Sunday, January 10, 2010
Where Do You Want To Go?
They made sad because I was never going to get to see them. I noted the museum at The Surveyor's House was in DeSmet, South Dakota. I could not imagine ever getting to go there and I knew,my parents would never take me there. We had no reason to travel to South Dakota. I pondered the unfairness of life and that I lived so far away. South Dakota might as well have been New Delhi. It was rather depressing.
My parents never did take me there.
I, however, got there anyway. One time, I worked in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a few weeks. Sioux Falls is about an 1-11/2 hours away from DeSmet. I can't recall how far exactly. Anyway, there was no way I was going to get that close to DeSmet and not go. I took the last day of the business trip as a vacation day, rented a car with my own money, and set off early to realize my childhood dream.
It was a magic day for me. South Dakota is a place visually different from where I live. The clouds were high in the sky and the landscape stretched out far in every direction. The radio plays farm reports and already, in September, there was a cold chill in the air, even though it was a bright sunny day.
I got to the museum and bought a ticket for The Surveyor's House.. I remember saying something like "You have no idea what this means to me." to the woman at the counter and she just looked at me. Of course she did, she probably hears that same line 100 times a week. It was no less true for me though.
When I got over to the house I had to wait a few minutes for someone to come and open it up. While I was waiting, a car pulled and a woman and her son got out while the dad idled at the curb. He finally shut the car off when she motioned for him to. We said hello and I told her I was waiting to go in and asked if she was too. She got all teary eyed and explained that they had already come 30 min out of their way on their journey somewhere else and that her husband didn't want to spend anymore time or money to go in....She said she had always wanted to come here and she was never again going to get the chance so she at least wanted to SEE IT....I got teary too.
To come all that way. And be so close.... And not get to go in. OH MY GOD.....
The door opened and I went in and gave her a little wave as I did. (I guess dreams are like that sometimes aren't they? Some people get to come along, some people don't.)
I stood in the doorway of the pantry which is made up to look like how Laura saw it for the first time.
I stood at the graves of Ma & Pa and Mary Ingalls (Laura and Almanzo are buried in Missouri.) I went to the other museum at Pa & Ma's house. I saw Mary's piano. I stood on Main street where Pa's store had been and tried to imagine a blizzard such that I could not see across the street. I stood at the site of Pa's original claim and TOUCHED THE COTTONWOOD TREES THAT HE PLANTED FOR HIS GIRLS (Can you say chills down my spine!) I saw Laura and Almanzo's claim and imagined a little white house on fire. The entire day I was giddy with excitement.
I thought of this whole post because when I was at Wegmans today I bought a book from the Bargain Table-1000 Places to go in the US & Canada before you die. (Which included the homestead in DeSmet) I've been feeling some wanderlust lately and an intense need for newness. It made me think about all the places I want to go and all the things I want to do before I die and the many morals I could draw from the above story. (From don't give up your dreams to don't marry a man who won't give you an hour to live out one of yours.)
But really, I probably wrote it as a reminder to myself. I do have a lot of places I want to go but sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees. Just like that little girl back in my childhood bedroom who knew she was never going to find herself standing in The Surveyor's House in South Dakota, I doubt. I worry. I plan. I plan to plan. I wonder. I don't always Believe... Belief is hard. Sometimes harder than actual doing. No one taught me that I could do whatever I wanted. WHATEVER I WANTED. I have come to that conclusion on my own. And while I know it to be true, sometimes it bears repeating to my un-trusting mind.
Do you have somewhere that you want to go that you haven't yet?
I have been to the Surveyor's House. It was amazing...