Another Library, another entry! I am on Rt 52 in some small town- I don't even know where exactly but on a scenic road on the Ohio River- and I saw the universal library sign and my car simply turned involuntarily! One of the things that hit me is that I have not been afraid the whole trip (so far!), thought I have been careful, of course. Last night I stayed at a large trucker motel ($43.50 with AAA discount) where I can assure you I was the only single female late middle aged traveler.
I realized this when I walked across the parking lot to the Lounge for dinner. The first sign that greeted me was "No Fire Arms Aloud." Of course I wondered immediately if silent firearms were permitted, or if firearms with silencers were okay. The next sign informed me that Men and Women must were shirts, shoes and no short shorts. Somehow, in this overwhelmingly masculine world, men in short shorts seemed unlikely.
The music was LOUD but the food was good. On the way back across the parking lot two groups of men, in their twenties and thirties, invited me to join them for beer, but I cheerfully declined. Marc is right, I am now dating my GPS system exclusively, despite her no-nonsense voice and her frustration at my unwillingness to stay on major highways. (See MakeMarc's comment to last entry).
I don't know why the print changed, either, but, oh well, every machine I touch seems to have a mind of its own these days, even my car! She is running well, but only wants to go slow up hills and mountains in no passing zones when we have a huge truck behind us. The rest of the time she wants to speed up hill and down dale!
Now, back to Judy and Virginia. I have been reading their journals since early on in J-Land history, and had gone back to read all the earlier entries when I stumbled upon them. When they picked me up at the Hotel Friday night I had thesame reaction I did with Mortimer, within ten minutes we were talking, and really never stopped till the dropped me off Sunday afternoon.
It's nice to be with a couple who takes care of each other, but don't seem too joined at the hip. Judi worried about Virginia getting enough to eat (she's a vegetarian who does not like vegetables), and Virginia worried about the Art Center taking advantage of Judi's willingness to be helpful, but neither in a neurotic way.
Saturday morning we went to the Zoo-my one request-and after checking out the tigers and lions, headed right for the Invertebrate Exhibit, where they volunteer. They were really just showing me around, but fell into their interpreter roles immediately, both for me, and anyone else in the vicinity. It was fascinating, and I learned a lot. I had no idea invertebrates make up most of the creatures on earth! Though I live near Mystic Aquarium, and some of their specimens actually came from Mystic, I had never heard most of what they patiently explained.
Then we went behind the scenes and hung out, meeting a couple of the scientists who are the exhibit keepers, hearing bits of zoo gossip..er..news and then, as a total highlight of the Zoo visit, it was time for Judi to feed the octopus. What a creature, a specimen in his (her? I can't remember!) prime! I had watched him being fed earlier from out front, watched as he rose to the top of the tank, spreading his tentacles wide, perfect suction cups down to the very end of each arm, opening his mouth-a beak in the center of his tentacles-to engulf the shrimp offered to him. I found him to beamazing.
Then Judi invited me up the steps to the top of the tank, where she was going to give him another shrimp, this time in a tube like toy, so he would have to work a bit for his food . We hung over the top of the tank and Judi gently rippled the water. He came right up to her, tentacles reaching out to embrace the tree-like trunk in the water. We both gently poured water on to his exposed body.
Slowly he pulled his head out of the water and onto the trunk, and lay there looking at us, while his arms delicately moved to hold onto the branches for balance. Each suction cup down to the very end was perfect, his skin turning colors , from grayish to orangey to reddish, as he balanced on the tree limb and looked at us. I began to cry.
Judi gently let the toy down into the water, where he grasped it, fished around the tube with his agile tentacles, extracted the shrimp, ate it, then when we stopped plashing water onto him, let go of the tree and re-submerged to look out at the crowd which had gathered below. (Yes, he can see them.) It was such an unexpected connection with a sea creature that I was moved beyond all expectation. In fact, it was the biggest gift the two of them could ever have given me, and I will treasure it as such.
More about my visit with them, and Charlottesville eventually, but tomorrow I get to meet Kas and her family and I am so excited! I will try to keep in touch.
Many Blessings, Margo