Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ROAD TRIP (vacation) (07/02/15)
- TITLE: Hamlet Heaven
By Judith Gayle Smith
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After thirty years of vacation less tumults so turbulent that our heads still spin, we rushed completely out of character to an earthly promised land. This tornado of anticipation took us to upstate New York.
We have dangerous urges to seek thrills disguised as living simply, wonderfully off the land, shooting the toes off revenuers. When we first wed, my husband wished to purchase forty acres in Harney County, Oregon. We found a delightful plot of land with quaking aspens and pines, and a notorious creek called "Gun Barrel Creek". We put a deposit on it, and . . .
Our Lord called us into His ministry. Old reckless dreams shattered as new life in Jesus awakened us to His dreams for us to enfold His followers into His flock.
Time flew, we grew . . .
Was it female/male menopause? What, who and why prompted us to a new land search?
The computer age. The temptations dangled in full color brilliance to lure us beyond our knowledge of what was right in God's Eyes. New friends praised the merits of escaping the cities and, surprise, surprise, "living off the land." And we found an earthly heaven on the internet.
Beautiful. Alluring. Thirteen acres in upstate New York in a sweet little hamlet. It had been a portion of a dairy farm, wooded now. Right on the Black Creek River which bisected our plot to our wondrous back yard - the State Forest. Visions of canoeing, fishing and blissfully enjoying small-town life . . .
Our thirty-fourth Anniversary was September 14th, and what better gift to give each other than to take our long-awaited honeymoon - and discover what we had purchased, sight unseen?
We flew to New York, and everything started to blur. New York was not the New York portrayed by too many movies - it was actually tame, sedate and most appealing. We drove a rental car into Hammond. An actual small village feel permeated the atmosphere.
Gray stone cottages, beef on the hoof in the Kelly-green fields, children running about just for the joy. Settling into a wee motel, quaintly smothered in suffocating heat and humidity, we, limp and dripping, threw ourselves on the bed and dreamed happy dreams. I already had set my heart there . . .
How to describe sunsets glorified by God's paintbrush? Gold gilded the sky, unforgettable ..and yes, heavenly.
My taste buds just prompted a memory of homemade frozen custard. Stopping into a sweet old-fashioned market, with locals chatting and eyeing the out-of-towners like a calf looking at a new gate, we requested batteries for our overworked, gasping camera. We didn't have a digital, sigh.
Friendliness oozed from the gal who owned the market. She seduced us with the promise of real, fresh frozen custard - just made that morning. Ice cream will never be the same. I think some taste buds are lingering there.
Ventured to the town hall/library/meeting hall to register our dream. Asked for directions.
Our acreage was literally swallowed up by big, immovable boulders. It would cost thousands to remove them, and then we would have to build a house up to code soon.
Heads swimming with "what have we done?" - we followed the instructions to the property. We got lost, and a concerned kind gal with two gorgeous dogs came up to our car to ask if we needed help.
Totally not the typical New York welcome we had expected from too many television dramas. This lovely gal was knowledgeable, and offered many tips for surviving the September humidity, through to the anticipated Winter blizzards.
Flying home to Portland, Oregon. Mt. Hood - awash in sun-setting gold, the lush forests and cascading rivers - why, we actually live in our earthly heaven. You can breathe in the sights of the Columbia Gorge in the Mel Gibson movie "Maverick", hysterically peopled with James Garner, Jodie Foster and, of course - Mel Gibson when his character was young, romantic and quite silly.
Dreams unfulfilled, but never stilled, we sat quietly paying our yearly taxes on the property. We aged too quickly, and health issues forced us to sell our dream - at a loss. There was no way we could return to stay there. I understand quite a few Amish folk have discovered the area. I hope they all find delight in the frozen custard cones, and lick one for me.
A true story
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