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On Ending Two Years in the Peace Corps

Even in stories, our endings are provisional 
      Stories want to have endings. You can write a story without an ending, but that will make your story and your readers unhappy.
      It’s because endings are so rare in life, which is all about unfolding, that humans invented stories, which in turn is why writers and editors have work.
     Here at Bay Weekly, we still get the occasional reproach for leaving foreign correspondent Thomas Long and his trusty International Harvester pickup truck in the midst of a revolution in Chiapas, Mexico.
       That was March 1994, and we had already taken him to Part II of his adventure …
      As I told you before, the best thing about covering Third World revolutionary wars is that you have good guys, bad guys and cheap shrimp.
     But in modern Mexico, almost nothing is cheap — not even the tequila. And here, the good and bad weren’t so clearly defined.
     We didn’t necessarily want to be where we were just then, travelling with the army.
     Nonetheless, we trailed them for about an hour, behind 25 tanks and a dozen trucks, stopping periodically while they cleared roadblocks put there by guerrillas. …
      Tom and his truck escaped to write another day, using a shield that has since lost its effectiveness: We clambered through the thicket, arms held high in the air, saying in Spanish, ‘Journalists, don’t shoot.’
       Back to safety, he promised more adventures—
       But somehow, Tom’s story ended there, ­unresolved. And, as I said, I still hear about it.
       So when our contemporary foreign corres­pondent, mid-life Peace Corps volunteer Liz Barron, popped up in my inbox with the news that she was finishing her two-year stint in Armenia, I figured we better let her finish her story.
       Back in 2017, she’d introduced her new horizons:
       I have a view of Mount Ararat from my bedroom near Artashat in Armenia. The mountain, the national icon of Armenia, is now in territory claimed by Turkey, but the people here still consider it their own. Every day in Shady Side, I was awed by the beauty and size of the Bay. Now I am in a landlocked country, but look out upon another wonder of the world: Noah’s mountain, the peak where the Ark is said to have run to ground.
       In six installments, Barron continued the story of a country she grew to love: its geography, food, festivals, people and the friendship they offered a foreigner trying to bring some 21st century skills to a nation eager to make up for lost time.
      This latest chapter, in this week’s paper, is her story’s ending.
      Or is it?
      Would you like to read more stories of Chesapeake neighbors’ world exploration? I’d like your opinion and, if so, your nomination of other travelers.
 
Plus 1 …
      You’ll find another pro-tem resolution in this week’s paper, as Krista Pfunder Boughey reports on Bay Weekly’s disbursal of reader Helena Scher’s common milkweed seeds. At this point, it’s a success story. With some 600 seeds distributed for planting, Scher’s supply — the yield of just three milkweed pods — is still not used up. So drop by for your envelope of seeds, or send us you SASE: Milkweed, Bay Weekly, 1160A Spa Rd., Annapolis, MD 21403.
 
Plus 2 …
      Join us in celebrating Mother’s Day in the paper of May 9 by sharing pictures of mother-and-child look-alike pairs. Email by Monday, May 6 to [email protected] with names, towns and a one-sentence explanation. There will be prizes.