We planned to visit #4 son and his family, #5 son, and #1 grandson today. We had it all laid out: get up late (8:00 am is late for us), go to the Downtowner for breakfast, make a leisurely drive to Fairmont, WV, probably stopping at that huge antique mall on Route 50. Spend a glorious day with this part of our family, finally delivering Christmas gifts to some of them, then drive home sometime around dark to arrive here at 9 or 10pm so we could enjoy some time by the fire.
That was the plan and it went well until about, oh, 8:30am. That's when the phone rang.
"You don't want to come up here. The kids are sick with that throwing up-diarrhea thing that's going around."
She was right; we didn't want to be anywhere near that vicious virus. We've already seen its fury on several friends and family close by. Unh-unh. Not me--I do not want anything that glues me to the floor in front of the toilet for a day or so.
So what to do with a suddenly empty day? There are so many places we have talked about visiting: Cabin Creek, site of many battles in the coal-mining unionization war and where Larry's father grew up; Matewan in the southern part of the state, another place where the mine war raged and site of the murder of sheriff Sid Hatfield on the courthouse steps (if you have never seen the movie called Matewan, I highly recommend it); Welch, once thriving metropolis and later all but a ghost town--but making a comeback I have heard.
Then there is Olcott, where my husband grew up--I want to see exactly where everything was in his childhood in this mining camp--the company store, the tipple, all of that. He still has a few family members there, and most of them I've never met.
Or we could drive to Whipple to look at the company store building; or to Hominy Falls where some miners were rescued in what seemed a miracle years ago. We could go to the Ritchie Mines, where natural asphalt was discovered and was shipped all over the world; or Volcano, that oil-boom town that's all but a ghost town today.
So many places to see and history to discover, all within a few hours' drive. But they all remained on the to-do list today. Such trips take a little planning and thinking about what we want to do and see when we get there, and we were unprepared for all of them.
We went to Plan B, which was no plan at all, but a do-as-you-go thing--breakfast with friends as planned, then a visit to the local library where we got an unofficial tour of the new (outstanding) addition, a long browse at Goodwill (with excellent results, although Larry got completely bored long before I was ready to leave), wash the car, pick up feed for the chickens, and visit some friends on our way home.
I was supposed to spend the rest of the day working on proposals, stories, editing, and work like that. Instead, I had picked up a new biography of Edgar Allan Poe at the library and I sat down in front of the fire with a mug of hazelnut coffee and started my book.
Now I feel guilty. A whole day. I could have done so many productive things. I could have checked things off the to-do list and added them to the to-done list. I could have cooked, cleaned, written, planned, edited, done laundry, paid bills. Instead the day is pretty much over and I've read 60 pages, printed a few things online for a proposal, and now I'm blathering on this blog.
You'd think I'd grow up, take myself sternly in hand and do the grown-up thing of Using My Time Wisely.
I suppose I will continue to be an unwise fool. But it has been a lovely, lovely day.