My sister Donna moved to the east coast over thirty years ago. She went for an adventure. She didn’t really mean to stay that long, but stay she did. She’s the reason we’ve seen most of the Smithsonian museums, Gettysburg, Colonial Williamsburg, Mt. Vernon and Monticello. We’ve sailed the Chesapeake Bay, driven the Blue Ridge Mts., and strolled the boardwalks of Rehoboth Beach because of her. We’ve missed having her here these long years, but it’s enriched our lives having her home as a pinpoint on the map of the U.S.
It was her turn this year to come out west. When she pulled into our driveway she immediately started taking photographs of our freshly rained on fall-colored home site. She’s never been the one taking pictures, but with her smart phone has discovered a new hobby. Her images see our home from a different perspective.
She was here for sister retreat, our annual trip to reconnect us six sisters. This year we traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to the south, and Stevensville, Montana, to the north.
We viewed our grandmother’s “special collection” at the JW Marriott Library at the University of Utah. The staff had us put our bags and cell phones in a locker at the front of the collection and slip on white gloves to view the photographs put away by our grandmother many years ago for safekeeping.
We had gone to Salt Lake City for a history lesson. On our Mom’s side, we found our great grandfather’s simple grave marker among the 120,000 souls interred in the Salt Lake Cemetery. And from our Dad’s side, we searched the military rolls at Fort Douglas for a civil war soldier that played a poignant part of our history.
In the evenings we laughed in the hot tub, played Jenga, and assigned each sister the task of coming up with a one-word characteristic to describe each of us. “Selfless,” “tough,” “eclectic,” “peacemaker,” “poised,” “over-thinker” all made the list.
We got back home and added our brother for an afternoon tour of the local graveyards looking for ancestors. Merle, my genealogically minded sis, had a list of names and photos, which along with colorful oral stories she knows by heart, made it an afternoon to remember. Bright sunshine and fall leaves scattered over the graves made the scene complete.
We’re now all immersed in our lives again. Left with the emailed images from a cell phone camera back at work selling houses in Maryland. The images, the impressions, of my East Coast sis - or as she calls herself, "our faraway sister."
|storm over Higham's Peak|
|the olive and grandpa's table|
|October's freshly blooming black-eyed susans|
|Reid Valley apples|