Are We There Yet?

Genesis 33:12

I am a road-trip junkie. I look for any and every excuse to throw a bag in the car and hit the asphalt.  That is likely caused, at least in part, by the way our family used to vacation. I have mentioned in previous posts, since Daddy preached, we took vacations that started after church on Sunday night, and ended on Wednesday morning, or trips that started after prayer meeting on Wednesday night and ended on Saturday.  That practice enabled him to be home in time for the next scheduled service. We would load kids, bags, and sandwiches in the car and start out for the nearest relatives in the direction we were headed.

Because it was night, we usually had blankets and pillows in the back seat. That’s when we started jockeying for position.  There were three kids and three options. Pre-mandatory seat belt years meant at bedtime you would end up laying across the back seat, laying in the “trough,” or laying in the floor.  The benefit of the seat was comfort and space. You could stretch out to your heart’s content.  The benefit of the trough was the view.  There wasn’t as much space as the seat, but you could look out the back window and see where you had been, you could see the stars, and you could see the cars Daddy had just passed. The benefit of the floor was…there were no benefits to the floor. It was awful. That blasted hump down the middle prohibited any comfort whatsoever. It cut you in half, either by your stomach or your back. To my mind, it was a simple solution. Since Pennye was the oldest and tallest, she could have the seat. Since David was the youngest and smallest, he should have the floor. He could almost fit in half the floorboard.  Unfortunately, that fact that David was youngest somehow meant he had to have a more prime piece of real estate, i.e. the trough.  I tried so many times to find a comfortable solution to the back floor. I tried curling up into a ball…too big.  I tried leaning my back against the door, so only my legs lay over the hump…the door came open, so I never tried that again.  I tried putting my head and shoulders on the seat, with just my legs and posterior in the floor…Pennye pushed me off because I was invading her territory. I was shoved into the back of the driver’s seat.

The consequence to all this jostling was a scuffle.  Scuffle’s have a predictable response, “Don’t make me stop this car!” My dad was never one for idle threats.  He would and did stop the car.  From there, depending on how tired and irritable he was, the choices were few.  If he wasn’t too edgy, he would decide we just had too much pent-up energy.  Thus, when he stopped the car, he made us run in circles around the car until he said stop.  Don’t stop until he said to, though.  That was disobedience.  From last week’s post, you know where disobedience leads…the belt.  On other occasions, when he had been taken to task by the deacons or when he was especially worried about having enough gas money, he just went straight for the belt.  Laying prostrate over the trunk of a car on the side of a highway for a swat is a humbling experience, my friends. I thought maybe he should thank us for keeping him awake.  After all, it’s dangerous to drive when you’re sleepy.  He saw it differently, though.

coke

My dad had several years of tractor driving and truck driving experience, so he could tackle long distances in a single shot.  He wasn’t especially sympathetic to the idea that just because he had a man-size bladder didn’t mean we could also hold it for hours.  Somehow, he always had an empty coke bottle on hand when one of us had to go. I will not address all the implications and challenges of relieving one’s self in a coke bottle at 70 miles per hour, but you get the idea.

Lest you think I have unpleasant memories of those trips, I should state that we loved them.  Even in the floorboard, I eventually went to sleep. We all went to sleep.  In the morning, we found ourselves on a brand new adventure in some far-off land, like New Mexico. We explored the natural wonders of Bottomless Lakes and Carlsbad Caverns. We had a picnic in the shadow of  the majestic peaks in Ruidoso.  We also enjoyed much of our beloved Texas. We swam in the ocean at Galveston. We marveled at the sights of the Alamo and the HemisFair in San Antonio. One year was especially prosperous, so we thrilled to the amusements of Six Flags over Texas. We even got to see Ralph, the swimming pig, at Aquarena Springs.

In recent years, I find myself more drawn to sandwiches at the road side park than Denny’s or McDonald’s.  I’m more concerned about having a good time than making good time.  I pay more attention to the scenery than the traffic.  In fact, the journey is just as enjoyable as the destination.  I would even try to smush into the back floor again, if I could hear my daddy singing with the radio.

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Published in: on January 17, 2018 at 5:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

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