We are back on the road again! I am sitting on the sofa of our mobile living room writing this as Dan drives through Illinois to our destination, Saint Louis. We will lumber into Kentucky and Illinois, then plant down in Missouri for two nights. Actually, we will park twenty miles from the city, in St. Charles. Campgrounds are usually on the outskirts of town where wood fires burn and big rigs fit. Yes, my perch is very bumpy and jiggly. Such is the plight of an RV writer. Miles pass with every word!
After an entertaining stay in Nashville where we walked over the Cumberland River via beautiful Shelby Bridge, tried out several colorful bars along twanging, crooning Broadway where budding country singers belted out heart and soul, visited the Johnny Cash Museum to hear just about every song he sang throughout his tumultuous career, bought cowboy hats, and I tried on a dozen different boots while Dan shook his head sympathetically. No Cinderella am I. Nevertheless, my Prince took me to dinner at the Grand Ol Opry Hotel!
Our second day was quieter but just as interesting as the country hoopla. We meandered through Andrew Jackson’s huge estate, The Hermitage, where the country’s infamous leader’s tempest passion was palpable. Especially poignant and heart rendering were the acres of land used as slave quarters and their buried labor. History has a way of reminding us of our sins and inspiring us to strive to be better. Only God can help us in this endeavor.
Another highlight of our trek was my visit to Parnassus Bookstore, owned and operated by Nashville resident and acclaimed author, Ann Patchett. The charming store, created to prove that hometown book stores can thrive, is a book lover’s – and writer’s _ dream come true. Every book is displayed on wooden shelves tables like trophies to imagination, passion, and information. Comfy leather chairs and sofa welcome guests to “Come on in and read!” while words whisper in the air. I wanted to touch every book!
We departed Nashville somewhat reluctantly because there still was so much to see. But our itinerary had been set, so deeper and higher into the country we must go. Evidently, our motor coach also thought twice about leaving. With everything packed, the car and bikes secure and hooked up, and all of the lines detached, Dan pushed the button operating our jacks (the stabilizers under the rig that keep us from getting seasick) and got only a squealing response. Phone calls to RV mechanics, an appeal to the overbooked Camping World attendant, and advice from several friendly but confounded neighbors were to no avail. It appeared we were stuck in the ground in Nashville. As a last resort, muttering, “I know this won’t work”, Dan turned on the engine and pushed the jacks button. Whoosh, like a tired beast pulling out of bed, the jacks retracted! Dan still wonders what happened. Perhaps my frantic prayer was some help. God is following us, right?
Sudden delays while traveling in an RV are teaching opportunities. Dan and I are not the best of students. While Captain Dan operates best on immediacy, command, and vexation, I, the yeoman, prefer clarity, conversation, and respect. We have wrestled with our opposite operating personalities, I confess. Due to his perseverance, skill, and- uh – command, I am learning the difficult lesson of smiling silence and prayer. It works every time. The Lord is so very patient. And persistent.
As I wrotethis travel log, we passed a heavily barbed-wire fence surrounding a prison, seas of corn still growing, and a crooked ash-red building with a faded sign, “Sunshine Stove Clean”. These are what God wants me to absorb, and to share – He came to let the prisoner free, to nourish the hungry and poor of spirit, and to make us all whiter than snow. How fruitful the journey!