Family trips evoke horror ridden memories or gut wrenching cackles. During the trip to the homestead in Idaho a suitcase got left on the top of the car. The wind blew it off. We stopped to pick it up. Inside was a clock which, packed by my overly cautious uncle, suffered nary a scratch. He’d bought it during the trip and was flying home and had packed it to withstand airport handling.
The clock survived the flight off the car and the flight home.
My daughter’s memories include seeing all the license plates, falling asleep listening to a book on tape and not minding missing any of it as the nap made the travel time pass quickly. My dad’s vacation memories center around history and being in the middle of something exciting, for example, where fur traders traversed from Taos, Mexico to Yellowstone, or having sensory overload at places like Cabella’s.
My vacation memories usually center on leaving work with a clean desk—should someone need to find something in my absence the possibilities increase with each item I file or discard. Then there’s the thrill of finally being on the road and maybe driving fast with a radar detector.
Other family members might complain our hunger clocks are not in the same time zone, of restrooms too low or too tiny, of missing the correct turn-off, and keeping expenses straight so everyone pays their part.
I gaze out the car window and admire green velvet fields. I watch the breath of the wind blow across them and change their hue. I take in green and tan corn stalks stretching behind wood post fences, farmhouses, silos, irrigation wing spans, the rare red-roof barn, a gentle border of trees signaling a creek, a white steeple church, wind turbines, mile long trains that parallel us, blue sky sparsely peppered with dark clouds or glowing with white billows.
We cross state boundaries and face personal ones. These borders of our soul help define who we are, what we are for or against, and what we want and do not want. And sometimes we find ourselves not strapped on, wheeling precariously across the roof of the car, the next bump and we disappear. We may pray someone notices, or we may pray they drive on without us.
If family neglect left you on top of the car, did you fly off and survive, or crack with a hurt too big to repair?