!”

Written for The Writers’ Post weekly blog hop # 11. Theme: “Beyond the Limits”


  1. Great Post Daphne!! Yes--if he wants to get to Israel by Amtrak--he's going to be waiting a very long time!! LOLOL! I'm sure he'll make a connection with a plane or boat or something!!

    I hope all is well with you and you survived hurricane Irene :)

    Cheers, Jenn

  2. Bwahahaha!

    Oh, and I forgot to check back with you. How did the haircut turn out?

  3. Hahaha, great post. This is so descriptive and intimate, feels like I was on the trip with you guys. Hope you survived Irene okay.