Travel Memories Saturday (Washington D.C.)

Washington D.C., 1997
Borrowed/re-posted from Wandering Still
This photo comes from the time in my life I like to call my "fountain days."  What happy memories come flooding back as I think about the free-spirit I was back then feeling the invitation of refreshing bubbling water.  And its impossible to think about fountain-hopping without also thinking of my old friend Jason.

I started college when the internet was still a novelty.  Sitting in the campus library I signed up on a Christian dating site and quickly met two fantastic people.  One of those people was Jason and it was only a matter of months before I hopped on a plane to New Jersey to meet him. My mom dropped me off at the airport a little confused and a lot scared and horrified.  I figured that out when I didn't think to call her upon arrival and she hunted me down by phone at Jason's grandmothers home.(Important clarification: Jason and I were always just friends.  Our hotel rooms always had two beds and we never even held hands.  I'm not sure my family has ever believed me.)

I learned a lot of important life lessons while cavorting around the country to meet Jason.  Here area few of the gems that stayed with me:

Always have food available for the needy.
I met Jason's grandmother that very first weekend.  In her kitchen drawer, where you and I might keep the dishtowels or utensils, she had a full stock of SPAM, just in case somebody ever stopped by collecting for the food bank.

There really is a wrong side of the tracks.
On a business trip in Baltimore, Jason's company put us up in the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in .  One night while out on a walk we crossed a bridge and immediately found ourselves in the most run-down neighborhood I've ever been in.  I was terrified and even Jason gave pause as we walked in one block, over one block, and out one block.  A girl followed two steps behind singing the theme from "Reading Rainbow" until we reached the bridge where she stopped and we high-tailed it back to luxury.

Security guards do a lot of looking at you funny, not much anything else.
Washington D.C. is fountain mecca and where I took my first wet foray.  (Don't panic, I never got up the nerve to actually walk through the reflecting pool on the National Mall!) This is where I also learned that the Benjamin Franklin monument is very slippery and that getting on a subway train while soaking wet is a freezing cold terrible idea.

I don't know why I eat the way I do.
Slipping into a local diner and sharing an order of fries, Jason looked perplexed when I quit eating halfway through.  When he asked why I answered without thinking, "Those ones don't have ketchup on them."  Only then did I realize I had that little oddity.  I pour ketchup all over the top of my fries and quit eating as soon as the ketchup-ed fries are gone.

Any place can be interesting.
Several times Jason's work took him to Killeen, TX, and I'd meet him down there.   Killeen, TX, is to pawn shops what Washington D.C. is to water fountains.  Aside from the military base there is no reason to go there.  South of Killeen, however, is Georgetown, TX, and a beautiful bed and breakfast with rooms in the carriage house.  Heading north halfway to my home in Iowa you'll find Wichita, KS-also a very boring city.  But if you're their on the right night you'll witness the most incredible lightening storm and then have the adventure of getting stuck in flash flooding.

Criminals can look just like you and me.
Jason always told me his older brother had been exiled from the country for bank embezzling.  Once while on a country drive he nonchalantly asked if I'd ever done anything illegal and then told me the details of his entrepreneurial side business producing fake credit cards for teenagers.  One of the last times I saw him he got notice that he was to have a meeting at the Pentagon and shortly after that a letter letting me know he wouldn't be contacting me anymore.  Either the most elaborate "Hey, I don't want to see you anymore" I've ever received, or a guy who got himself into some big trouble.  I'm still leaning towards the later.

And that's a shame.  I will forever look back on that relationship as one of the truest and most free of my lifetime.  The adventures we had and experiences I gained still make my happy heart leap.  We all need that one moment in time where the person we're with and the places we are fit magically into place and continue making us feel giddy, happy, goofy, and free no matter how it ended or where it led. 

Now you're heard mine, so tell me, when were your "fountain days?"

We all have those classic shots that capture travel memories without having to say one word. 
travel memories
 Each Saturday morning, Sharon (from State by State Travel) and I post photos that express emotion, tell a story or make you wish you could be there.   Be sure to also stop by State by State Travel and see what travel memories she is sharing today!

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  1. What an amazing memory with this one picture! There's some unique insights into your personality that you share with this post lol. I love hearing stories about people loving life and living on the edge (safely of course! :-)

  2. Loving that picture it looks like a dress you are wearing. You have some beautiful memories and yes.... you need to stay away from the wrong side of the tracks.

  3. What an interesting post. Jason sounds like a man with many secrets. I love his grandmother, keeping food for the needy, that's such a great idea. I never would have thought of doing that. We usually just pick them up whenever the kids get the letters from school asking for canned goods. I hope Jason is ok and happy to know that you guys shared some amazing memories together.

  4. I have a friend that goes to DC on business once a month for a week at a time. I plan on visiting in the spring. Thanks for the tips and walking through your memories. Laughed about the fries.

  5. I've never been to Washington D.C. to visit but I have heard wonderful things about all of the sights to see there. It sounds like you have some wonderful memories and experiences from your visit there.

  6. Oh my dear, I would be afraid to wade in a fountain at my age. Probably would have tried that when I was younger and not thinking about germs and getting caught. Sounds like you have some fond memories about your travels though.

  7. Very interesting post. I can't say that I ever had quite the same "fountain days" that you did but I would have to say my college days were a lot less structured. I was married a week out of college and went right to work so not really any after that.

  8. Right now, I think of my "fountain days" as being the couple of weeks before my mom passed away in May of this year unexpectedly. My mom and I got to do a lot of things together the last couple of weeks she was alive, and I am so grateful for it!

  9. Washington DC is on my list of cities to see when hubby & I do our USA Road Trip (as soon as the kids are old enough). What wonderful memories
    Thank you x

  10. Washington is such an interesting place . I can't wait to visit it one day so I have some guidance from you ;)
    Noor @ Noor's Place

  11. It has been a long time since I visited Washington, DC. I love those memories though. I've had some adventures like that too. It seems like I always get lost on the wrong side of the tracks.

  12. Melinda Kuffler DunneSeptember 8, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    It is funny the oddities we develop. I only eat one thing on my plate at a time and so do my kids. It is just something that I have always done and I also hate when my food touches each other. On a side note I love the picture it is beautiful.

  13. It looks like the fountain is your dress! hehe :) Love the post, I didn't have fountain days. I left home, found true love then the kids trickled out. :)

  14. Maybe then your fountain days are still ahead! :)

  15. My mom is the exact same way. Our quirks make us unique.

  16. What a special blessing you were able to do that with her! I'm glad you were able to relate that to my experiences.

  17. Your comments have made me very introspective again. I hope he is ok, too. Thank you.


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