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One Woman's Opinion

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Mid-winter Break

by Mary Wakefield Buxton

Urbanna, Va.— Is there  a “I Hate to Travel Club” available to join for reluctant travelers? If so, I want to become a member. I leave Urbanna about four times a year and it’s hard on me. I most always would rather stay home.

“Goodbye, dear house,” I say sadly as I leave the “Pineapple Palace,”  casting one last look at my cozy bed, precious pillow, and comforting jar of Vicks on the nightstand. “Good bye, Lady,” I add, just managing to hold back tears of farewell. Oh, how I dislike leaving  my dog.

Driving down Rappahannock Avenue is especially painful, then turning on Virginia Street and heading down “Kill-a-chicken Road” for Route 17. There is most always a lump in my throat as my dear  Urbanna fades in the distance. For people  like me, leaving home is hard to do.

There are various ways to travel, none pleasant. The car is the least jolting to one’s system because if things turn out to be unbearable, as they  so often do, then one at least can open the door, get out, and hike back home.

The train is scurrilous because it occasionally stops for unknown reasons on lonely stretches of tracks and just sits there. Minutes and hours can pass as one waits for the sudden jolt of the train as it starts once again. There is no rationale to train travel. One must rely on a wish that one will arrive on time to some destination, which is wonderful simply because then one can get off the train.

Airplanes are worse because, they too, can stop for unknown reasons . . . except when they stop, they tend to fall out of the sky. One might not wish to fall out of the sky but one is rather stuck. One’s entire fate and fortune hangs on whether the plane decides it will fall out of the sky that day.

I suppose one could also walk or ride a horse if one chose to travel, but for someone used to only walking the streets of Urbanna and back home each day, a trek of more than 5 miles might be tiring. Horses, I know nothing about, but I am sure  they do not start with a key in the ignition and . . . if they didn’t wish to start on their own volition, I am quite sure I could not get one to move.

The mid-winter break this year was a week’s sojourn to Myrtle Beach in February. We had rented a condo on the ocean and eagerly awaited the warm weather and fun that was ahead. Since I had just lost my dog, I rather doubted  I would be having any fun, nonetheless, I put on a happy face, deposited Lady with my son, hopped in the car, and headed south. 

The best part of Myrtle Beach is it is only a 7-hour drive away. One exits  I-95 after Lumberton and heads for the low country on Route 74. There was no traffic on the road, leading me to believe not many people travel to Myrtle Beach in February. This was good news as I was in no mood for crowds.

My sister, Alice, zapped me an email as I was arriving. It was a warning that Myrtle Beach was now called “Murder Beach” because of the high crime rate. Oh great. As if staged with her email, as I stepped from my car to the real estate office to pick up my key,  I discovered I was in the midst of a crime.

Having no experience with witnessing crimes, I stood and stared with my mouth open as a black car came to a screeching halt at my feet and three men hopped out, chased  and tackled a man who was crossing the street. There was a terrible scuffle and rush to secure a loose  gun. The language was violent and terrifying. It was over quickly and the three men hustled the man into the car and sped off. What it was all about, I never knew.

With trembling hands I opened the key drop to pick up my key and map to my condo. I did not loiter, but moved quickly as one does in the city. Why wait around for the next crime to witness? Soon I was safely locked in my condo and standing on a lanai overlooking the splendid Atlantic Ocean.

The next day it was cold and I put in my time hunched down in the wind in winter jacket, hood and gloves walking the beaches. I was happy about one thing—the weather report promised warm, sunny weather in the morning.

The “I Hate to Travel Club,” however,  takes weather reports with a grain of salt. We members of the club know very well how weathermen can tell bold-faced lies to hopeful tourists desperate for sunshine to cheer them up. We shall see on the morrow about that promised warm weather. (Continued next week)


Note: I thank Sentinel readers for their kind expressions of sympathy over the loss of my dog, Lord.

posted 02.13.2013

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