The train cars were from the 1920s, all wrought iron painted white and red velvet seats. The rack above them held possessions, including a brown and tan straw covered suitcase containing Christmas — popcorn balls, sticker books and other wonders “for the trip.”
It was the biggest box under the tree. What made it unusual was that the tag said, “Martha Ann.” It was from my Aunt Martha. Christmas is only two weeks before my birthday — kind of a financial pain for my mom and dad at gift time — so I never expected a big present. This big box wrapped in poinsettia paper sat propped against the wall. When Christmas Eve came, and I could open it, I saw it held a pretty blue over-night bag. It was a wonderful gift because my friend, Mary, who lived in Council Bluffs, often invited me for overnights and sometimes she came to my house. I was twelve. When I was eighteen, and heading off to college, my Aunt Martha gave me the next size up in the set and I had matching luggage.
My blue suitcases carried my things for a long time, then I discovered backpacks and then companies started putting decent wheels on bags.
I’m about to go to Europe and at the Monte Vista Crane Festival Craft Fair I saw a display of packs. Packs for dogs, packs for kids, packs for just about everything. On the table, covered in patches from national parks, was the pack of my dreams. The actual one sitting there was not for sale so I got to custom design it with the maker.
I don’t know how practical it will turn out to be for this adventure, but I’d like to think (but I suspect it’s an illusion) that I can travel light enough to get by with this and a laptop bag.
In any case, this backpack feels like mystery and adventure. I’ll have to make popcorn balls. 🙂