The Trip Back East- July 21

On the subway ride to the rental car place yesterday It occured to me that what was surfacing from my memory of the three days in Manhattan were the street musicians: the young man playing Tchaikovsky in the Staten Island Ferry station, the old quitarist in the shadow of the Central Park bridge playing “Dreams of the Alhambra”, the flutist on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the man with the pan pipes in the subway station. All the humidity and noise and crowd were filtering away and what was emerging was a sort of elegant drama in separate acts accompanied by music. Amazing how we do that! We are constantly sifting through our experiences and then shaping and molding the memories into something else, something better or something worse. Or rather, something with meaning. I guess the experiences themselves have no meaning at all until they get inside us and become the materials of our memory-making. We are all artists.

Compared to Menno House, Aunt Peggy’s place is the lap of luxury. We’re staying in her basement, which has a bedroom, bathroom and open area with a pool table even. No more trips down the stairs in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. And there’s a frig with a cold water and ice dispenser! Most importantly, however, is that we’re the loved relatives here, not the random middle aged folks blocking the hallway. Peggy is the only sibling of Silas’s Dad who died in a boating accident when Silas was 12. I think Peggy has a special place in her heart for Silas, her brother’s only male off-spring. But then again, Peggy has a big heart with seemingly endless room for special places. Her old dog, Bailey, was apparently so excited to see us that he had a bit of an accident in Silas’s lap. He’s the same dog who was here to greet us when we visited Aunt Peggy years ago when we lived in New York.

Today we braved the heat wave and drove into D.C. to spend the day in the Natural History Museum and the Museum of American History (conveniently located right next to each other to minimize the walking in 100 degrees). Between the car, the museum and Peggy’s house, I actually spent most of the day feeling cold.

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