Eve of Departure

Susie is packed and ready to go, and I’m pretty sure I am as well.  The Liberal Religious Youth (LRY) Reunion, aka “Garden of LRY”, officially begins at 5 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, and to me this night is Christmas Eve, the last day of school, and Mardi Gras all rolled into one.  I think I’m packed–I promised Julie, who was nice enough to drive Susie and me on this safari, that I’d pack light.  (Since I originally planned to take Greyhound to this Reunion, packing light was my original intention.)

Susie will be picking up a new state on this trip.  She’s never been to New Jersey before.  She has been to Pennsylvania, which is the only other state we will cross on this journey.  She’s not looking forward to the long drive, but as I get older, I take Cervantes’ words more to heart: “The road is always better than the inn.”

Julie’s husband Marc is attending an academic conference in Seattle, and she worried about the logistics around meeting him at the Newark airport.  (The Reunion itself is near Newton, N.J., in Sandyston Township.)  But, a mutual friend of ours from Queens will meet Marc’s flight as he is heading to the camp.  This came about in a blizzard of phone calls and emails among all of us today.

Jacques and I met for beverages at Kafé Kerouac this evening, but I became more and more frustrated because their Wi-Fi and this computer just could not connect, regardless of how many times they reset the router.  To keep from seething, I suggested that Jacques come with me and take an impromptu tour of Sporeprint Infoshop, the “radical social center” on E. 5th Ave. which is becoming quite dear to my heart.  We drove down and met with two volunteers, and Jacques came away quite impressed, especially with the lending library, the non-sectarian food distribution, the Internet-ready computers ready for anyone who needs them, and the fact that Kroger has been quite generous with donations of bread, cakes, and pastries.  Sporeprint is located directly across the street from Vineyard Columbus’ food pantry and free clinic.  Kahlil Gibran wrote in The Prophet that “Work is love made visible,” and that should be printed on a banner that stretches over the street above E. 5th Ave. between Summit and N. 4th.

Jacques came away marveling at the work Sporeprint promotes, especially the Really, Really Free Market the last Sunday of every month.  He plans to attend (as do I) the special one which happens on the 29th of this month (noon until 5 p.m. in Weinland Park, 211 E. 7th Ave.).  In addition to free clothes, books, bread, etc., there will be free services offered–hair-cutting, face-painting, children’s shows, etc.  I plan to be there.  Those of you who read this blog who live in the Columbus area, I strongly encourage you to come.  Those of you that miss it, I will describe it in a forthcoming entry.

Out of curiosity, I checked Google Maps for the directions to the 4-H camp in New Jersey.  It offered three routes, and the travel time varied by, at most, 30-45 minutes.  Julie says we’ll probably take I-71 to I-80 (which makes sense, because it avoids the Pennsylvania Turnpike and all those tolls).  I asked her out of mere curiosity–she’s driving, her word is law.  She says the car has a GPS, which she’ll be using for the first time, so I’m sure it’ll suggest the same thing.

The first “long” piece of prose I ever wrote, other than a penciled autobiography when I was 10, was a 48-page, typewritten, single-spaced description of two trips to Richmond, Va. I made with my parents when I was almost 11.  While writing this, I remember keeping the Exxon road map of the trip spread out on the bedroom floor by the typewriter, so I could trace the journey.  (It stayed spread out because I could never master the art of folding maps.)  The GPS makes that a little different.  Gone are the days when this would be your guide:

It would be invaluable to travel with this, even though it was crumpled up in a ball in the glove compartment, complete with melted Tootsie Rolls and old McDonald’s napkins and coffee stirrers.

Well, I’m not a tiny tot, but my eyes are all aglow, and I am finding it hard to sleep tonight.  Nevertheless, I am going to post this entry and make the attempt.  The camp is beyond Wi-Fi range, so I plan to handwrite blog entries in a notebook and then scan them, backdated, into this blog once I’m back in Columbus.