Thursday, June 17, 2010
Who wants to go on a Road Trip?
Most people consider me crazy when I say that we are taking a vacation that is across the country and
we are driving.
In fact they almost always say first,
There is a feeling that comes from being on the open road
that is like no other for me.
My earliest childhood memories are being in a car
I have delicious memories of drifting to sleep with the hum of the engine, the low whispers of my parents in conversation, even my sweaty little legs sticking to the vinyl seats leaving the imprint of their geometric patterns.
The special bag of snacks purchased with "trip money", literally hush money from my parents, carefully selected at the local drugstore.
Each candy chosen for their unique abilities and value.
Penny candy because it could be purchased in quantity.
Jolly Rancher sticks because they lasted and could be savored. Their unique ability to be sucked into shapes like a sword or a sharp stick to poke your unsuspecting seat neighbor.
Wax bottles filled with an unpalatable liquid that was drunk quickly so that the wax could be used for fun. Chewed and softened in our mouths and molded into shapes; balls and sticks. For at least a few years. a retainer because I thought they were cool.
The strip of candy dots that were always so beautifully inviting but never satisfying when you tore them off and were left with a small spot of candy and larger amount of paper to try and digest.
Candy necklaces that could be worn and nibbled at, leaving sticky sugar on your neck and fingers.
Smarties that were separated and savored slowly as I imagined each color a special pill that each possessed a different super power.
And a little bit of the good stuff...a candy bar or two that was usually gone by the first morning.
There were the moments of quiet when the siblings were asleep and I would stare out the windows mesmerized by the passing fields of corn or wheat...so uniformly planted, so precise as they seemed to cascade by me like a movie in an old fashioned projector. I would see a farm house in the distance and try to imagine what they were doing inside and images cultivated from my love of the Little House series of books would fill my mind with possibilities.
There were times of singing. My mother repeating the songs of her youth to us. Her soothing voice coupled with my father's booming, eager, but tone deaf sounds, filling the car.
Little Red Schoolhouse,
House in the middle of the woods,
Jeepers Creepers, and
Little Red Caboose.
Songs I remember and sang to my own brood, occasionally substituting a word or note accidentally.
And when my stomach was full and sleep would not come...
There was the teasing.
There was nothing better than placing your hand on the predetermined line on the seat that marked the enemies turf and extending a single, sticky pinky finger over it, waiting until it was spotted, then sitting smugly when the scream erupted,
"Mom, she's on my side!!"
And when all else failed to amuse there was the whining and complaining,
"I'm hot...turn up the AC."
"When are we going to get there?"
"When is it my turn up front?"
"Does the hotel have a swimming pool?"
"How much further?"
But my sweetest memory of all...
was knowing that my whole family,
everyone that I loved
was contained in one space.
With no easy exits.
I have hopefully passed the legacy on to my own children who will say to their
"Who wants to go on a road trip?"