Skip to main content

A Sparkly Place

Claire is a planner. She found out on Christmas Day that we would be going to Disney in March. She immediately got out her suitcase and had that baby packed down to the toothbrush in ten minutes. We unpacked her pajamas every night at bedtime for three months. Nothing puts that girl into high gear like a road trip.

She is excited today because we are headed to Atlanta. Claire packs her clothes. She packs our snacks. She packs our books and buckles her younger brother in the car. They wait while the rest of us gather our stuff together and haul it out to the Suburban.

We pull out of our driveway, turn left onto the highway and drive five minutes. Five minutes!

"Mom. Mom. Has it been an hour yet?"

"Claire! You can practically see the house!"

"Is it time for lunch?" The kid is eternally hungry.

"Claire! We just ate lunch five minutes ago."

"Can I have some juice?"

"Let's save it for a little while because if you have juice we'll have to stop to use the bathroom."

We drive along two lane country roads. Cotton fields and corn fields stretch out on either side of us. Roosters scratch for insects along the side of the road. Armadillos lie belly up. We see huge gardens and little traffic.

Stuart gets stuck behind a slow car. "Driving to Atlanta in the blue-haired lane! We'll be there in about eight hours if I can't pass this woman." The two lane road switches to three periodically and Stuart edges by the tiny woman. We look down and see her peering through her steering wheel.

Claire continues the commentary from the way back. "Why are we going from side to side?... Papa! Make the road stop bumping!... Are we going the right way?... Mom! Mom! I have a thread on me!"

Three lanes widen to four. Purple and red and yellow wildflowers fill the median. Cars fill the lanes. We drive in the fast lane and look into the windows of the slower cars. We pass a car with two people wedged into the front seat. The back seat is stuffed with all that they own. Paul glances over, "They packed that car with a plunger!"

We see many moving vans with cars hooked to their bumpers. My mind takes a detour from our destination for a moment to wonder at how our roots seem to be more attached to a U-Haul than they do to solid ground. We wander from place to place in this country like nomads in search of a more promising life.

I snap back to reality and find our Suburban surrounded on all sides by tractor trailers. The little girls cry from the way back, "Papa! Papa! Pull over quick!" My heart races and my head swivels around to see what the emergency is.

"We need to let Creative and Playful out!"

"Who are Creative and Playful?!"

Turns out they are two flies who climbed into the car with the children at the last reststop. The Fig Newtons stuck to the seats were irresistable. John rolls down his window and shoos them out.

Four lanes turn to eight. Expensive cars and SUVs merge onto the highway. Charlie finds a snorkle tucked in the pocket of his door. Everyone needs a snorkle in their car in case of an underwater emergency. He trumpets into it in his hillbilly voice. He sounds like Gomer or Goober. "I have to go PEE-EEE-EEES! I have to go PEE-EEE-EEES!" We search for a restroom. Up ahead, a Dunkin Donuts! We get off the highway. Turn left across three lanes of traffic. Turn left across three more lanes of traffic and hustle him into the restroom. Turns out it was a false alarm.

Back in the car. Back into traffic. Back on the highway. Claire urges Stuart on, "Go faster, Papa! Go faster!"

Charlie picks up his snorkle and bellows at the cars in the lane next to him. "Go red car! Go blue car. Go cars! Go!"

We come around a bend. The Atlanta skyline stretches out in front of us. The buildings reach greater heights as we come closer. Soon we are enveloped in the heart of the city. Adrenaline fills the car as we weave through the lanes. The kids are excited to reach our destination. Charlie's eyes take in the glamor and the bustle and the buildings crowded together. He points his snorkle at me and blares, "It's a sparkly place, Mama! It's a sparkly place!"
Posted by Picasa

Comments

Kate, I don't know what was funnier. Reading that or hearing you tell the story Friday night. It is so funny and so Liam.
kittyhox said…
You are a gifted writer. I SO enjoy every single one of your posts.

I felt as if I was in the suburban with you. I am an only child (I have two stepbrothers, but didn't inherit them until adulthood) and this was what I always imagined a family road trip to be.

"Playful" and "Creative." What a fun family.

:)

Popular posts from this blog

Spelling Wisdom

One day while skipping around the internet, I came across these:




And when I clicked on the sample, I knew we had to change spelling curriculums. Again. Goodbye Spelling Power and MacMillan and Sequential Spelling! We've found our true love.

The problem with the afore mentioned curricula is sheer boredom. Memorizing lists of words is mind numbing and as my children don't like their school work to lull them to sleep, they often push spelling to the side in favor of more exciting lessons.

When I found Spelling Wisdom, I realized what has been missing: an idea, something to engage the mind so that learning the difference between than and then occurs almost incidentally.

Sandra Shaffer uses the writings of famous men and women (Helen Keller, Beethoven, Winston Churchill...), Bible passages and quotes from quality literature...poems and novels (Robinson Crusoe, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, All the World's a Stage...) to teach more than six thousand frequently used word…

Rain

My sister-in-law lugs a heavy bucket of water around her herb garden, gives each plant a long sip. "It's been three weeks since we've had rain," she sighs looking out over the dusty vegetable garden and the shriveled brown grass in the pasture beyond. We help my brother pick beans and pull the weeds around them. The dry ground pulls back and some of the weeds snap off above the roots. We give up in the strawberry plants, sit on the porch, listen to the dogs pant.

We travel home in an air conditioned bubble. The whole length of the Shenandoah valley is crispy brown, the corn stunted. We pull into our Amish county driveway, greener here but the grass is short and the air hot. We breathe shallow breaths, unpack, crank the air conditioning. No rain in the forecast, three weeks and counting.

Saturday there will be a wedding, an outdoor wedding, and finally rain threatens. Stuart is on the phone with the bride. "Pray that the rain holds off," she says. Saturday w…

Until Death...

Kindred spirits, Anne would call them.  Two who complete each other, two who are better...best together,  soul mates one cannot imagine apart.  I can count the kindred marriages I know on a couple of fingers and after last week, that count is down by one.

"You look so happy," Dave says as Stuart and I stand awkward and wordless before him.  I bend down to wrap my arms around him and wonder, Where is the good in this?  Where? A week before we bumped into Dave and his wife, Deb, down at the Famous Brands.  Deb glowed with good health and good news and for the remainder of the day we basked in the unexpected good fortune of meeting these old friends.  And now there is Dave minus Deb.  How can this be?
"It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live."  Mark Twain's Own Autobiography
"You look so happy." We do not look happy but somehow this remark makes sense because Dave has loved with …