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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Passport (07/25/05)

By h o'hara


I have no use for passports. None.
Where I live, I can travel to Greece, Parma, and Sweden in 20 minutes.

So I have absolutely no use for the Eiffel Tower, and boat rides in Venice.

That’s what I tell myself. I don’t get out much.

I have a theory.

I believe that the early settlers who made up the names of these towns that surround me did so to make their “stay-at-home” spouses feel more cultured. More sophisticated as they shuttled their little ones from musket making class, to bear trapping practice.

Quite a loving gesture, if you ask me.

Especially considering our location. Talk about keeping up with the Joneses! We live only a few hours from New York City!! Have pity on us, all you sophisticated types! New York City dwellers think we “Upstaters” are a bunch of hicks!!!

So, yes, one can only imagine the impressive conversations we Western New Yorkers could potentially have with our unsuspecting out-of–town relatives from downstate:

“Oh, this old dress? Why, it came from (the Wal-mart in) Greece!!! “OAHHHH-PAAAAAA!!!!”

“Eat up, Guido!! You cousin went all the way to (the Godfather’s pizzeria in) Parma to bringa home thata pizza!!”

(Apparently, Godfather’s had a coupon in the penny Saver this week. “An offer you couldn’t refuse”perhaps?)

“Ahhhhh, nothing like nourishing your rosy- cheeked children with fresh milk from (the seven- eleven in) Sa-veeeeeden!!”

(If you were coordinated enough to twirl your braided hair while you said the “Sa-VEEEEEEDEN” part; good for you, dahhhhling!!!!! Extra bonus points also for braided maidens whose children were rosy -cheeked because they were running fevers, and woke up only THREE times last night yodeling for more water and Tylenol.)

(Gold medals however, for readers that figured out that in writing this, I accidentally got Sweden mixed up with Switzerland. See, I told you I don’t get out much!!)

I never owned a passport in my life.

Until now.

My parents recently presented me with my first one.

It’s called an ‘Empire State Passport”.

Basically, it’s a sticker for your car, so that you don’t have to pay $7 every time you want to go to the beach.

For the first time in years, the beach beckoned. I sensed that was time to break orbit.

Hamlin Beach State Park only about ten miles away. However, it is in the opposite direction of Wal-Mart, so I never think to go there. The gravitational pull of Wal-Mart’s happy faced sphere is usually too much on my little green Saturn.

I gleefully put my sticker on my car, and slipped the surly bonds of my normal shuttle missions to church, the grocery store, and the previously mentioned Wal-Mart to take my little ones on their first trip to the beach.

I pulled into the booth and pointed to my passport. I practically felt like a diplomat on a mission. (From “Saveeeeeeden,” of course!!!)

We had a blast.

As I watched my little son’s play on the beach, I was reminded of something.

About the thoughts God has toward us. About how wonderful and plentiful they were.

As many as the sands on the sea shore. (Psalm 139)

I looked to the right, then the left. Nothing but sand as far as my eye could see!

WOW! And this wasn’t even a sea shore! It’s only Lake Ontario!!!!!! And I don’t live anywhere important, like Paris.

And yet, all those thoughts are good! None defiled by seaweed, beach debris, or seagull poop.

I wonder if this is why God invented beaches. And everything else. So that we would be remindered of how much He loves us.

Humans make impressive stuff. At least stuff that is impressive to other humans. And it’s amazing how they manage to make all of the really, good stuff be located on the other side of the world, so you can’t get to it without jumping through hoops (and perhaps,a metal detector or two).

Contentment is great gain.

No need to have to go all the way to the French Riviera.

No passports needed.

Good thing.

Because you just know what will happen one day, if I’m not careful. One of the relatives from downstate will arrive to visit, wearing the same dress I have.

“You got that dress in Greece? Too bad you spent all that money! I got mine at Wal-Mart!!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Nina Phillips08/03/05
Oh, how I can relate to that! Very nice. God bless ya, littlelight
Shari Armstrong 08/07/05
Great!!!! :)