I hadn’t really expected to see what I saw, couldn’t help but remember a photo she sent me so many years previous. She looked painfully thin and she held a rose between her teeth. She didn’t look well back then, didn’t look as if she would be within the land of the living much longer and I must admit, I wasn’t sure I would ever get to see her in this life. It’s almost funny how things happen though, as if she was meant to live, wasn’t meant to die, as so many doctors had told her she would. If it’s not meant to be; it’s just not meant to be. Doctors can only do so much, are only human. I don’t think it matters what they say really because only God has the final word.
I think I managed a weak hello, hugged her and went with her to the car. It was the strangest feeling. For years we had spoken of this day and just one year previous, I had almost made it, two times. I breathed a sigh of relief as I seated myself, my luggage resting in the trunk. I wound the window down, my lungs filling with an early summer, Minnesota breeze and we left the parking lot. America was waiting, like a long lost friend and I could hardly believe my eyes.
I have been to several countries over the years, although never to an English speaking one. I felt really at home, was perfectly able to read the traffic signs, just as I would have been able to back home in England. As you know by now, I moved away from England many years ago. I haven’t even been home since 2007, Sweden is my home now. In Minnesota it was almost as if I was in both England and Sweden though, almost like Sweden but in English. The countryside is very similar to the Swedish countryside, especially up near Duluth.
That evening, my first evening in America, I sat with Rosie out on the deck at her place, in Litchfield. Insects sounded all around us and a softly scented breeze fought to keep the mosquitoes away. I felt like a king, even if a jet lagged one. Rosie had already planned several events for me, although she assured me we would have time to take in the sights and sounds of the Midwest. I guess it was quite late when I went off to sleep, am not really sure. I do know one thing though. I had just fallen asleep when I was woken up by a deep droning sound. It went on and on and on and…
The next morning I discovered it was a train I had heard during the night. I began to wonder if I was going crazy. That sound couldn’t have been from a train, it went on much too long to be a train. I seated myself at the kitchen table with a weary yawn and suddenly, it happened again. I had to go outside, to see this for myself. In fact, it became a bit of a game for me, counting carriages. One evening I counted one hundred and sixty-eight of them…wow! For somebody living in Europe, it’s hard to imagine something so long, a huge iron snake cutting through the countryside. America sure is a big place.
It took a couple of days before I was ready to take on America. One of the first things I wanted to do was to buy food, lots and lots of food. Rosie took me to Wal-Mart. What a place. It wasn’t the size of the place that got to me, wasn’t the huge assortment of foods and drinks. No, it was the greeting lady, “Hello…welcome to Wal-Mart.” I looked at her, looked behind me, looked toward Rosie and thought, she can’t mean me and when we left, “Goodbye, thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart.” What a place. I went shopping just to have somebody welcome me into the store and to wish me a good day!
Have a happy Wednesday … continuation on Friday.