(In this thanksgiving season I'm grateful for many things. I have had a good life. Don't get me wrong, I've had times in the refiner's fire throughout my life--as have you, I'm sure. But, there have been many high moments as well. These memorable moments are what our hostess, Mariposa , asks us to share for Fun Monday. Listed below are my "High Fives".)
TRAVEL--I got my first passport in 1971 when I was 25 years old. Since then I've always kept an active passport so I could fly off to a foreign country whenever I got the chance. My first trips out of the U.S. were just across the border to Mexico and Canada. Then I lived and worked in the Caribbean for three years. After coming back to the U.S. I just wanted to see more of the world, always planning and saving my money for the next trip. I was willing to give up what some considered necessities--like air conditioning--for travel. So far, I've visited 18 countries.
In two countries, St Kitts and Ukraine, I lived and worked with the people. On St Kitts I learned what it felt like to be a minority. In Ukraine, I witnessed political unrest and began to understand the struggles of women to advance and support their families in unstable societies. In the other 16 countries, I was simply a traveler, learning to appreciate the people, culture, and natural beauty of each country I visited. Travel educates and entertains. It helps us understand ourselves and others. I have memories of many high five moments from my travels.
BOOT CAMP -- recently Angela and the Lurchers wrote about wanting to own a set of dog tags. She confessed that she didn't actually know where this desire was coming from. I actually earned the dog tags that you see here for the successful completion of a grueling physical fitness boot camp run by an Army drill sergeant. Throughout this camp I experienced both highs and lows--sometimes on the same day! I've written about this before, in fact last week. So briefly, here's what Back to Basics boot camp was all about. For six week intervals about twenty people of all ages and fitness levels met before sunrise five days a week for one hard hour of exercise based on the same program used to whip raw Army recruits into shape. At the end of the six weeks class we were evaluated--weight loss, flexibility, # push-ups/sit-ups in a minute, time to run one mile, measurements, body fat %(augh-tt-t!). At the end of the first six weeks, I had improved in all categories and was awarded these dog tags as proof of it. My buddy Sally and I kept up this program for three years.
WAYFARER'S WALK -- I've written about this before as well, but it definitely belongs on my high five list. In 2003 Sally, my partner in all foolhardy physical trials, and I completed The Wayfarers Coast to Coast walk across northern England. In six days we walked about 80 miles--around the lakes of the Lake District National Park, across the hills and valleys of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and finally across the wild moors of the Vale of York and Cleveland Way in the North Yorkshire National Park. We dipped our boots in the Irish Sea at Newby Bridge on the west side and, after six challenging days of walking, we reached the North Sea at Whitby.
Here you see a group of tired, but triumphant, walkers having a champagne toast on the beach at Whitby. The badge attached here is our finisher's patch--the only one I may ever own! (I'm third from the right standing; Sally is third from right kneeling.)
Well I had another high five moment to cover, but since it's Thanksgiving week will close for now. You're busy trying to figure out which end of the turkey to stuff, laundering sheets for the anticipated (?) company, and wondering exactly when you lapsed into insanity and invited 20 people for dinner on Thursday. One thing that I'm grateful for is all the funny, creative, and interesting people I've met through blogging. There would definitely be fewer high moments in my life without you all. Now head over to Mariposa's place to read about other high five moments. And, I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is all you want it to be.
- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.