For the past 179 days since my husband Chip passed away, I…
Chip has become quite the traveling partner, hidden away in my backpack. Per my last post, A New Way to Travel With Chip, you read that Chip is mobile and pretty much a captive audience. (Have ashes, will travel) So, on one particular Saturday afternoon, Jack, Chip, Tillie, and I set out to visit the Sugar Shack in Arlington, VT.
Jack sat shotgun, unaware of the perhaps unconventional passenger in the backseat. Tillie will sleep and snore through anything, so she kept my sacred secret. Please don’t judge me, but Jack is a beautiful and soulful person, and I feared if he knew Chip was with us, he would not have enjoyed the ride, and he needed some pure and fresh Vermont mountain air.
The Sugar Shack is 59 miles from home, not a crazy amount to drive simply to buy a maple cookie. It is a spectacular maple cookie and one worth the drive. Chip and I were notorious for these types of outings. Doesn’t everyone drive to Wegman’s in Syracuse to go to the supermarket?
Vermont heals the soul.
Driving those spectacularly windy roads transported me back to years of exploring Vermont with Chip. We would grab a coffee, load the Rippington’s on Pandora and just drive. Hurricane Hugo was an unwanted wedding guest on September 16, 1989, and forced us to honeymoon in Quechee, VT instead of cruising the Caribbean. Chip and I returned to Quechee for numerous anniversary getaways and family weekends with the kids soon after.
Tillie slept with Chip in the back seat during the ride, and Jack and I shared good conversations about school, friends, and the promise of a new Jeep once the shipping channel opens up again. Jack possesses a phenomenal music library, and with that, the hour and 29-minute drive passed uneventfully.
From my seat, however, being on those roads without Chip’s hand in mine was painful. We passed the Welcome to Vermont sign that I stopped at and took of picture of it on our honeymoon. The leaves were blowing on the road as we came over the hill and stopped at The Chocolate Barn for some delicious treats. It reminded the time Chip drove all that way to get my favorite chocolate-covered cherries for my birthday.
The more I drove, the stronger the memories became and yet produced no comfort or peace. I kept my tears at bay to not upset Jack, but my emotions were overflowing when I took Tillie for a short walk out of Jack’s sight.
Where the road takes me
I don’t know where life will take me without Chip. Last week I moved into the first home I have lived in without Chip since 1987. The house is small and warm but vacant in so many ways. Miss Tillie seems to like it yet stays very close to me. She misses Chip too. At these times, my wanderlust kicks in, and my thoughts drift to my next excursion with Chip. It may be to get ice cream at that cute little shop in Woodstock, NY, or to savor a beer and relive great memories at Brown’s Brewing in North Hoosick, NY.
No matter where I go, Chip is with me in my heart, and perhaps in that nondescript backpack you may see on the chair next to me.