There was no way to personally search for the extra camera memory card. I’m sure I lost it in the rental car. I was returning from vacationing in Toronto, so I couldn’t return to the rental agency to request that they search for it. I was sitting in a cramped seat in coach in an Airbus A320 somewhere over Wisconsin when I decided to review some images on my camera.
I double and triple checked the camera bag and the small, zippered pockets that provided protection for small accessories like memory cards and lens cleaning wipes. I had last opened the camera bag inside the rental car before checking out at the airport.
Oh well. Thankfully, my trusty diary was safe and sound in another compartment of the camera bag. I always carry a small notebook wherever I travel because of my obsession with keeping track of my daily activities. Although photographs are preferable for vacation documentation, rough descriptions in a diary or journal work well enough to jog the memory. That said, at least the regular memory card contained plenty of other images of my old college buddy, Andy, who had invited me for a visit. There were dozens of photos of him, his circle of friends and some hot spots around the Toronto area.
Being retired, my vacations are usually not of the traditional type that I enjoyed when I took breaks from my job. Normally, I take short day-trips to places just bordering the Northeast Nebraska area I call home. I’ve been known to hop in the car early in the morning and drive to Valentine. The drive takes the lion’s share of the day-that’s why I start out so early.
Valentine is a small town in the largest Nebraska county. It’s situated near the South Dakota border, adjacent to the Niobrara River. I like to stay overnight at one of the mom and pop motels. The mini-vacations at the familiar getaway are welcome breaks from my usual daily routine. Also, I like to stargaze. Rural Cherry County is one of the darkest places in North America. There is little to no light pollution there. The raw, dark sky is at once beautiful and intimidating. I am reminded that I occupy only a tiny conscious place in the Universe whenever I meditate upon the sky over rural Cherry County.
One of the best parts of vacationing is the break from cooking. Wherever I travel, there are restaurants and cafes to check out. I prefer the small, independent eateries instead of the major chains. Small business restaurants offer regional specialties and homey atmosphere. They don’t have to be fancy or luxurious in order to provide a pleasant dining experience. For instance, if you haven’t eaten lunch in a mom and pop cafe or coffee shop located on Main Street, small town USA, you’re missing out on local culture. The food is close to homemade, and the service is friendly and genuinely personal.
Due to Covid, I haven’t been to Valentine for over a year, so I’m anticipating a daytrip later this year. I don’t plan to do anything particularly special. There are a couple of small waterfalls to see mixed in with the otherwise very flat landscape. It’s the dark yet starry sky I really like to see.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders a quote from the world’s wealthiest person, Jeff Bezos. “The one thing that offends me the most is when I walk by a bank and see ads trying to convince people to take out second mortgages on their home so they can go on vacation. That’s approaching evil.”