Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Car Trips

Joy, it’s summertime. People are once again filling gas tanks and hitting the road. Despite high gas prices, one can still get from here to there without breaking the bank. And I do hope you take the back roads occasionally. The good stuff hides there. Little old people on porches, holding hands and watching the sun slide down, an unexpected parade, a wild patch of sunflowers, men in faded overalls, whittling sticks on a store front corner. Once our girls got older, we took back roads whenever possible.

I remember when they were young, traveling the twelve hours to Missouri every summer. We took the interstates then, our goal, to get there in record time. Ten miles down the road whining would commence. They were so good at it, I always suspected they’d rehearsed. Conversations went something like this.

“How much longer?” One would ask.

“Eleven hours and fifty minutes.”

Another chimed in, “I’ve gotta go to the bathroom.”

“For crying out loud, we just left the house. Can’t you hold it?”

“You want me to pee my pants? Pull over!”

“What a pain.”

“Why’d you have me then, huh?”

“I had no idea it was going to be you!”

Boy, did we have fun. Those early travel memories are sweet, magical moments in time. I can still see their sleepy eyes. How their heads would wobble and finally give out. The sun playing on their blond hair. I can hear the giggles, see the sparkly eyes when we’d stop and they’d get a treat. The squeals of anticipation when rolling down the window, sticking our arms out, and getting truckers to honk. They loved this and I did too. I also remember them laughing as I tumbled into the backseat to read them stories. The four of us, all cozy under a blanket in the middle of nowhere, happy as clams.

We’ve done road trips as far back as I can remember, the memories priceless. On the weekend we’ll be taking another. This is the first time two of the girls won’t be going. One is attending summer school, the other working. The trip will be strange without them, but our youngest daughter will keep us well entertained. I’m thankful to spend time with her while I can. She’s growing up too fast.

Enjoy your summer and keep making miles and miles of memories!