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travels with goofy…

Yesterday my husband and I left Orlando to come home. We had gone down to visit our son and his wife and to make a pilgrimage to see our 2 ½ year-old grandson’s hero – Mickey Mouse. It was a crazy, wet and wonderful day in the Magic Kingdom.
Seeing Disney World through the fresh eyes of a two-year-old is an incredible experience. The look of awe was interspersed with a wide-eyed star-struck gaze on his little face. He saw singing bears and crooning tropical birds. He rode on a magic carpet and he played in an arcade while Mama, DaDa and PopPop went on Space Mountain. He had no idea as he jumped from game to game that he was actually playing none of the video games. The screen would change and he would gleefully shout, “Me did it!” content that he had won a race or flown a plane or danced his way to a new level. He couldn’t have had more fun if we had put tokens into the game consoles. During one particularly bad thunderstorm we ducked into what we thought was a show to discover that Minnie Mouse, Daisy and Donald Duck and Goofy were all inside – in the flesh! His amazement at meeting the real-life characters was like one of us having a photo op with the President of the United States.
He is young enough to not realize that it was a day of terrible weather and rides that broke down just as we were about to go on them and a drive back home in a torrential down-pour with almost zero-visibility. He happily played with the plastic cards Disney uses as “tickets” emblazoned with Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Mickey the whole car-ride back to their house. It couldn’t have been a better day.
So, yesterday, we went out to breakfast with Katie and Nate, and headed home. My logical, practical and level-headed husband announced that he would rather not drive south to go north – or was it to go east in order to head west? – whatever it was – he figured there must be another way to get home than to go on the 408 to get to the Florida Turnpike, so another way we went.
We ended up on the 436 in a westerly direction and went through traffic light after traffic light as we inched our way through the westerly suburbs of Orlando. We drove through Apopka and Altamonte Springs; we drove through Tavares and meandered through Mount Dora. We saw Leesburg and went past their International airport. What other country can one possibly get a direct flight to from the Leesburg Airport? Finally, we got on Florida 44, not to be confused with County Road 44, which is conveniently located very close to the same numbered highway, and, in short order, we were on our way to Interstate 75 north. Our little foray through Central Florida took about two hours.
Luckily, we both had a sense of humor about the detour which aptly taught us the lesson that quite often it’s much quicker to go back just a little before proceeding in the direction you’re ultimately headed. It also made it quite clear just how difficult it is to decide once you’ve gotten on the wrong path, whether or not it’s too late to cut your losses and go back, or if it’s better to go ahead and slog through until you discover an alternate route. Either way, we end up at our final destination and, hopefully, we discern some valuable insights about life and about ourselves along the journey.


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