“The Long and Winding Road that leads to your door, will never disappear…” The Beatles
Well. It’s been quite a trip. About 15,000 miles worth, in fact. More driving than I expected, and I’m OK if I don’t do it again, but I’m glad I did.
Today I drove down those old familiar Alabama highways, past rolling green hills, old splintered red barns, and cows grazing on sun-splashed meadows down to the flat Florida panhandle and back to Orlando on I-75 and the Turnpike, and I think I can speak for Jonathan and say we’re both a little relieved to be off the road at last.
I learned a few things on this trip. I learned that my son is as good a man as he was a kid. I learned he’s an easy travel partner, very flexible and eager to please. I learned that I’m not so easy, and I’m too old to sleep in tents. I learned that you shouldn’t sleep outside in the South in the summer, that I was right about New York, and that the best part of America is the Americans that live here. I learned that this country is bigger than you think and you could easily spend a lifetime exploring it and still miss a lot. I learned that hotel life gets stale fast and that “there’s no place like home.” I’ve learned that one of the hardest things in the world to do is to grow old. I’ve learned that no matter what happens to me I can always count on my family. I learned that writing a daily blog is way harder than you think it is. I’ve learned to appreciate those few of you who went with me on this journey, and I want to thank you for it.
That’s right. thanks for coming along. Thanks for your comments and encouragement. Thanks for “being there” with us.
I started out by saying I wanted to see what America is like today vs. my childhood. Well, a lot has changed, and to be honest not much of it is for the better, but we can still be proud that we have the best park system in the world. We have people who work very hard, especially in the service industries, and they are the unsung heroes of our economy. We have a fantastic system of roads (except in the northeast) that allow you access to areas that would be completely inaccessible in any other country. This nation is as physically beautiful on the whole as anywhere on earth. We still celebrate life with gusto and most believe in our country’s greatness with all their hearts. It’s a tremendously diverse place, with regional celebrations of food, music, sports, and entertainment that are unique in all the world.
Well, the economy has moved from manufacturing and agriculture to government, finance, and consumerism, while our currency has been debased. Our cities have been left to decay while our foreign policy has tilted to empire. Our personal liberties have been stripped away in the name of security. Our working people have been stripped of their jobs. In spite of spending way more money than anyone else on schools and “defense”, we are neither well educated nor secure.
So I’ll probably be leaving the USA again soon. I think it’s time to take a look around at another place to live, and maybe permanently. I know that every country has drawbacks. I get that. But I think there’s a time when you have to say that you’ve lost, that there’s no going back, and that there is no viable political or economic solution anymore. My brother once told me, “if you really feel that way (about America), you should leave.” Well, he was right….
So I’m taking off for now, though I’m sure I’ll return, because this is after all the land where I was born, and I still have loved ones here. But I’ve got the wanderlust and it’s an itch I have to scratch, and time is running out for me. That’s just a feeling, but it is a very real one nonetheless. I hope I can stay in touch with all of you in my travels, and that you’ll wish me a bon voyage.
Thanks again for reading and putting up with my rambling, and good luck to you, dear readers, on your own journey through life. In the words of an Irish proverb, “May the road rise up to meet you.” God bless.
Awesome Jon, thanks for letting us be a part of your journey. We really enjoyed our time with you and Jonathan. I loved every word of every story you wrote. Keep in touch. Best to you on your travels and the future.
John, thanks for the warm regards! You’re my best and only fan! LOLO
John, thanks for allowing us to become a part of your journey. It makes me want to see more. It’s taken me this long in life to understand just exactly what you said in your last and final blog. One must do what one must do. Take care our dear “Ford” friend. Be safe in your future endeavors but never forget about home, your friends or your family….because we will never forget about your friendship to us. Enjoy everyday because “life is not a rehearsal.”
Frankie, thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. And no, I’ll never forget you, or any of my old Ford friends. I hope we’ll meet again someday!
Thank you Jon for sharing your journey, describing the beauty, wonder, and even the negatives that our great country has to offer!! Your blog also brought back lots of memories from my childhood moving all over with my brothers and parents; also with my own family. Time has just gone by too fast. I’m saddened to read that you’ll be leaving the US again, just when we reconnected after 30 some odd years, I don’t feel like we had the chance to really catch up with each other, even though we were in the same cities at times… You also helped me remember Enterprise, AL back when I was a little teenager, we did have a pretty interesting neighborhood – side note- you took me on my first official date ever… during my awkward looking stage with braces and all!! hahaha Good luck to you Jon on your continued journey, keep us updated and be careful out there!!!
Lisa, I just hope you’ll forgive me for stepping all over your toes on my first Prom! You were beautiful, by the way, back then, as well as now I’m sure. I’ll try to call you again tomorrow…now it’s just getting stupid with all of the missed connections!