Posted tagged ‘Ouagadougou’

“Never hesitate to go far away, beyond all seas, all frontiers, all countries, all beliefs.”

June 22, 2017

Today is lovely. I woke up to a blue sky and the brightest eye squinting sunshine I’ve seen in a while. My house is comfortably cool. Outside my window, I can see chickadees on the branches munching sunflower seeds. None of the leaves of the oak tree are blowing. It is a still day.

Though Gracie ate on Tuesday, around midnight she started panting and walking from room to room. She’d sit on the couch for a bit then get up and walk some more. Around 12:30 am, I took her to the emergency vet for the third early morning in a row. She was given anti-nausea medication which settled her down. The vet told me that this was treating only a symptom. I already knew that. She suggested a battery of tests, most of which I probably can’t afford.

Last night was different. During the day, she ate two small cans of dog food, not her usual as I was tempting her taste buds. She ate treats, new treats. She napped and last night slept through the night. I had anti-nausea pills for her, but she didn’t need them. She and Maddie, the cat, are having their morning naps now. I’m going to take one later. I am exhausted.

The best part of any summer has always been having empty days to fill.  When I was a kid, it was games and crafts at the local playground. I’d be there all day. During high school, I did little on summer days, but I was never bored. When I was in college, it was a summer job which I didn’t really mind. Working in the post office was easy and paid well. The pace was slow. Europe filled my summers when I was a teacher. My trips generally lasted 4 to 5 weeks. I knew how to travel on little money. I slept in hostels or on night buses. I ate as cheaply as possible sometimes buying bread and sandwich fixings. I found bars where I could get a drink and eat my way through happy hour. I had only a broad itinerary open to change. It was a wonderful way to travel. They were some of my favorite summers.

Posting my Ghana pictures yesterday got me thinking about the faraway places I love. Ghana, of course, is my favorite. The rest are in no order, no preference. Old Quito is on that list. The narrow streets, the old buildings, the colors and the women’s hats still have a prominent place in my memory drawers. I loved Portugal and Morocco and the Roman ruins in Italy. Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso was my second favorite spot in Africa. It was my weekend getaway. The beauty of the Andes took my breath away. On overnight bus rides, stops at roadside restaurants where the menus were in languages I didn’t understand and peeing in a hole in the little house in the back were part of the adventure. In Morocco and in Ghana I found out that thitting the hole is a lifetime skill.

I don’t travel summers anymore, but I keep my passport up to date just in case.

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”

October 22, 2012

The weather, other than Friday’s rain, was lovely all weekend. Though I had missed the peak foliage in New Hampshire, in Mont Vernon, there was still enough color to make every view spectacular especially the one from the top of a hill close to Bill and Peg’s house. Stretched out in front of me were rows and rows of trees in reds and yellows. The whole scene, unblemished by wires or houses or roads, made me think impressionism, of a panoramic painting left as a gift for all of us.

Gracie, other than when she jumped out of the car and started running up and down the street as soon as we arrived, was a perfect guest. Bill walked her all over including a 2 and 1/2 mile hike on Saturday and a shorter but more memorable walk on Sunday when Gracie saw her first porcupine and was unfazed. By the end of the weekend, she had settled right in and on Sunday morning was stretched on the couch between Peg and me with her head resting on Peg while she napped and snored.

I hadn’t seen my friends in forty-one years. We were in Bolga together for a year and have the most amazing shared memories. We even have many of the same pictures, and their living room has several of the same Ghanaian crafts I have in mine. Our reunion was seamless, as if I had been with them all along in time. We laughed a lot remembering things like our motorcycle accidents, his and mine were both caused by goats, and the trips we took together to Ouagadougou, Togo and Benin, which was Dahomey in our day. We had dinner together most nights in Bolga, and Bill remembered endless meals of goat. In one picture of theirs, both our motorcycles, his red and mine grey, were parked in front of their side of the duplex. Bill asked why I had parked there as if we could conjure the memory, as if it were just a few weeks ago. The weekend made me realize that Bill and Peg are the dear friends I’ve held tightly in my memories all these years, older, but mostly unchanged.


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