Native Writes: Tourists in your own hometown


It’s amazing how a couple of little things can change one’s perspective on the moment at hand.

When I returned home Tuesday, I was the old me. What’s for supper? What’s on the tube? What about the rut I’m in? Could I miss a lodge meeting or would I have to go?

I knew one person I had never met and another one I have known most of my life would be visiting and I looked forward to that. Still, the only place I could offer them to sleep was the hide-a-bed sofa.

Accused many times of over-thinking and over-planning, my arrival home shifted my head into high gear. All my life, I have been told I can rise to any challenge, even excel.

Self-doubt from my teenaged years grabbed half my mind. I never realized I had gone through mental abuse. I thought it was my parents’ attempts at discipline. My friend went through similar experiences. Go ahead and do it, but be prepared to be “guilted” for decades to come.

The sun was shining and the usual evening wind was rising.

A knock on the door brought immediate joy. The years melted away and new memories were born.

My friend Leona has changed. She looks at each day as an adventure. Her husband, John, was raised in Australia and is a charmer. We had never met, but were fast friends within 15 minutes.

Leona and John have been teaching at a university in the Sultanate of Oman. My best friend and I were warm, they were cold. Apparently 113 degrees is a normal temperature there and we debated whether that was Fahrenheit or centigrade.

I realized failure to pay attention in math class could be devastating. It was for me, since I only know the basics of metric measures. I knew if it was 113c, we’d all likely be baked turkeys. I also discovered miles per hour and kilometers per hour are vastly different.

Our faces are graced with wrinkles not imagined in high school, smiles made crooked by the advances of age, yet made lovely by voices filled with youthful joy.

It was late, about 6 p.m. when we went looking for a room to rent for a couple of nights. I knew there were old standby motels along the main drag and a new one built in what we once called the “bow-wow.”

The strange thing about residing in a place for years is that one seldom sees the inside of a motel room. The hostelry I was familiar with was full. No vacancy. No problem.

No problem? I mentally considered sheets and blankets for the sofa bed.

Then we went to the town’s newest motel, the Sunset Inn back behind the John Deere dealership. I had watched the building go up, signage installed, my curiosity rising. It did not disappoint.

The desk manager was deftly dealing with other senior citizens who had varying needs for accommodations. We waited. Would he be unhappy with another couple of seniors?

Not so. He was friendly and courteous. In effect, there was no room at the inn, but he was willing to work with us, and my friends ended up in a nice suite for a one-room rate.

The rooms are nice, new, well-equipped. A large sitting/dining area off the lobby offers seating, tables for dining, talking and TV watching. Construction workers came in to occupy rooms previously arranged and I realized why the other places had no vacancies.

Our sleepy little valley is awakening.

We ate at Chili’s, a chain that apparently has restaurants in Oman. I learned that liquor cannot be bought there unless one holds a personal liquor license, that steaks were pounded and tenderized and four people could eat for a reasonable price here, but not necessarily there.

Yesterday, we became tourists, showing our Australian friend the glories of our beautiful San Luis Valley. Leona has been there, done that, but not for years, so it will be a treat.

Today, I am a more appreciative person, ready to go with the flow. One can’t overthink the Sand Dunes and one can actually over-enjoy our home place.

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