Our plan was to visit the Walkway Over the Hudson – one of New York State’s newest State Parks. The old railroad bridge spanning the Hudson River between Poughkeepsie and Highland had been turned into a pedestrian walkway and had become quite the tourist attraction. Sr. Peggy had driven up from the Bronx to see me – and it. As with anyone who wanted to get together with me in those months before the Camino, I suggested a walk. I was trying to garner as many steps as possible in preparation for my 480 mile trek across Spain. Unfortunately, just as St. Peggy arrived, it started to rain. And then we heard the thunder. So instead of walking, we found ourselves in a booth at the Palace Diner.
After sharing my comings and goings, talk turned to Sr. Peggy’s upcoming plans. “Anne Seeley does a Habitat trip every year. She asked me to drive one of the vans this year. Actually she’s looking for another driver and I thought you might be interested.”
Never one to dismiss the opportunity for a new adventure, I asked for a few details. The trip would be from July 1-7. We would drive from Staten Island, NY to Tennessee to work on a Habitat for Humanity project. I would be driving a van of high school girls from Notre Dame Academy – a school started and run by the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame (the order to which Sr Peggy and Sr. Anne belonged, and the order with whom I had done Spring Break Service Trips in college).
I did some figuring. I was due to return from my Camino on June 20th. Then I’d join my family for the annual vacation to Lake George til the 27th. I’d then return to Mom and Dad’s house to help them prep for my father’s Heidelberg Army Reunion which was to be hosted at their house July 13. Yup. I had some time.
Which brings me to tonight. I’m in Staten Island at Sr. Anne’s home. Yesterday, me, Sr. Anne and Sr. Peggy met the other three chaperones at Enterprise and picked up our three vans. Tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. we’ll meet our passengers: fifteen high school school girls, five of whom will ride in each van. Sr. Peggy and I will switch between driver and shotgun positions every three hours until we reach the state of Tennessee. There, my motel room awaits me. Monday morning, we’ll finish our drive to our destination and start work that afternoon. (I’ll be honest – I was told our destination once, but that was pre-Camino, so it’s long since been lost from my mind.)
So I’m off again. Maybe one day I’ll actually get back to some sense of a normal life – whatever that is. My plan is still to move to Asheville, NC at the end of July. Now, if I could just stop filling in the time between now and then….