Friday, December 18, 2009

Driving North --- For a Really Long Time

Part I - Backing Out of the Driveway
There are four hundred miles and many hours ahead of us this day.
While I'm closing my door, before I put the car in reverse, it starts.

Jonah: "Mom, put the Penderwicks on."
Me: "Just a minute Jo. We're going to get gas first, and then I'll turn it on."

We reach the stop sign fifty feet from the driveway.

Jonah: "MOM, put the book on tape on. Please."
Me: "Jonah, wait."

Pulling into the gas station:

Jonah:"Mom, why can't you just turn it on so we can listen while you get gas?"
Me: "Look kid, you will have seven hours to enjoy Penderwick adventures, and I want to listen too. So cut it out, and have a little patience."

I love books on tape/cd/mp3. This conversation would have sent me into shrill guilt-ridden shrieks if it had been about the DVD player. But we opted for the Toyota Sienna without a DVD player...and not because of the money.
Thanks for paving the audio-way, Aubrey.

Despite giving Jonah and Caroline both a dose of dramamine, Jonah is wide-eyed for two hours while we listen. Caroline is asleep before we leave the gas station.

Part II. Car Dancing With The Black Eyed Peas
The desert can be beautiful. The desert can be monotonous. Coming through the gorge onto the Utah side I feel the signs of driver's fatigue and know that the sonorous voice of our narrator is going to put me to sleep even if the Penderwick girls are plotting grievous, sinful, provocative encounters.

Break out the mp3 and -
Give me a little "Let's Get it Started" by The Black Eyed Peas...with some volume.
And maybe a 16oz Coke - for purely medicinal purposes which I employ only when travelling and revel in under those circumstances alone. Shhh.

In the rear view mirror I see that after turning off the book Jonah is instantly asleep while Caroline is now awake and dancing with reckless abandon.

Part III. Can We Just Get Rid of Beaver?
You may not feel this way. I'm sorry if you have fond feelings for Beaver and I might step all over those feelings. But....
Beaver is Utah's black hole. I don't know why. I am not armed with terrible stories to justify such a claim. It's just not right. And I don't really believe that anybody actually lives there anyway. Sulpherdale residents man the Beaver gas stations to maintain the facade of township.
The only good thing that ever happened in Beaver was our family lying on the grass of the football field over at the abandoned high school and two-year-old Caroline says "I see the moon." It took us a LONG time to spot, but she was right - a little, faint sliver of moon was up there - staring at us.

When we left Vegas we didn't even need jackets.
We met winter in Beaver. It hung low in the air under gray clouds and a dirty haze. It felt sad and cold. I added a few more notches of speed to the cruise control.

Part IV. If You're Going to Yell, Don't do it in Public
I wanted to take four-year-old Quentin and strap him into a seatbelt in my van and take him home with me. Thirty minutes at the Burger King in Fillmore convinced me that home life with Chris-the-Dad-angry-face-yelling-man is no trip to Disneyland. While Quentin's parents alternately yelled at him and ignored him we got to know him. He's a good kid. He would have gotten in my car and gone home with me. I smiled at him and made him, it was kind of underhanded not-so-fair-play on my part.

While we are on the subject of yelling,
Glenn Beck
is not invited to participate in my life.
In ANY way.
So all you gas stations out there or fast food places (like, say, the Burger King in Fillmore) - TURN IT OFF!!
Or put Discovery Channel on, Food Network, HSN, QVC, TLC, AMC, SYFY, ANYTHING.

Part V. Coming Home a New Soul
It's dark now, and although we enjoyed blue skies when we were sufficiently clear of Beaver, Northern Utah offers us a good deal of stop and go traffic that kind of bites. There's nothing like traveling 350 miles in five hours only to spend another two on the last fifty miles.
The kids are finally starting to ask when we will be home.
"Soon." I say and hope simultaneously. "See those lights coming at us in a big curve? Those are cars coming around the point of the mountain. Salt Lake is on the other side of that curve."

While we come around the point Yael Naim is declaring herself "A New Soul."
I feel like a new soul too.
Surviving a heart attack and open heart surgery with my Dad has been an altering experience this past week.
I am reforged of new stuff - mostly because he is reforged, coming out of the fire with no beard and new intentions.
My Mom and Dad will have to keep that fire lit together. I will offer what fuel I can as often as possible.
I love you both, even while driving away from you.

1 comment:

Emily said...

This post rocks. It's true. It's bittersweet. It sends the echo of children's voices into my ears.

I am glad to hear them.

And I hear you about Beaver.