Well, everything is changed about. I had planned to take a vacation in Miami - maybe chill out, do some small projects, hang out with some local folks whom I never see (for no good reason).
Instead I got a phone call on Friday that my great aunt is very sick, deathbed sick, and so I decided to head north to see her.
I took the motorcycle (1500miles in under 48hours). I broke the trip visiting Riposte and her Grandfather in SC, which was lovely as I'd not seen her in 2 years. Before that was also a couple of years. And before that was 2 years. I hope this does not become more of a pattern than it is. It was so good to see her again - she amazingly looks exactly the same as she did when I first met her, way back in the Athens days. And she still has that razor sharp mind. I love my friends in no small part because I walk away from them with questions and ideas I didn't have before I saw them. In this particular case I'll be looking at some theological writings.
The trip itself was great but so fucking cold. I was fine until I hit the outskirts of Baltimore when night was falling. After that it was a series of short hops where I'd stop to warm up (but not to get too sweaty-warm, which would make you colder as the sweat chills) before doing the next bit. I think the gear for the trip back will be stepped up a bit to be more windproof. Apart from the cold I had no physical problems at all. I think much of that is the new seat/backrest that I made after the last long trip on Bess left me cramped and achy. I didn't put floorboards on Sherry but the stock pegs did very well.
The roadways were largely clear, except for 95 just north of the GW bridge - that qualifies as off roading. I got air twice off frost heaves. But apart from that, it was awesome to deal with changes in elevation as well as actual curves. Sherry is a great bike with more than adequate power. However she really shines in cornering and FL really does not give much oppertunity to ride her that way. FL's more of a straight line power kind of riding. CTs all twisty and folded - Sherry just sails along with aplomb.
I miss CT. I'm excited to see hardwood trees again and pines. The leaves are just turning and the air is full of that fall crispness that transmits distant scents and makes you conscious of each breath. I'm doing a bicycle ride with H tomorrow and will try to do a small hike on the mountain before I go.
Tonight Youngest Brother and I had an excellent dinner at a local Italian place - we also had Tenpenny Ale, which is brewed locally and is much missed by myself. I had packed light and was planning to rely on some clothing I had in storage for the weather up here. I think I had enough put aside, but even so, I left the house underdressed. After dinner I ended up at H's house, where she gave me an ex-girlfriend's long coat to wear over my inadequate sweater. That was kind of a confusing sensory experience for me. In addition to the coat, H's house is now the oldest inhabited house that holds the deepest memories for me. Well, there's also T-Rex's house, which is just next door. But apart from those, all the other houses of my childhood have been sold or abandoned or whatnotted. There's my grandfathers house, and one of my aunts, but those are places I largely visited, not more or less lived in. Certainly they were more "family" places, and while they're deep in memory, they're of a different texture from the daily "trying to figure it all out" variety. Some of the best and worst nights of my life were spent in H's house.
Also, after dinner some of the old Rocky Horror Picture Show crew showed up - it was great to see them again. One in particular is a soft spoken intellectual individual who is pretty politcally engaged while being unplugged from bullshit local culture. The only thing that required a little extra conversational grace on my part was that she had gotten a sex change and changed her name as well. I kept wanting to refer to her by her old male name, which is a name I rather liked anyway. She taught me a new word and we had a good conversation featuring the media, law, the shear amount of dead people any one of us knows, and guitar fingering styles. I think the best line of the night was, "I don't care how straight you are - you're always going to be somebody's freak."
As usual, there are too many people to see, too many things to do. The central reason why I'm here is a sad one - I have no idea how it's going to go, or how much time I should spend with the great aunt. She's obviously very tired and may want privacy. So I figure she'll be my first priority and then I'll try to fill my days otherwise. Should be easy to do. Probably won't be blogging much about that situation though.
Right now the plan is to head south again on Friday, which should bring me back to Miami in time for court on Monday.