Bright Lights, Big City

Bright Light, Big City

I am 42 years old, facing the graduation of my youngest child next week, and feeling the years.

When I was a young girl we never really took vacations. We would go visit family. Never in my entire growing up years do I remember us taking a trip, getting a room, sight-seeing, and experiencing new things together. One of the things I wanted to do was making memories with my children.

Denise took off this past weekend and we had planned to go to Atlanta to see the King Tut exhibit. I had seen it when I was about 11 years old when we lived in New Orleans. My mother let us skip school that day and we waited in line FOREVER. That was the first time I ever drank tea from the can.

Bobby also saw the exhibit when he was young, so we thought it would be great to take them since it was leaving Sunday.

But then life started getting in the way, and I decided maybe it would be better for us to stay here. The kids were very disappointed, as I was.

So, early on last week my husband and I began having a conversation about time, the shortness of time and lost opportunities. And during that conversation, we decided to embark on a journey.

I searched for a good deal, told the kids the trip was back on and began the whirlwind of preparations.

Only it wasn’t Atlanta we decided on. It was New York.

We finally told the children a few hours before we left.

I have always been afraid of New York, always said that was one place I never wanted to go. I found out that it wasn’t that scary at all. We had such a wonderful time. It is huge, bigger than life, unlike anything we had ever experienced before. So much history crammed into the crevices of every street.

We went up in the Empire State Building and stood on the observation deck on the 86th floor, astounded by the city, as far as you could see. We visited Lady Liberty, which made my eyes fill with tears as I remembered my own freedom and what it means to be an American. From the tour of the harbor, we caught a glimpse of the site where the Twin Towers once reigned as Kings of the skyline.

There was Greenwich Village, SOHO, NOHO, China Town, Little Italy, Brooklyn and so much more that we did not get to see. A trip back is definitely in order.

We ate real New York Pizza, and hot dogs from the street vendors. We had food from a Deli, and delicious Italian from Little Italy, although we did not see any mobsters that we knew of.

How amazingly different life is there. Cars were luxury items, apartments were more a month than all my bills combined, and I still don’t know how they got groceries home.

We experience cab rides that left me with many new gray hairs, and the *wonderful* attitudes of the people that filled the spectrum from polite to down-right rude.

It amazed me that the population of New York is probably more than the entire state of Georgia, yet in all our exploring I saw 4 churches. 4

We were suckered into a comedy show that was horrible. One *Lady* asked me during her routine “You’re religious, aren’t you?” And she made several comments about being **Free.** When we finally escaped that atmosphere all I could think was “You have no idea what freedom is.”

The lights, the sounds, the shows, the stores, all of it was something to behold. But walking the streets of that bright, big city were empty people. It took me hours to realize why some stared at us as we ventured among the crowds, we stood out, or rather the light that was within us did.

When we arrived back in Atlanta we had a late lunch at pf changs, my favorite place to eat. I usually consume all of the fortune cookies and just give each person their fortune. Ethan’s was “A visit to a strange place will give you a renewed perspective.”

He said, “It sure did. I appreciate Douglas, Georgia.”

Me too, me too.


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