By Doris Schroeder
I read an article recently about married couples who had visited strange lands and about how much fun it was to learn what each country meant by learning it together. As I think back over the 64 years of marriage we have enjoyed, it brings
to mind many things we encountered that were new to us. Because we were in the carpet business and flying was the rage, we were given many trips by the carpet companies and enjoyed every one of them.
In 1973, we earned our first trip to Oahu, Hawaii, and had a lot to learn. I had no idea what clothes to bring and could not fathom that I would need only summer clothes and shoes. Wanting to be sure I was ready, I brought a whole suitcase of different summer shoes. I learned I would have only needed my walking shoes!
When the company let us off at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, I couldn’t believe the lobby. Fresh ocean breezes flitted around along with singing parrots and the smell of orchids. We both felt we were enjoying a touch of heaven, even though we know heaven is really perfect.
The next year we got a trip to Acapulco, Mexico and took our two teenage children with us. One day Judy had been out in the sun by the beach too long and needed some vinegar to keep it from burning. We had the taxi stop at a grocery store and tried to read the labels. Finally, we just twisted off the caps to see if we could smell it.
In 1974 we flew to Spain and again we did not know the language. Several of our groups of carpet dealers heard about a one-day trip we could take to Africa in an old Spanish bomber with propellers and of course, we went. It was an old plane but did get us there and back safely as we flew across the Straits of Gibraltar. On the plane they warned us to be careful when we walked on the streets of Africa, as they would try to separate us from our group and rob us of our passport. They certainly did try but I held on tight until we got to the restaurant door. The Mediterranean Restaurant had waiters that carried their spinning trays on top of their head and fascinated us.
Later, the air-conditioned bus took us in the country where we saw Africans plowing their field with oxen. Then the bus took us to a place where we could take a camel ride. The camel knelt clear down and I had to climb on. Then it got up one leg at a time, grunting and groaning all the way and I held on for dear life. Hubby laughed but then he rode one and it wasn’t so funny!
The bus then took us to another market place and we all got out and went to watch the snake charmers. A dealer named John from Wichita Star Lumber and some of the other carpet people allowed them to put a snake around their neck and have their picture taken. Not my John and definitely NOT me!
One year our group again went to Mexico, only this time we landed in Mexico City, then took a smaller plane to Ixtapa, which was a beautiful resort by the ocean. Some other carpet dealers had introduced us to their assistant pastor and his wife from Kansas City whom they sent in their place. We two couples connected with a Christian racecar driver and his wife and had a very enjoyable time…we only had a few trying adventures that I remember…!
One day we three couples took the bus to a nearby Mexican town. As we walked down the streets, there were many little outdoor shops on the sides and down the middle. There was even a dentist’s place in one of the middle of the road shops and I shuddered to think of sitting in there in plain view.
The pastor thought it would be fun to eat in a restaurant that didn’t really cater to the tourists. That way we could see what it was like to be a native. We all bravely ordered steaks. As we left, however, I noticed where they kept their meat…hanging from a line in the kitchen!
Guess what happened the next day? I was sick and we were scheduled to go to the bullfights! I took a lot of Pepto Bismo and we managed to get to the arena.
Actually they yell every bit as much as a spectator at the K-State football game.
You know what? Both John and I decided together once and for all, there is no place in the world as good as the USA! We thank God He has allowed us to live in this country all these years. It was fun, however, for John and me to see how they lived. Someday, we who are Christians will live in the perfect place. It will be interesting to see what mannerisms we will all have. On the other hand, it won’t matter!
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org