When I was a little girl, my father and I would make the long drive to northern Pennsylvania, to a little town called Meadville, to see his parents and brother and sister.
The town sits 40 miles from Erie and 90 miles from Pittsburgh. It’s roughly five and a half hours from our home in Dillsburg, five if you’re my father. Dad and I would go to Myers, the little store in town, and buy a box of dark chocolate Milky Way ice cream bars–six came in a box. And we ate the whole darn thing between the two of us on our drive. I think that may be why I’m now lactose intolerant…
Those drives produced some of the most formative first thoughts I had about politics and the socioeconomic system. My dad would share his thoughts and help me process through mine. Every once in a while I’d ask, “How much longer, Daddy?” “Three more episodes of Wishbone,” he’d answer.
That’s how I told time as a child. Play practice was an hour long=two Wishbones. The dentist usually took 30 minutes of fearful cleaning and scraping of my teeth=one Wishbone. Piano lessons=two Wishbones. Trailrides=three to four Wishbones, depending on Mom’s mood. And the drive to Meadville was a whopping 10 Wishbones.
Here, in beautiful Sicily, I find myself formulating some critical first thoughts about my environment. What’s my job like? Where can I be most useful? Do they like me? Where do I live? Is Trenton happy? Is Trenton healthy? When will I see my family again?
How many bottles of dish soap until I can show Mom and Dad our new home?
How many preparations of pesce spada before I pick up Brandon from the airport?
How many flat tires until Tito lights up the town with her fiery personality?
How many sleepies until Sondra, Brett, Lori, Charissa, and Erin?
How many and how long?
But, as we wait, I’ll clean one more dish with our first bottle of dish soap, sprinkle some lemon and parsley on our seventh pesce spada dinner, hand over the car keys to replace all four tires, and tuck Trenton in for another sleepie in Sicily.