Creative thinking helps with ups and downs of traveling
Having a friend who enjoys traveling has its benefits. For me, the main one is that she’s pushed me out of my comfort zone and made sure I, too, take off on some of these jaunts with a group she leads.
The first trip was back in May when we went to Fall Creek Falls State Park for the weekend. I was a most reluctant participant — I usually prefer my own company in my own home on weekends — but she kept encouraging me to go, so I did. The trip was such fun, I eagerly signed up for the October trip to the park when the opportunity presented itself. It was a bit disappointing that a last-minute trip to Historic Rugby was on a weekend I was obligated to do something else, but Jonnie takes the group there regularly so we could do it another time.
That opportunity arose last weekend when Rugby hosted its Christmas Candlelight Tour of several Victorian buildings in the town, which is nationally recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and many others as one of the most authentically restored and preserved communities in America. When Jonnie called about reservations, however, only two rooms were still available, so she took pity on me and asked me if I wanted to go even if the group could not. After deciding I could afford the trip, I said, count me in.
The trip almost didn’t happen and if Jonnie had told me about her adventure that morning while getting ready, it wouldn’t have. She pulled a muscle in her back after bending the wrong way in the shower, and had to wait for her husband to bring a crutch to her so she could get out of the bathroom. This happens sometimes, she told me, after we were already on the road. She was wearing a portable TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit to help with the pain. I’ll be fine, she assured me, even though I told her we could postpone the trip until she was feeling better.
We made a fine pair, let me tell you. With my own limitations in movement, I had been afraid I’d hold her back from some of the special activities. As it turned out, we were moving on about the same speed.
Jonnie had booked the last two rooms at one of the lodging establishments in Rugby. They were upstairs ... up some steep, creaking stairs. We made it up there, somehow, luggage and bones intact, and decided we’d just stay in our rooms and rest until the activities began. As Jonnie said, there was no way she was making an extra trip up and down those stairs. I certainly wasn’t going to argue.
Rugby’s halls were decked with boughs of holly and greenery, and a number of volunteers were donned in the gay apparel of the Victorian era. Carolers, ladies serving tea, gentlemen ushering us into the buildings open for the tour, all made the evening quite special. Jonnie even shared her crutch with me when steps were too steep for my bad knee to bend properly.
We did have some unusual adventures, though. There was the slight problem we faced in getting our bags back down those steep steps without killing ourselves. As we were in the sitting room upstairs that opened onto a small balcony, I said, only half in jest, that if we had a rope, we could lower them down. Jonnie pondered on that and when we got ready to leave Sunday, she said, “I’m throwing my bag off the balcony to keep from carrying it.” “Seriously?” I asked. Oh, yes, she was serious. She tossed it over the railing and then hobbled down the stairs to see if everything survived. It did, so I figured, what the heck. Look out below! My bag landed with a fairly loud “thud,” and the gentleman who was staying there with his wife went outside to see what he’d heard. Didn’t dawn on me they might have thought a person had landed or we’d have warned them. ...
He couldn’t believe we’d thrown the bags over and Jonnie explained we had to come up with a creative solution since we were hesitant to try carrying them down. He said, “Why didn’t you rent the bedroom on the ground floor?” Jonnie told him she had only thrown her back out that morning, plus we needed two rooms. When he looked puzzled, Jonnie figured it out — he thought we were a “couple” — and immediately started talking about her husband. The man offered to carry our bags to the car then. Bless his heart.
We laughed about that all the way back to Maryville.
The trip was a lot of fun in spite of our aches and pains. That’s the trick, I suppose. Keep living, keep going, no matter what. As Jonnie said, you may as well hurt doing something you enjoy rather than at home wishing you were someplace else.
Want to find out more about Historic Rugby? Visit http://www.historicrugby.org .
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times. Her column runs every Sunday in the Life section. You may contact her at 981-1168 or (email@example.com)