“Hello?” (I was in the midst of eating a piece of whole wheat toast on a Saturday morning.)
“Hey, Joanie, guess where I am? “
“I don’t know. Where?”
“I’m on top of The Great Wall of China!”
She doesn’t call to rub it in. She calls to share the amazement and appreciation of it all. She calls because she is a marveler at the world’s treats. If anyone deserves to travel because she enjoys it so much, it is my sister. She calls because she loves me.
Alice lives in California, and I live in Pennsylvania. We see each other in person an average of just once a year. The phone is our mode of connection. We call each other a couple of times a week. I don’t keep track of her galavants. I barely know what I’m doing next, let alone what anybody else is. So when Alice calls with a “Hey, Joanie, guess where I am?” call, it’s usually something of a surprise to me.
Here are just some of the best “Guess where I am?” calls I’ve received from my bon vivant adventurer of a little sister, Alice:
Burning Man (Missed her. Got a message on my phone.)
The signal she got out there in the Nevada desert was fleeting. She called me to let me know she was there, and the costumery and alien mutant vehicle she’d made with lots of welding, papier mache, glitter, and gauze was running well and looking splendiferous
Leaning Tower of Pisa (I was teaching decimal place value to my fifth graders.)
I couldn’t take this one, as the attention span of ten -year-olds should not be broken lightly. But, true to form, Alice left a message that started with, “Hey, Joanie, guess where I am?” Evidently, the Leaning Tower looks just exactly like it’s supposed to look. Cool.
Ireland (I was reading “Forbes” magazine on the couch.)
I called her, not realizing she was already on her trip, and I had just called Europe. She immediately said, “Hey, Joanie, guess where I am?” She was in Ireland with her daughter, Erin. I asked if she had danced a jig yet, and she laughed and said that they actually had just now done that. Some Irish man had taught them, and they’d both tried it. After assuring me that yes, we do look Irish, we hung up to save minutes.
Rolling Stones Concert (I had just gone to bed.)
This is a great sister. She did a “Guess where I am?” call from a Rolling Stones Concert a few years ago. She held the phone up to give me a listen, but all I heard was lots of yelling and noise. (I sound like my parents.)
Aruba (I was slicing onions.)
She called while taking a tropical snorkeling break. She recounted the tale of nervously nightclubbing it in the Aruban tourist area the night before, aware that Natalie Holloway had disappeared from the island not long before that.
The YMCA Bushes (I was in the grocery store, choosing fruit.)
She made a pilgrimage back to our old neighborhood in Palo Alto, the California town we lived in, but left by third grade. She was making a “Hey, Joanie, guess where I am?” call from the site of “The YMCA Bushes.” This is where we made some of our best secret clubs in “The Fort”, the hollow area under the hedges where we met siblings and friends, and counted pennies we kept in an old hinged tin.
For a less vicarious adventure with Alice on my part, here’s a true account of our encounter with Big Foot.