I am heading up to Vermont later this week. My aunt, at the ripe age of 83 has developed cancer and prefers not to jump through multiple hoops for the cure. She's doing chemo but has declined the operation offered and doesn't want to complete the steps needed to go through radiation. I can't say as I blame her but it saddens my heart.
I love her so dearly and while I've known this trip was coming I chose to stay in denial and refused to plan the trip. Now I'm going, torn between leaving my dd on her birthday - though at 20 she should understand.
I think back to all the times we drove up as a family when we were children and arriving in time for dinner. My Uncle would play his Mandolin and my Aunt and Uncle would sit around with my parents while they enjoyed liquor in their coffee cups, smoking Lucky Strikes. We've spent countless Thanksgivings there. Even after he passed on and she missed him so much.
My Aunt's house served as base camp for so many vacations...Even when my Dad took my sister and I up for hiking in the wet season. I remember the hot whiskey/sugar concoction given to me for a sore throat. Attending auctions together, and mushrooming, picking fresh veggies in Lissa's garden for dinner and heading to the Soup & Onion on occasion.
My Dad would plan out every detail of the trip. When I first showed up without him in tow the family was incredulous that I was perfectly happy to fit into their daily routine and enjoy naps out on the wraparound porch. We still visited Waitsfield and the Mad River for a swim...and children in tow necessitated trips out to Cabot Creamery and Ben & Jerry's but I was there for the family. Not for Vermont.
Once my Dad could no longer make the trek on his own I took over that with my sister making last year's trip. This year he doesn't think he can handle it and they can't handle the children. So I'm hitting the road on my own. I compared plane train and automobile and driving comes out cheaper and provides more freedom anyway you slice it. I can do it in 12 hours per Mapquest which tracks well with my own experiences (I needed the mileage to compare costs though.)
Wish me luck, say a prayer and may fun be had by all.