Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Do All Roads Lead Home? Let's Test That!

"It will be your most amazing day ever!" 

So said my husband's early morning text. I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen if I remained on the couch, lost in the time suck that is Facebook. 

What to do? What to do?

I knew I was going to have to get dressed, and get moving for this amazingness to take place. By eight o'clock, I was not only dressed, but had even managed to paint my nails. I laced up my tangerine walking shoes, and filled my backpack with the necessities I thought I'd need. I was determined to have an adventure: an OUTOOR experience on this fine, spring day.

Into my backpack I added my water bottle, camera, journal, iPad, and just in case, my wallet. I set off for the river, which is only a mile and a half from home. I figured I'd walk into Saint Charles and do a little exploring. By the time I returned home, I hoped I'd have a three mile walk under my belt. 
Fox River, Saint Charles
I was entertained by the sign at the river bridge. Who knew Mother Goose's feathers get ruffled this time of year?

After a quick pit stop at the municipal building, I was drawn to the Arcedium Coffeehouse. I ordered a large cup of coffee, and was happy to discover that since I would be staying, I would be given a large mug for the price of a medium, with free refills. Once I obtained WiFi access for my iPad, I was set for my two favorite guilty pleasures: hot coffee and Facebook. 

The time there passed quickly, texting and playing Words with Friends with Chuck, and "eavesdropping" on the conversation behind me. Is it eavesdropping if the speaker has a loud, booming voice that could be heard by everyone on our side of the coffeeshop? I was irritated by the older man's big voice, until I noticed his storytelling rhythm was similar to Daddy's, then I settled in, and let his words have their way with my ears.                                                                                                                           
"Denise, I want to tell you something," I heard my father say, as the gentleman told his friend, "I've got a story to tell you." Yes, as soon as I recognized his conversational resemblance to Daddy, the obnoxiously loud man was promoted to a "gentleman." 

As he talked, there were long, pregnant pauses, as he let his points sink in to his associate, and I could imagine him batting his eyes open and closed, quickly, several times in a row, just as Daddy would do while he was making sure he had his listener's full, undivided attention.

When I went back to the counter for my free refill, the loud gentleman ended up behind me in line. 

"Dirty Chai?" I heard him say to no one in particular. "What in the HELL is a Dirty Chai?" I knew, but I wasn't in the mood to engage in conversation. 

When it was his turn, he asked the barista about the drink. He ordered his own refill, and joined me in front of the cream and sweeteners. "It's the espresso that makes it a Dirty Chai; go figure!" he said, again quite loudly. I smiled politely and nodded, and headed back to my leather chair. 

What would I do next? Since I would have about three miles in by returning home, I decided to wind up my adventure by heading that way now. 

Not so long ago, when I was Saint Charles' newest resident, I remember my eyes glazing over as my husband Chuck tried to explain THE LAY OF THE LAND to me. Today I would come to wish I had paid better attention to some of the things he had tried to teach me.

I walked down Main Street, and was feeling quite confident when I saw the sign for 9th Street. Yay! That was familiar. Or so I thought. I strode past, thinking I'd just take 12th Street and head over to Adams Avenue. 

Okay, boys and girls. Can you tell me the difference between a street and an avenue? This is the little detail that I had ignored before when Chuck's voice sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher to me. "Wa-wa-wa. Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa." I didn't think too much about it, until I came to a peculiar little overpass through which I would be passing to enter a very industrial-looking area.

To be honest, I still don't know the difference between a street and an avenue, but I do know this. I live on a road with AVENUE in its name. Apparently, on the east side of the river, in "our neck of the woods," all of the roads are named AVENUES, so my first clue that something was wrong SHOULD have been when I saw 9th STREET. I was on the WEST side of the river. (A-hem. Sorry for not paying attention to my geography lesson, Honey.)

I went merrily on my way, still in my "adventure" state-of-mind, oblivious to the fact that I was walking farther and farther from home, and deeper and deeper into the industrial district of Saint Charles. 

By the way, if you have need of a new deck on your house, I can tell you where Mike's Decks is. Or perhaps you have a child interested in gymnastics? There is a very large building that houses the Saint Charles Gymnastics Academy, alongside many other warehouse types of structures along the Foundry Road. 

Eventually common sense kicked in, and even though my phone was losing its battery charge quickly, I decided I'd better turn on my GPS, and get some assistance. about that? Somehow I was now over three miles from home. How did THAT happen? And I was being told to retrace the last couple of miles I'd just walked. Ugh. 

Oh, well, it was an adventure I wanted; it's an adventure I received. Chuck called during his lunch hour during my walkabout. 

"Where ARE you? That picture you sent of the bridge is nothing I've ever seen in the decades I've lived in Saint Charles." I explained my predicament, and apologized for not paying better attention when he had tried to explain the set up of the city. We had a good laugh as I headed back into town. 

I told Chuck I have a bit of my mother in me, apparently. Mom has a heck of a time with directions, but unlike Mom, it doesn't really faze me to not know where I am. I figure all roads lead home, eventually, right? 

Lucky for me, I discovered that Forever Yogurt was proudly displaying its NOW OPEN banner. LUNCH! My wallet came in handy for that little stop. There were so many yummy choices to choose from that I had to go with my top three flavors: Red Velvet, Coconut, and Peanut Butter Cup. The adventure has taken a sweet turn, thankfully. I headed up the hill to the library, where I took a well-deserved break from walking for a few minutes, before trudging the last mile home. 

What started out as a three-mile goal turned into a 6.2 mile adventure. Before too long, I could see our house in the distance, and I was very thankful to see it. Apparently, you CAN get here from there, even if I was beginning to have my doubts. Yes, all roads lead home, but it's a lot quicker trip when you're headed in the right direction from the start.


  1. So glad I caught up with you and your new post. A few days ago you suddenly popped into mind and I was wondering how you were doing. Glad to hear you got home!! And its a lovely one at that. Hugs!

    1. Thank you, Sheila! It's funny what a day of non-Facebooking will lead to. ;-)


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