I went back home a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been making that trip in late August for the last eight years.
It all started when our daughter-in-law was air lifted from a hospital in Ohio to the intensive care unit of the University of Michigan Hospitals in Ann Arbor.
We were told that her best chance of recovery would be in their capable and knowledgeable hands. Her husband, our oldest son, the Mister, our cats and I followed by car. We were all leaving our home bases. And our comfort zones.
We settled into a motel, scared and alone. Visits to the hospital and the grocery store were our only excursions.
For the most part, I hung out in the motel with our cats. The SICU at the hospital was not set up for visitors. All the energy went to their patients; our daughter-in-law being among the very sickest.
It was on our first day there that I started my travels to Three Pines. I immediately became a part of that small community. Its residents accepted me, sustained me, made me laugh, kept me warm.
During those three months in Ann Arbor, I ate warm croissants for breakfast from Sarah’s Boulangerie. I read Ruth’s poetry and laughed at her foul mouth. I spent hours in Myra’s bookstore. In the evening, I joined the crowd at the Bistro for drinks and gossip. Of course, Superintendent Armand Gamache and his wise wife, Reine Marie, were there to bring us all together.
I was NOT alone in that motel room.
I was part of a community.
Three Pines is, of course, a fictional town in Canada, brought to life by its creator, Louise Penney. Her books are always published on the last Tuesday in August. Her latest book, “Glass Houses” quickly flew up to number one on the New York Times bestseller list.
So, two weeks ago, new book in hand, I retreated to my nest and again savored my time in Three Pines, enjoying the characters I feel I know so well. I emerged refreshed but sad that I have to wait another year.
Until I get to go back home again.