Thirty six days, any number of hotels, hundreds and hundreds of miles by rail and road – my stay in America was bracketed by the hospitality of friends. On the 1st of May I was in a shingle house in Oakland and by the 31st I was leaving a beautiful clapboard house in Maine.
This has been the sad bit, the goodbyes have been as numerous as the greetings and they are painful. Friends are precious, they are the golden seams in a life well lived and some of mine happen to live in distant continents – so visits are maybe ten years apart. Vivid, glorious and brief – but the memory lasts and the friendships remain as solid as rock. I am blessed in that, I know it and I receive it with gratitude.
The bits in between have been awesome! From conversations I have had, in trains, in hotels and among acquaintances, as well as friends, I think I have covered America pretty thoroughly, or as thoroughly as I could in such a short stay. I have been to places that some Americans have never heard of! Gooseneck is one: I hope I haven’t now completely spoiled it by sending hundreds of people to look at that great chasm; part of its charm was that there wasn’t anyone there.
I have stayed in motels, hotel chains and luxury hotels, nothing beats the luxury though and I am grateful for the chance to sink into it. Bathrooms are the clincher for me, then the bed.
Thank you for having me: America and Americans, I have enjoyed my stay.