Our readers share tales of their rambles around the world.
Who: Karin Kerby of Leesburg and her 10-year-old grandson, Ian Kerby, of Round Hill, Va.
Where, when, why: We took a 10-day Civil War road trip across the South. My grandson’s interest in the Civil War, coupled with our desire to visit friends and family this summer, inspired us to make the trip fun by plotting a course that took us from Virginia, across Tennessee and Arkansas, to Texas, then back through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas, stopping along the way at major battlefields and parks.
Highlights and high points: My grandson said that if we hadn’t driven, he would have missed seeing the Mississippi River, which wowed him with its size. The old Shiloh church, handmade of logs and pegs, on the Shiloh battlefield was fascinating. Vicksburg battlefield’s over-the-top monuments, Mobile Bay in Alabama and Stone Mountain in Georgia were all exciting to see. Finally, driving over the ridge west of Dallas and seeing the Great Plains suddenly appear and extend as far as the eye could see, with the big, big sky, was breathtaking.
Cultural connection or disconnect: We made it a point to sit on porches and visit, Southern style. We experienced the dry heat of Texas followed by the drippingly humid nights in Mobile. However, the lesson was in the value of slowing down and enjoying life, no matter where you are in the South, with a glass of sweet tea and a slice of peach pie.
Biggest laugh or cry: We had a 4 a.m. wake-up call in a hotel in Texarkana from someone posing as the front desk clerk trying to get personal information “for the files.” It was a clear attempt at identity theft — one I hadn’t heard of before. Trying to work with the management on the gross lack of security has been unsuccessful. Thankfully, I didn’t give out any information, unlike other guests whom they admitted this had happened to.
How unexpected: My grandson likes science as well as history, so our stop at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, Tenn., was probably the actual highlight of the trip. We spent the bulk of a day there, with him gleefully exploring each and every exhibit, as well as taking part in the hands-on physics lab. I had to practically pull him away from this unexpected stop on our journey.
Fondest memento or memory: Spending 10 solid days with a young grandson is a priceless memory in and of itself. The long conversations about life, the opportunity to impart a fraction of my life’s experiences and wisdom in the areas of love, war, hate, conflict and civil rights were deeply important. I will always remember most, though, the sight of him running barefoot in the dusk in a yard in Alabama, chasing fireflies, free and innocent as any 10-year-old should be.