33, 000 miles on the odometer. We had driven 1000 of those miles in a week’s trek through Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. In a powder blue Crown Victoria with a trunk large enough to transport Jimmy Hoffa’s body as well as our minimal luggage.

It was the annual obligation vacation to visit family and friends in the Midwest, an adventure that we’d subtitled an odd-I-see.

For example, we saw straight-lined wisps of cloud replicate the pattern of a child’s sunrise drawing, that is clouds as sun rays expanded across the entire light blue bowl from a big puffy one on the horizon. Amazing, revelatory, cherished.

We visited with three 93-year-olds, hoping to live as robustly and well-loved as them. Hoping that someone, anyone, would return the favor of a visit to us in southern California among the entire lot we visited. Those who have visited us in our home have become our closer friends because of the reciprocity.

While we are pleased to visit our friends and family thus, the lengthy drives, multiple visit sites, and entertainment expectations exhausted our spirits. The physical and psychological energies of our minds, bodies, and souls were depleted by the time we arrived at our final resting place before we returned home: a Holiday Inn. It was the best mattress and pillow combination of the week, professed my former traveling salesman husband – despite the fact that we were using his final frequent stayer points. (note to readers: Larry has been retired 7 years…he had thousands and thousands of hotel points)

The name of the lakeside town was South Haven, Michigan. My husband recalled fishing there with his parents when he was a boy.

My tongue wasn’t tangled, I think, when I called the town Safe Harbor.

We’ve been back home in California for a month now. In our home with its own body of water, our pool. I call this place Safe Harbor everyday.

Safe Harbor