nickle visits.

i will miss the winding drives through the mountain between h-burg and c-ville. especially this time of year when there is color everywhere.

my senior year of high school i participated in the national young leaders conference. we stayed at the 4-h youth conference center. only six years later i’d be going to church every sunday just down the street. i was there the week of halloween. it was my first experience with fall. as we were shuttled from monument to museum i stared out the window eagerly pointing out the red, orange and yellow trees i saw. kids with accents from all over the country filled the bus. they all turned to stare at me. one guy said, “where are you from!?” when i said arizona they understood.

i must have liked the trees because i came back. i lived in a red brick building at the bottom of m street. i went running on the national mall. i rode the metro every day. i saw gettysburg, the liberty bell and mount vernon. i watched fourth of july fireworks at the lincoln memorial reflecting pond. and i made great friends.

i describe laura as the funniest girl alive. and although i’m known to exaggerate… that isn’t the case here. last year laura said, “let’s go to peru for the 4th of july.” and we actually did and that trip out of all my trips was the best, most drama-free experience (and the scenery of machu picchu – or macho paycho as her congressman boss calls it – wasn’t too bad either.) laura came home with a slightly expanded vocabulary, “bueno” “hola” and “te amo” and she also came home with about a dozen finger puppets because she just couldn’t turn down the little beggar childrens’ request for “un sol.”

a few weeks ago we set out for another adventure, more reminiscent of our barlow center summer. after eric (also a fellow GPAATO* traveler) wined and dined us for a grand total of about $22 at harrisonburg’s acclaimed jess’ lunch, he drove on to west virginia and laura and i headed to monticello. much like machu picchu, monticello (italian for little mountain) stands atop a mountain looking for miles across the green valley. we took the plantation tour… and the guide ended it so eloquently, we almost sealed it with a heartfelt “amen.” he spoke of looking past the contradictory facts that made thomas jefferson who he was… and looking forward to the people that monticello produced.

we entered the foyer of his home which was more like a museum… showcasing maps of africa and the western states, native american artifacts and antlers. i wanted to flip through his endless libraries and spend time writing in his tea room… it’s amazing that that estate, his home, has up until that time just been spare change tinkling in my pocket.

*greatest peruvian adventure of all time


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