A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Monday, May 21, 2007

How Boring To Be a Horse

We spent this past weekend in Yosemite and driving there brought a lot of things to mind. Going down the highway, I saw a lone, speckled horse standing in the corner of a small fenced area – just standing there. No one was with him. No other horses in the fenced area with him. Just standing there. I thought – dang, how boring. Nothing to do, no one to talk (neigh??) to, nothin’ happenin’. Just stand in the field, head bowed, waiting for lunch, dinner, someone to ride him, someone to brush him??
Also on the road were a few old, abandoned farms and houses. Boarded up windows, yards overgrown. I always look at those places and try to imagine if they could tell their story – about the family that once lived there. The laughter of children, the day-to-day activities of the family, friends coming over for a visit. I wonder if some day people will drive past my house and wonder the same thing about us.

Then there was the corn field. Brought back memories. When I was a little girl, we lived in Dayton, Ohio. The drive-in movie we went to was out on the highway and we passed a cornfield on the way. I remember that during the spring and summer months, my dad would always get out of the car and stand by the corn. Each time he did that, I would get excited to see how the corn was growing and, when it was taller than my dad (who was a giant to me!) I was really amazed. It was a summer tradition for us – one that still brings a smile to my face.

I loved road trips as a kid. We always left at 4:00 am. Primarily because we lived in Tucson and most of our road trips were to Southern California. You had to leave by 4am in order to get to Yuma by 8am. Our trips were summer trips and Yuma was at least a hundred million degrees in the summer. So we had to get there by 8am, have a quick breakfast, and be back on the road before the temps reached the 100 degree mark – which was around 8:30am.
And I would annoy the hell out of my parents. I would fall asleep for a few minutes, and wake up saying (whining), “Are we there yet” At first, my dad would say, “No, sweetie, not yet.” Then it turned to “Not yet”. Then “NOT YET!!”, and finally, “If you ask again, you’re walking!” Apparently I was quite the annoying child.

I have such fond memories of our road trips. Starting out when it was still dark. My mom would make a bed for me and my sister in the back of the car (no seat belts back then). When it was time for them to have some coffee from her thermos, she would spread the dishtowel out on her lap, and pour some for herself my dad. The smell was both comforting and exciting - it signaled that we were on vacation. Leaving Tucson we would pass a power plant that was so lit up at night it looked like a giant spaceship. It was one of my "we're going to California" icons. Then we would stop at the truck stop for a gas fill-er-up. The bright lights, the trucks all around, the early morning sounds. To this day, truck stops at night have a feeling of impending adventure.

My kids and I would also start out road trips at 4:00am. It was simply a family tradition. Of course, when your destination is only 2-3 hours away, it wasn't so practical. But it felt so right.


Wendy said...

I always feel sorry for the cows when it rains. There is no barn for them to take cover in.
Our road trips were always from Indiana to Florida. Not so much fun when you are the only one riding in the backseat though. My mom should have had more children.

Desert Diva said...

Once again, you've reminded me of a memory from the past. When I was a child, we would take a once a year trip to my grandmother's house near Hazard, Kentucky.

My father would always come home from work and get cleaned up and then we would leave under the shroud of the night. We had a station wagon and some of us would sleep in the back.

We would always find one of those places that had fresh, hot donuts to eat on the way. It was always exciting until we hit the old roads with a million curves which set off a wave of vomiting in some of my brothers. Then, there was the excitement of arriving in the wee hours of the morning and being "welcomed" once by my grandmother's pistol when she answered the door...

The Kept Woman said...

Ah yes, the family car trips.

I wasn't the brightest bulb on the string and I would sit in the backseat and eat ice cubes. Do you have any idea how far it is to the next rest stop? Usually like a zillion miles away...

Arlene said...

I'm so glad that being threatened is a fond memory...that means my kids will have the best memories ever ;-)
I love road trips too, and I've instilled that into my children. I think there's nothing more freeing than the open road!!