This is quite a saga. Prepare for a long read. Get some tea.
FEBRUARY: For the second year in a row, we are not going on our Western Maryland October Sojourn. Happy? Not a bit…but, hey, I’m Ms. Flexible. I just need to get into some trees…some Autumnness. Jim wants to plan this vacation…a fabulous getaway for the 35th anniversary thing. Me? I just need red, yellow, green, brown leaves, please.
MAY: (No reasonable plan is started.) We have had many discussions about Lincoln’s assassination over the last few weeks. He was shot 150 years ago on April 14th, after all. Please know that Jim has talked about seeing the Surratt House, Dr. Mudd’s farm, etc. for a decade. And, we have visited 99% of the Civil War battlefields above the Mason/Dixon line. So, I suggest we meander down South a bit on those highways/byways to explore new history…while enjoying Nature’s wonders. “Sounds good, Kath. I’ll take care of it.”
JULY: The tourism stuff I requested from Charles County and the city of Fredericksburg arrives. *grin* We dig deeper into details RE: tracing John Wilkes Booth’s escape route following the shooting. I make what I think is a very funny joke about our being on the Assassination Tour…kind of like those Grateful Dead folks, but with a morbid twist. Imagine my surprise when my research produces the Assassination Trail, an actual tourist “attraction.” Of course there is. Money to be made, right?
AUGUST/SEPTEMBER: (My) Plans grow and expand to include a visit to Mount Vernon and 2 days in Fredericksburg exploring Colonial Era sites alongside Civil War interests. George Washington was born there. Did you know that?
OCTOBER AND WHAT REALLY HAPPENS: On DAY ONE, we journey to King’s Contrivance, the place where we were married. We have not been back since that day. Such a good idea…and Jim’s idea. The oak tree under which we exchanged vows is gone but “marked” by plantings all round it. Then on deeper into Columbia to watch “The Martian” in the fabulous theater there. Score again! On to my mother’s for dinner, conversation and an overnight. Lovely.
DAY TWO, up-and-out! Since the majority of our trip is in Charles County, Jim wants to drive down Rt. 210 – the main drag of my youth – to Indian Head. I was literally born and raised there. Zoom, zoom, zoom.
Finally, off to track Booth, the Villian. Too much to write about here but I am continually overwhelmed by the knowledge that History Happens Right Here throughout the entire day. While we have recognized this for years, the weight of this particular page in Our Story brought that forward again and again.
Two things I must share.
*Dr. Mudd’s house breathes with the day-to-day life of that time, of children running/laughing, pots clanking and food cooking; yet, something sinister hangs at the fringes there, as well. I’m relieved to leave it.
*After escaping the Pine Thicket – an A-list item for Jim – Booth travels south a few miles and crosses the Potomac into Virginia. As we arrive at that spot, I can not believe what I see.
There sits Capt’n Billy’s Crab House. The very crab house my grandparents and I visited several times a season throughout my entire childhood. Seriously? No historical markers back then. So, who knew?
History Happens Right Here.
While my story thus far surely shows our like minds in interests and thinking, let me continue.
After Dr. Mudd’s house, we are heading to Mary Surratt’s house outside Clinton. We are traveling backwards, remember. As we are leaving, we look at each other and both say “Can we just go home?”
And, we did. I decided to stop chasing Autumn and let it come to me this time round; we enjoyed days with no schedule and real relaxation. Like minds. Nothing better.