Does Anyone Know This Man? Did He Ever Find His Way?

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Susan Dromey Heeter photo

Long ago tourist


I muse joyfully on a picture from 1995 in Prague of a man, a tourist who epitomizes all that I feel and wonder every day – where am I going? What am I wearing? Why am I wearing black socks with white sneakers?

I suspect this fellow called his shoes trainers rather than sneakers; though I honestly do not know his name, his nationality, his stylist.  All I know, is this week during my spring break, I came across this photo and was brought right back to a few days in Prague, a few days when I’d been traipsing across Europe, had driven to Poland from Holland and met up with my cousin, Sarah, and my aunts Sue and Billee.

Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings

Sarah had been in the Peace Corps in Poland; I’d been teaching in Holland and we’d coordinated a meet-up in Krakow.  We all piled into my Peugeot and drove from Poland to Austria and to the Czech Republic. Sarah and I sat up front while her mother and Aunt Billee chatted in the back. And as driving was a big part of our journey, I’d brought some books on tape to pass the time. When I drove through Germany to get to Poland, I’d listened to Richard Simon’s life story; I will forever associate Dresden with Richard’s advice to a woman, “Never mind the burrito, Marilyn.”  The autobahn never went quicker.

When we all travelled along the amazing scenery of Poland and Austria, we listened to In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. It was riveting.  In retrospect, it does seem an odd choice to listen to such a violent murder as we gloried in the alps, the sun, the edelweiss.  But after every stop, after every scenic view, we’d scurry to get back in the car and continue the story. Sarah and I still laugh over Capote’s amazing gift of storytelling; equating breathless views with Perry Smith and Richard Hickock.

When I snapped the picture of the tourist in Prague, we were coming to the end of our journey.  I’m not much of a travel photographer, honestly, I never take pictures of mountains or churches or places I’ve visited. But this guy exudes all that is best of travel, of life, of moments we venture out into the world: where am I?  Where am I going? Can I figure out this map?

He represents not only a wonderful trip with wonderful women, he also gives me a giggle with his shorts, his shirt, his obliviousness to fashion. And as I foraged through photos this week of spring break, I’m glad I found this one – it’ll be the one I keep, perhaps one I frame.  As in that moment captured, I muse joyfully on travel, on Prague, on Truman Capote and Richard Simmons.

Here’s hoping you’ll find your favorite travel photo and muse joyfully on beautiful memories of getting out of your zip code, putting on your travel shorts and shirt and looking around with confusion that can only come from venturing somewhere new.

Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.

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