Hello classmates, it's been a while. I owe an apology to Tonya, as she put her story together, and I let my retired duties (how did we ever
have time to work?), consume my time. Now for the treat!
So many times we have had thoughts of our classmates, wondering where they are, what experiences have they had. Did they ever reach
those dreams they talked about. Did they go beyond where even their dreams took them? Have they been blessed?
The following on the Road experience is so unique; it is the answer to many of those questions and reflects the talents of one of our
classmates to put into words those experience's reflecting her courage, her enormous desire to explore, her desire to enjoy nature's best,
and to enjoy the culture of the moment in time. Tonya, the quiet blonde, who hid from most of us her enormous heart and talent for humor
lets it all shine in her "On the Road". Her challenge to each is to do likewise and share your story.
|"On the Road" With Toyna Armstrong Charle
Have you ever spent the night on a bench in the Pocatello, Idaho train depot? Or have you ever ridden in a railroad coach car
with gas lamps and a pot bellied stove on either end (surely this is the same coach Abe Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address
on) as you progressed up the side of a mountain so steep the engine could only take one car at a time to the top?
Have you ever climbed a kazillion wooden steps just to get to the top of Upper Falls in Yellowstone to sit on a rock there and
dangle your feet in the water?
Have you ever been hitchhiking through Yellowstone Park only to look behind you and see a very large brown bear headed your
way at exactly the same pace as yours and then watch him pick up speed as you begin to run?
Have you ever been riding in a vehicle in the Red Lodge Mountains at night with fog so thick you are being guided on the road by
using a spotlight on one side and a flashlight held out the window on the other side knowing full well that there are no guard rails
or anything separating you from an edge that drops off into oblivion?
Have you ever visited the side of London that resembles something out of “My Fair Lady” with the street vendors and the cockney
population and listened to someone say “my ‘ead ‘urts”,only to then board a subway and thirty minutes later be having “high tea”
with the type of people who hold a bended pinky finger in the air when they pick up the teacup? Have you ever gotten tickled at
these same folks and had them stare at you in disbelief?
Have you ever gotten up at daybreak just to watch the sun come up over the ocean in Jamaica and wonder at the blue of the sky
and the ocean as they seem to come together?
Have you ever climbed the falls at Ocho Rios and had your body feel as if you were being stretched on the rack in some dungeon
as the people ahead and behind of you hold your hands in a death grip, knowing that if any of you dropped someone’s hand you
could slip on the rocks and fall the height of those same falls?
Have you ever sat in a beautiful theater and been mesmerized for an hour and a half by one of the greatest female singers of our
time who put on a continuous high intensity performance amidst all the glamor and glitz of the Las Vegas stage?
Have you ever walked in awe and reverence down the walk of state flags that line the entry to Mt. Rushmore and thought with
pride that these were only possible because of the four men whose heads are carved so majestically in that mountain to remind
us that the freedom we enjoy today was not without a cost?
Have you ever been to a Masters Tennis Tournament and watched the legends of the sport compete with the “up and comers”
and appreciate the efforts of both as they give their all not for just the monetary prize but the satisfaction of being in the spotlight
and hoping that that light will shine a little more brightly on them as they take their place in history?
Have you ever sat on a wooden bench in Preservation Hall and listened to some of the most wonderful music ever made or
nursed a “Hurricane “ for hours at Pat O’Briens while you listened to dual pianos as spectacular as in any concert hall? Or been
there when Al Hirt brought the audience to its feet over and over and over?
Have you ever caught a big ole Northern in one of the many beautiful lakes of Canada or watched from the screened in porch of
the cabin as a red fox is pursued by many annoyed geese pecking at him - and all because he ate “Aunt Goosie”?
Well, I been there - done that!
Now at seventy years old I know with certainty that I am NOT world traveled - not even continent traveled but I’ve been “On the
Road” some and these are some of the “Remembrances” from those trips. Could I spend the night on any bench in any train
station now - NOT. Could I even imagine being at the top of the falls let alone find a rock big enough to hold me or then be able to
get up off of - NOT.
We all know hitchhiking is a no-no now and that because of the fires and increase in tourists that bears are not even seen let
alone being able to follow someone down the road. I am not foolish enough at this age to drive on a foggy night on a straight
stretch of highway let alone a mountain pass and I have seen the Continental Divide - an encore is not necessary. As for climbing
slick rocks to get to the top of a waterfall, I can’t even climb on a step ladder without assistance - no thanks, I’ll look at that
waterfall and many others from the observation towers and record it all on my camcorder!!!!
All the other experiences I have had as a “traveler” I would repeat in a heartbeat and as long as this ole body holds up and the
eyes (with the help of these tri-focals) can behold all the beauty and awesome sights of nature and man made magnificence, I
plan on doing just that!
Course, it will depend on gasoline being available for road and air transportation and many things that are going on in this ole
world, but God willing, I’ll be “On the Road” for a good long time.
I still haven’t been on a cruise - seen the Pacific Ocean or traversed the western coastline from Canada to Washington State and
Oregon - Washington, DC is high on the list as well as New York and Broadway or down the eastern coast. Perhaps those of you
who have been there and done these things could tell us in your own “On the Road” experience.
|Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration in Grand Tetons - the most awe inspiring, reverent place I have ever been in
|The Majesty of the Grand Tetons in Grand Teton National Park (beautiful)
|Lake Lodge where I was employed many years ago and returned to visit last year
|The Upper Falls of Yellowstone (where once I sat on the rock and dangled my feet)