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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

My desk at work is L shaped. The section that is just to my right holds a big monthly calendar, the kind you can write on and tear of the page as you move to the next month. This is where I jot down notes and reminders that I have scheduled to train this person at that time on this microscope. This month has a big line drawn through the sixteenth all the way through the twenty fourth. "Vacation!" is written boldly under that line and for the last two weeks I have found myself glancing longingly at those dates as if willing the sixteenth to be tomorrow. I am on count down mode.

Back when we first bought the camper, before we could even us it because of the weather, Michael and I talked about camping trips. Every time, he would say "Hey! Maybe so and so can go a long." or "Do you think so and so would want to meet us there?" I was beginning to think that Michael either did not want to go camping alone with me or was scared to go camping alone with me. Did he think I was a bore? Or did he think I would murder him in his sleep and dump his body in the woods? There is no financial value for me to do the later, so I must be boring. Then, during one of these discussions about camping I said "Can't we go some where just the two of us?" To my surprise, he happily agreed and asked me where I wanted to go. Thus began our planning of what I am calling our Lincoln Trip, even though it's only partly about Abraham Lincoln.

We're going to do a big loop that takes us up and over to Springfield, Il. There, we will visit the Lincoln Library and Museum and all things Abraham Lincoln. From there, we head over to Kentucky and the Mammoth Cave National Park. We will be about thirty minutes from Abraham Lincoln's birth place and five minutes from Mammoth Cave. I have made one concession to this being a just the two of us kind of trip. Chad, Jess and the Kid will meet us at Mammoth Cave. This was Michael's idea because he knows that I don't get see Chad but maybe once every two or three years. He also remembers the big old crocodile tears that rolled down my cheeks as we drove away from Chad and Jess during our last visit. Technically, it will still be just the two of us because they will be staying in a different location then where we will be camping. Bending rules. Michael and I will finish our trip loop in the Mark Twain National forest. Michael has never really seen the Milky Way. We'll be in the national forest on a night with no moon and we have big star gazing plans. 

I realize that I have a week of waiting before we head out on the Lincoln Loop of 2017, but I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to this trip. The promise of time away and new adventures fills me with gratitude. The idea of sharing that time and those adventures with Michael, also fills me with gratitude. I am thankful that I will have a chance to laugh with Chad, sympathize with Jess and meet the Kid. Sometimes, it's just nice to step out of the current moment and allow yourself to think ahead. Just a little bit. Not years ahead or anything like that, but a few weeks can't hurt. I am grateful for the things ahead. 

Here's to a weekend of good things and a super happy and Thankful Friday!