Margaret had spread a blanket in the grass. Basil was unfolding the map and placing it on the blanket. Gladys put boulders on each corner in an effort to keep the wind from stealing the map. Margaret started cutting the pie.
“None for me, Margaret.”
“Gladys! Why must you insist on worrying about your waistline. There’s really no point in that now, dear.” Margaret handed a plate of pie to Basil.
“Old habits die hard, Margaret.””
“Thank you, Margaret,” Basil poured the coffee. “This one’s map is a bit confusing with lots of detours and rarely a straight line from point A to point B.”
Gladys took a sip of coffee. “She must have been an indecisive one, I figure.”
Margaret laughed. “It certainly makes for an interesting journey that way.”
Just then Jon came up. “What are you guys doing?”
“Oh we’re just enjoying another map, dear. Pie?”
“Sure, Margaret. I love your pie.”
Basil pointed at the left side of the map. “Look here. We see a relatively straight line that represents birth to about the college years. Just that one detour when she quit college briefly, but I see she got back on course at this point.” Basil traced his finger along a red line. “But it’s here that we see the line veer way off course. I wonder why she thought that was a good idea?”
Jon put down his fork and looked at the map more closely. “Looks to me like that detour taught her how to appreciate art and creativity. I don’t see how that was a bad choice.”
Gladys pointed at a fork in the road. “What do you figure happened there?”
Jon looked at Gladys like she had a third eye. “How else would she have gotten those awesome kids of hers?”
Margaret nodded. “You are so right, Jon. And look at that spot.” The red line appeared to be broken and a new red line started an inch away.
Jon sat back and looked at the other three. “That was a major detour. The one that saved her kids.”
Jon moved the empty pie plates to the side and crouched over the map. He pointed at a juncture and said, “This is where she learned some of what she didn’t want.” He pointed to another spot and said, “This is where she learned what she would not accept.” He put his finger on another bend and said, “This is where she reinvented herself. Again.” Moving his finger further, “Here she decided she didn’t need to like football. Turns out she never did, she just thought she was supposed to.” They all chuckled. Margaret said, “I never did like football much, but I liked the sound of it playing on a Sunday afternoon when I was baking.”
Jon pointed again, “Here she started a new career right after rejoining a previous segment. It’s almost like her route made a circle.” Margaret said, “Oh! Isn’t that when she and her kids moved back to their old house? That was a fine course correction.”
Gladys looked up from the map. “Wouldn’t she have gotten to where she was going quicker if she’d taken a more direct route? What if she’d avoided all those detours?”
Jon smiled. “Don’t you see, Gladys? If it weren’t for the detours, she wouldn’t be who she is.”
“Not all those who wander are lost.” — J R R Tolkien