Road trip notebook: Massachusetts

We left the motel in Greenfield, crossed Interstate 91, and headed east on Route 2, the Mohawk Trail. Carol started playing the last bit of the Trollope novel we’ve been listening to on this trip. The road wound through some old paper mill towns along the river, and then up into the hills of central Massachusetts. Although I’m not usually sentimental, I did take a detour off the main highway into downtown Athol, past the little church where I was ordained; it looked neater and better-maintained than ever, and the signs out front had been renovated and repainted. The Trollope novel reached its inevitable conclusion, although it took forever for Will and Clara to finally get married, and we had to listen as Will crushed her passionately in his arms and kiss her brow, her cheeks, her lips; it was not a very satisfying novel, but it was good enough that we had to listen to the very end of it. At last the novel was done, and we wound down through the hills towards Concord, and met my dad at the house of Deacon Miller of First Parish of Concord. Deacon Miller is not a bit like the deacons they had 350 years ago at First Parish of Concord; first of all, she’s a woman (which would have been unthinkable in the 17th century); and she is a self-described Jewish atheist deacon (equally unthinkable in the 17th century). Carol and Deacon Miller and dad and I all sat down to a lovely dinner, and that was the official end of our cross-country trip.