A trip to the ditch

For me, it’s the memories of travel misadventures that seem to last longer and teach me more about a place and its people than that great meal or that lovely scenery.

Take tonight. Please.

I’m on a mini-tour of Washington State’s San Juan Islands doing a Humanities Washington presentation about Hidden Treasures in Museums. Tonight’s event on Lopez Island was in an old school house down a dark road and around the bend. So around the bend and down such a dark road that this city girl ended up driving her car into a ditch.

Somehow, not two minutes after I ended up in that ditch, a car came by and stopped. Then another and another. And, without even asking who I was, telling me who they were, or telling me how silly I was to get myself in the ditch, these people did what they had to do to get me and my little Honda Fit out of the ditch. Then they jumped in their cars and went home.

“That’s just the way things work here on Lopez,” my host told me when I showed up – on time – for my presentation. “We all end up in the ditch sometime,” said one audience member.

Beyond the fact that I was the featured ‘entertainment’ at the event, it was a good thing I made it to tonight’s event. Because the ‘special guest’ of the evening was a hidden treasure from the Lopez Island Historical Society & Museum: a piece of bread that is more than 100 years old.

The woman who kept this bread kept it because it was from the last loaf of bread her mom had baked before she died in 1900. A true treasure. And worth a trip to the ditch.

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