We were originally supposed to go to Phoenix and Grand Canyon but then an invitation from Tammy in Reno made us drive via Las Vegas and Mammoth Mountain. These changes in plans always happen for a reason and our serendipitous rendezvous with Tammy seemed to be etched in the stars. Jimmy was meant to have his fill of Paw Patrol, donuts and strawberries and Joshua was meant to have his desired supply of daring cop stories. Tammy was meant to enjoy a marvelous hotpot courtesy of Jason . . . and I, well I was meant to hear what I needed to hear — encouraging, enlightening, inspiring words from a friend I first met over twelve years ago and introduced to a community along the Pasig River which made bags out of recycled juice packs.
The boys enjoyed being spoiled with hugs, endearments and bedtime book reading by Tammy plus being able to play with two big dogs who have the same amount of boundless energy to expend. Tammy took us to nearby Virginia City where one could go ghost hunting in a town that experienced a big boom in the 1800’s because of silver mined out of its now hollowed-out mountains. Although we did not see actual ghosts, we saw cellphone photos with ghostly apparitions in the Mackay Mansion, home of one of the most fortunate fortune-hunters in the wild, wild west.
We met Tammy’s Mom, Lulu who collects wind-up toys and wiggly fridge magnets and who made me terribly miss my own Mom. Joshua enjoyed decimating ants in her front yard using a bottle of vinegar while Jimmy cuddled up to Lulu watching Minions.
For me, the best thing about travel is the connection (and re-connection) made with people who warmly welcome you into their homes, share narratives, open insights and feel the closeness of family even as you keep moving towards the next destination.
How are we ever, ever, ever going to survive without Auntie Tammy?