Our family is not one of those who take an annual vacation. Being in a military family as a child and moving every three years diminished the allure of traveling for me. We lived in California, Japan, Germany, and Georgia, where we finally settled. I am blessed to have lived in foreign countries where school field trips and Girl Scout excursions were to exotic destinations that most people will never see.
I recently had the opportunity to travel nine hours from home to participate in the Army's First Infantry Division Reunion in Memphis, TN. This is the first of a three-part series on our adventures and the heroes I met along the way.
It’s always a pleasure to travel with my husband, a former long-haul trucker. His “turf” included all East coast states and up into Canada and as far west as Texas. He knows how to get everywhere. We never need a map, computer generated directions or a GPS. On top of his road experience, he has an innate sense of direction. I do not, so I happily settle into the car, read or crochet, and leave the driving to him.
I have fun reading the names of towns on road signs. We spent the first night away in Bucksnort, TN. We arrived late at night and left before breakfast so we didn’t see much of Bucksnort other than the hotel parking lot. I am left with questions: What do the people who live there do to make a living? Is Bucksnort a peaceful place? Is it a good place to raise a family?
Our journey through Tennessee took us to some famous places - Paris, Carthage, Sparta, and Lebanon – all nestled along Interstate 40. The trip proved to be an international experience. These four cities were just the beginning.
We stopped in Jackson, TN so hubby could tour the Carl Perkins Museum. Carl was popular in the Rockabilly Era and wrote “Blue Suede Shoes “among other songs. On arrival we met Henry Harrison, the curator of the museum. He does personal tours and shares his vast knowledge of the stars of that music era. He had started a tour with Francois, a man from France, and asked us if we’d mind joining Francois on the tour. We were about halfway through the museum when Wade from New Zealand also joined us.
On Friday, Celeste (the wife of another First Infantry Division veteran) and I decided to take a trolley ride around the loop in Memphis which includes a view of the Mississippi River. There were only four passengers on this trolley – the two of us and a couple from Australia. At one point the driver came out of his booth and sat with the four of us while a trolley ahead of us cleared the checkpoint. He had a thick Italian accent, so thick that it was hard to understand what he said. If you listened hard enough, you understood that he had theories on how to solve all the world’s problems, even giving advice on Australia’s economy.
One more foreign contact came the night of the reunion banquet. There was a lady and her daughter there from France due to an unnamed connection to the First Infantry Division. I ended up in the bathroom with her when we both took a break. Odd, huh?
I know that God doesn’t waste anything, so now I am left wondering what He is trying to tell me through ten international incidents in five days.
Stay tuned for parts two and three of the adventure where I’ll introduce you to the heroes I met and tell you their stories. In the meantime, any thoughts on the meaning of my international encounters would be helpful.
Have a joy-filled day-
Paris –the capitol and the largest city of France. Paris is one of the world's leading business and cultural centers, and one of the world's major global cities.
Lebanon - a country in the East Mediterranean bordered by Syria to the north and east, and Israel to the south. Lebanon was the home of the Phoenicians, a maritime culture that flourished for nearly 2,500 years (3000–539 BC)
Sparta - a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity with military pre-eminence.Ancient Carthage - a Semitic civilization centered on the Phoenician city-state of Carthage, located in North Africa on the Gulf of Tunis, outside what is now Tunis, Tunisia. It was founded in 814 BC. At the height of the city's prominence, its influence extended over most of the western Mediterranean. Carthage was in a constant state of struggle with the Roman Republic, which led to a series of conflicts known as the Punic Wars.