Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rabies, Mud, and Palm Trees

Well, no sooner am I back from Pennsic War up in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, but I had to take off to Isle of Palms here in South Carolina for a family gathering.

I had one whole day to do laundry. I started when I rolled out of bed Monday morning and didn't stop till I went to bed late that night.

I'm kind of sick of being inside a moving car. I'm just saying.

The week before that involved me getting bitten by a feral cat and the cat having to be quarentined for rabies observation. That's always a laff riot when you're already freaking out about driving a day and a half away from your kid. I didn't particularly want to have to send the cat to the shelter in the first place, nor was I all that interested in getting a call while I was that far away from home on vacation that I needed a a series of injections before I started foaming at the freaking mouth. Fun times.

In case you're curious, no, I don't have rabies.

So I'm typing this sitting in the kitchen of a rental house. At least here, I have Internet access, which I didn't have at Pennsic.

I used to go to Pennsic every year, but then I got sick and needed surgery, and then 10 months after that, I got pregnant, and then after that, my daughter was too small to leave...in other words, I had some adventures along the way and life intervened. Which is fine, it's been a great ride. But the husband decided that this year I needed to get out of the house, go reconnect with friends, and visit my old life a little bit.

Well, I was terrified. You'd think I would have wanted to go, and did. I wanted to go, but I didn't want to leave, if you understand me. If it hadn't been for a friend riding with me, and me being her only way there, I would have bailed out.

I have to tell you this...for the past six years, I've been having this dream about Pennsic. Those who have been to Pennsic know that Pennsic can pervade your very heart and soul, and while you may not be there at Pennsic, Pennsic never quite leaves you once it gets into you. My dream was this: I would be going to Pennsic just long enough to tell everyone I wouldn't be there. Just drop in and let everyone know (never mind that in reality, it takes me a day and a half to get there) I was sorry to be missing them again that year.

Yeah. I know, it's nuts, but hey, dreams don't always make sense.

When I showed up at the Pennsic gate this year, in a flash of crazy synchronicity, Cinderella's "Coming Home" started playing on the radio. And for at least a day or two, I could not shake the feeling I was dreaming again. Every time I'd been there for the past six years, it had been in a dream. Now that I was standing under the Pennsylvania sun, the Queen Anne's Lace waving in the breeze and the sticky, cow-manure scented mud cloying around my boots, I could not shake the feeling that I was once again dreaming. Although I had no message to deliver this time. This time, I didn't have to tell anyone I wasn't going to be coming.

So I walked down to the camp of a wonderful friend who I had never met. We'd been corresponding since the year I'd gotten sick. We'd talked on the phone and via email. She was one of the first people I told I was pregnant. I knew all about when her son went to Iraq, and when he returned. We were wonderful friends...we'd just never met.

I walked into her camp and she ran to me and it was like embracing a family member whom I'd been long separated from. That alone was worth the trip.

Yeah, I cried like a damn sap.

But then there was many others who I had yearned to give a hug or a handshake to, and old friends who I never imagined I'd be separated from so long to see. My week was a wonderful blur of connecting with friends old and new. I'll never take friends for granted again.

And for my daughter, who stayed home with her Daddy, well, she fared far better than I did during the week. Daddy kept her busy and the week sailed by for her. I was the one who cried on the phone while talking to her, not the other way around.

I'm glad I finally got to make my long trip. I was never so glad to have gone. And even so, I have never been so glad to return home.

I count my wealth by the love in my life. And I am filthy rich. Life is good.