The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, November 10, 2014

On the Road Again

Once again I find myself wide awake in the day's early hours listening to Dear Diane's soft breathing as she sleeps in our hotel room's remarkably comfortable bed. Diane needs more sleep than I so this is a normal occurrence for us, especially when we're traveling. Yesterday she and I spent the day driving north along America's most-traveled corridor, I-95, and ended up in Smithfield, North Carolina.

By the time we arrived at the Holiday Inn Express the sun had set and so Smithfield remains a bit of a mystery. It's one of those towns we have passed by a hundred times in the past but never stopped to see. From what others tell me, it is a farming community known for its excellent hams. But what has intrigued me most about Smithfield is its claim as the birthplace of the late actress, Ava Gardner. I know this because there's a prominent sign on the interstate encouraging travelers to visit the Ava Gardner Museum. We intend to visit the museum this morning and by doing so take away a bit of the mystery surrounding this community.

Actually, in my younger days I, along with a few million others, had a bit of a crush in Ms. Gardner. She was, after all, a beautiful, woman. I really can't comment on her acting ability since that was never an interest. I suppose I was a bit like Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM, who after viewing her screentest demanded that the 18-year-old beauty be signed to a contract. In a telegram Mayer wrote, "She can't sing, she can't act, she can't talk, She's terrific!" Yes, there was just something about her...Anyway, after the museum, we might buy a Smithfield ham, a more than fitting souvenir for a town so closely connected to Hollywood.

We expect to shake the dust of Smithfield from our feet by about noon, and then make our way via the back roads of North Carolina and Virginia to historic Williamsburg. We plan to spend the next four days there with our dear friends, the Lees, and get in touch with a few of our national roots. I'm looking forward to having a meal at Shields Tavern, a Williamsburg establishment dating back to colonial times. Our son, Ethan, who has an interest in the family genealogy, has informed Dear Diane that she is a direct descendant of the Mr. Shields who first opened the tavern. Maybe they'll give us a pint on the house.

It's now time to greet the rising sun and sample the hotel's complimentary breakfast. We have a busy day planned and will need nourishment. More tomorrow.

God's peace...

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