Into the Blue

The Equatorial Jungle, Rousseau, National Gallery

A sweet old nun recently told me this story.  She’d had a grand time in Ireland, visiting family and many sacred sites, including St Brigid’s Well in Kildare, from which she drew some holy water.

On her return to the States, she was carrying the holy water in a plastic bottle, along with a fifth of good whiskey, a gift for the friend who was to pick her up at the airport at an ungodly hour.

Arriving at the head of the security line, she was shocked when the TSA agent told her she couldn’t bring the liquids with her.  She slowly uncorked the holy water, tipped it to her mouth, and guzzled it down;  then she picked up the whiskey and presented it to the TSA agent. “Call your friends and have a party,” she sniffed, and sailed up to the scanning machine.

I tell you this story because I’m about to set off on an adventure myself, hopefully a little better informed than Sr. Margaret.  I’m heading into the blue, as the South Africans say, going on safari with my mother, two sisters, sister-in-law, and one of my daughters.  

Since childhood, my mother has dreamed of seeing elephants in the wild, and when my sister Patricia saw a safari being auctioned at a charity event, she couldn’t resist. She won the bid, then called me. “You know I can’t take Mom to Africa by myself.” Indeed, I knew she couldn’t.

As it turns out, the lodge agreed to sell additional slots to family members at a very reasonable price, so there will be three generations of Schlichte women on safari.  I’m bringing my laptop and hope to blog along the way, technology permitting,  so stay tuned.

The image above is Henri Rousseau’s The Equatorial Jungle, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.