Road trips. Love ‘em. Short, long, it doesn’t matter. As with life, it’s not the final destination that counts. It’s the journey that makes memories and transforms you…
If you are the “Are we there yet” type of person, you’re missing a few of the great aspects of the road trip. Each ticking moment grants the chance to break free from the normal routines of life. It’s an opportunity to make pit stops at unforeseen and often scary locales.
Thoughts run as deep as miles on road trips. It’s a chance for downtime and reflection. It’s your chance to reconnect to your road trippin’ partner when life has thrown up roadblocks in your usual schedule. And if you’re driving, you don’t bother with reading emails, texting, or about being chained to your phone.
The code of the road states (or maybe it’s just my code) that you can deviate from your normal diet and eat a grease-filled breakfast at Denny’s, or a truck stop diner. You can enjoy soft served ice cream at roadside creameries. And, it’s definitely an opportunity to sample the brew from the local craft breweries.
It’s your chance to see your surroundings in all their glory and meet the people that reside there.
St. Louis or Bust
Last month, my husband and I took a road trip to St. Louis. I scored a free hotel stay and concert tickets to see Luke Bryan and Little Big Town. My mantra is why not. And indeed, why not? So fueled up on Starbucks’ lattes, we set out on our journey to visit the “Show Me State” and to say hello to the arch.
No good road trip is complete without taking full advantage of the surrounding area and visiting places that you would never intentionally set out to visit.
Historic Route 66 runs through that part of Missouri so you can better believe that I was going to see the Wagon Wheel Motel (the oldest continuously operated motel on Rt. 66) and the largest rocking chair in the world.
Why? No other reason than to say that I’ve seen it. That’s good enough for me.
Driving down Rt. 66, I spotted it – a sign: Antiques.
There are two places I lose myself. Book stores and antique stores. Both places have a way of taking me in and making me a part of them.
Antique stores, in particular, call out to me. As I touch the objects, I can almost feel the heartbeat of time skipping through lost generations. I feel transported back in history.
I know that every object carries a story. Sadness. Happiness. Who knows?
But there’s always a story.
Robert and Ethel (main pic is original post card)
In every antique store, I search for postcards from the past. I found one particularly interesting that day. A postcard from 1909.
The front of the card had an image of a man and woman dressed in their finest with the inscription on the postcard reading “Your voice is as sweet as the rose I hold in my hand. Will you keep it in memory of this hour?”
When I flipped it over, the note that was written to Ms. Ethel Wills on November 22, 1909, said:
“I will be there Sunday night at 8:00 p.m.”
But it was the cryptic message in the upper left hand corner that sparked my thoughts – and my imagination.
It said simply, “My name is under the stamp.” Sure enough, you can see the imprint of the stamp and the name of Robert that was written in that space.
What was this? What was I reading? A star-crossed or unrequited love? A secret love? Did Ethel even know Robert or was Robert merely a version of a modern day cyber stalker who was using the medium at the time to frighten Ms. Ethel Wills?
So many questions. So many thoughts.
As Robert was writing those words to Ethel, I’m sure he would never imagine that 107 years later that I would be reading the words he had written. I don’t know the story behind Robert and Ethel, but I feel as if I’ve somehow invaded their privacy and am sharing it for all to see. I hope he doesn’t mind.
But Robert gives us a stark reminder of how the actions we take live on and touch people that we may or may not know.
That’s our legacy.
Legacies are funny things. You don’t have to be Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, or Oprah Winfrey to have a great legacy. Being a billionaire genius or famous entrepreneur isn’t what makes a legacy.
All you have to be is you.
You may not care about your legacy. Fair enough.
But what if you do?
The mistake we make in thinking about legacies is that it’s an afterthought – something that we leave behind rather than thinking about it in present terms. We fail to realize that we control the legacy we are leaving every day.
If you don’t like the way your legacy is unfolding, change it. The decisions you make, actions you take, and the influence you have on others impact what is said, remembered, and revealed about you.
If you care about your legacy, you have to invest time, energy, and strength into connecting with life and with others in a way that truly matters. If you want to leave a great legacy, plant the seeds of transformation now and watch as they grow.
A small snippet of Robert’s legacy has lived on and it’s in my possession. I’ll never know if he made it see Ethel on that Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. I hope they were able to live a good life, full of joy instead of sorrows.
I’ll protect his postcard while it’s in my possession and maybe one day, 107 years from now another person meandering through whatever version of a store or shopping mechanism there will be at that time, can find this postcard from the past.
Legacies cross generations so the postcard will always be a reminder that if you want a legacy that matters, it’s your actions of today that will take it into the future.
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