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Leila Case: Losing your way can often result in wonderful surprises

I am eternally getting “lost” but, thankfully, always find my way home. Thanks to the sun that rises in the east and sets in the west. I’ve been on the “wrong” road and lost so many times I stopped counting.  It’s the same way about locks on doors.  That’s another challenge.
Some people were born with a perfect sense of direction like my husband Bruce and my daughter Margaret, who at age six leaned over the back seat of our trusty Dodge Dart to guide me on a Sunday afternoon drive years ago. The children and I were on the way to our favorite spot to hike and gather fall leaves in Oconee County and, of course, I lost my way.
The most recent experience was in nearby Albany of all places. I was returning after a long afternoon of missions and the final stop, a friend’s home off of Highway 82 just inside Terrell County. Did you know many of the roads in Terrell County are unmarked?
As mentioned, I depend more on the sun and where it is in the sky and my nose to get me where I’m going instead of the map app on my iPhone. This time, my nose must have been out of joint or on vacation and the sky was full of dark rain clouds that I thought were in the west, where rain around here comes from most of the time. Wrong on both counts this time.
Instead of making a left turn, I made a right and after about three miles realized I was on the wrong road. I kept going instead of turning around and starting over. I had never traveled that particular highway and it had no road signs or people or houses to stop and ask directions. For all I knew I was in never, never land. It was a beautiful drive though: thickets of indigenous plants and giant live oaks shading the roadway. After about 20 minutes, I finally come upon a road sign that declares I’m in Albany. Oh well, I had another adventure and it was a pleasant drive. Besides, I wanted to stop at Publix anyway.
Between appointments, I stopped for a quick lunch and as soon as I walked in the door, I heard a male voice softly call my name. I turned around to see who it might be and did a double take. It was Clive Rainey, former longtime Americus resident, now residing in Guatemala. It was great to visit with Clive for a few minutes. He was on a sad mission – the funeral of his step-mother, Dorothy Rainey.
Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Americus Rotary Club officers: Reda Rowell, president, Jennifer  Pollard, secretary, Susan Ruckman, treasurer, and Rene Smith, sergeant at arms. A tip of the hat as well to outgoing president Mary Ann Crowley, our neighbor and an angel in disguise, for a job well done.
Incidentally, Mary Ann and her husband Chet Crowley recently returned from a five-day visit to New York City that she said is unforgettable.  The highlight was visiting the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, where they spent more than four hours and could have stayed longer but this visit brought back too many sad memories of visits just before and after the horrific disaster.  She said the memorial pools are emotional and feel like a holy place. Mary Ann was in the World Trade Center in August 2001 for a job interview, took the PATH train to New Jersey and went through the Trade Center to her destination.    Touring the museum she saw a picture of the staircase that was still standing after the disaster which she had climbed less than two weeks before hand.  Soon after 9/11, Chet and Mary Ann visited NYC and took time to go to the WTC site.  All that was there was the rubble.  Even today she says she recalls the smell and can close her eyes and see the debris. On the bright side, they saw two musicals:  “Paramour,” a Cirque du Soleil production, and “School of Rock.”  They enjoy “Cirque,” having seen them preform in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Toronto, Amsterdam and Orlando. Of course, they dined well and enjoyed a visit with their great nephew Josh and his new wife Ana.  Mary Ann says they’re already planning their next visit.
Elsewhere, my family, Mark and Anne Barrett and sons Beau and John Barrett are home safely following a Caribbean cruise. They had fun, had no disagreements and nobody fell overboard. And Lee and Faith Pinnell and their children, Samantha, and Shaw, recently visited Chicago and enjoyed touring the Windy City.

Leila S. Case lives in Americus.