Necessary Getaway!

In Columns, Features, Pieces to Peter's Puzzling World by Peter Webster

By the time this column goes on-line at Audacity, we hope to be in Vancouver, B.C. for a few days, and then over in eastern British Columbia for a week or so. It’s always restful to step outside the box and look in from outside. Perspective is nice.

The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, we’re driving up to see our friends, Carolyn and Bob—and their daughter, Thea— in Anacortes, Washington. Monday or Tuesday, we’ll drive to Vancouver. We’re going to goof off. It’s time for a break from the routine, not a fracture!

The news is as grim as ever: civilians die by the dozens in Iraq; the government continues to set record levels of mendacity and spying on citizens; a woman here in Bend has been arrested and charged with murdering a child left in her care; logging companies are gearing up for an assault on the remaining old-growth trees; and on it goes, a hundred run-away trains running down a hundred converging tracks.

Time for some mental health time: museums, ethnic cuisine, a cosmopolitan city, and close friends to hang out with. And then over into the western Rockies, glacier-scooped valleys and spectacular lakes. Friends there, too.

Close friends are really my family—extended family—but there’s the love and acceptance that I certainly never got from my birth family. It’s a lot easier to see that now, reflecting back, than it was back then, trying to get what I wanted; a “normal” family. It wasn’t there.

But what I have are the warm relationships I thought only came from some “Ozzie and Harriet” or “Father Knows Best” kind of family. (Reminds me of the Rolling Stones’ “You don’t always get what you
want…but you get what you need.”)

Someone once said “Normal is a setting on a clothes dryer, no more.” One of the perks of our time is that we have so many examples of that truth. It doesn’t matter if Dick or Jane has one mother and one father, or two mothers or two fathers, an auntie and an uncle—what matters is that we have people who love us and accept us as we are, no ifs, ands, or buts: just who and what we are.

Around those kinds of loving people we are absolutely safe and free. I’ve never outgrown that need; nobody does! So a group of us, who are close, emotionally honest and intimate with each other, are going to go sight-seeing.

Along the way, we’ll giggle and laugh, eat and wander, take pictures, probably remember those who have gone before and who aren’t with us any more, and be grateful for what we have.

My sister has a prayer: “Great Spirit, thank you for what you have given and what you have taken away.”