4.27.2016 Journal Prompt

d24fdf1c
Photo by William Eggleston

April 27, 2016: Road trip.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “4.27.2016 Journal Prompt

  1. Dave

    We couldn’t scarcely tell where we were as we rolled along. Marsha and me were never that good at measuring anyway. She was always forgetting the time of day, never got home when she said she would, always had trouble remembering what groceries to buy. Had a list but would lose that too. I could never finish up at work neither. I was always behind schedule with my carpentry projects, and the boss was always chewing on my butt to get it done soon. But he always admired my work, and got top dollar for it too.
    It wasn’t just the time of day that we never got right. We had trouble with everything else it seemed. We couldn’t manage a checkbook between the both of us. Our bank knew us well, as we constantly had trouble keeping things straight. We forgot to return voice messages. I guess we would listen to them and hit “delete,” and forget. We just had so much on our minds, starting new jobs and being newlyweds and all. The wedding gifts sat in a pile in a corner of our apartment, and we knew that some day soon we had to get the thank you notes out. It was just all too much. We just sort of put our worries on a shelf up high in the kitchen, and left them there for later.
    I’m not sure who came up with the Road Trip idea first but as soon as we did we both jumped on it. We had to each make up excuses to everyone as to why we were leaving town so without warning. Gravely ill parents in California, grandmother in Iowa having surgery—whatever seemed to play best to our audience. We each put ourselves off for a week and we were gone. We never knew how many miles the old Dodge Dart had in her since the odometer broke at 120,000 miles. We just prayed that it would take us on another 10,000 or so. The neighbors agreed to take care of the old hound, and we packed our camping gear and out the door we went. We were surprised how easy it was at first. Said quick goodbyes to our friends, got the mail held. Checked in with the bank, got our bills paid. Took out as much cash as we dared, and away we went. Just got in the car, find the Interstate, and head west.
    Marsha always said that she was part Scandinavian. That was her excuse for the travel bug. I’m Irish, so didn’t have any of that adventurous blood in my veins. My ancestors travelled because poverty and starvation drove them to up and leave home. By the thousands. We didn’t have famine in our house growing up, but we sure were always looking for a better life for ourselves. We didn’t really talk it through neither. But I think that we each hoped that the Road Trip would open up some doors. Like it did for the Irish and the Vikings.
    Not that it was easy back then. Gramps would sometimes talk about the tough times back then. Usually when he was wanting me to study harder. He would talk about places that were closed to him, jobs that he couldn’t get on account of being Irish. Getting spit on, and standing in long lines waiting for nothing at the other end. But if I asked him if it was worth it all, he would just shake his head and say “that’s the way it was and there’s not changing what’s done.” Then he would cough his little cough, and tell me to get back to my schoolwork.
    So maybe Marsha and me both knew inside that the Road Trip could lead to some rough times. We didn’t talk about it for all the miles we were together. We would just listen to the old radio and talk about where we might stop next. We both hoped that the open road would be a path to our dreams.
    As it turned out the Road Trip was everything we hoped for, and nothing we expected. Nothing worked out quite right, of course. We were always making wrong turns and getting lost. We had trouble finding campsites or any place to stop. Once we splurged and stopped at an old beat up motel just to have a hot shower and warm bed for the night. The muffler on our dear old Dodge starting dragging somewhere in the middle of Illinois. We thought we were done for until an old farmer stopped and showed us how to tie it back up using old clothes hanger wire that we had in the trunk. When we finally found a campsite, folks would share their campfires and sometimes even their food. Looking back we must have looked like we needed help. We heard a lot of stories of long ago, and some more recent. Stories of hardship, and overcoming, and caring for each other. We were often the youngest people at these gatherings, and would come away with our ears ringing with loving words of advice. I’m not a religious person, but for both of us it seemed that a lot of things happened for a reason. Something I haven’t figured out yet.
    Marsh and me both come out of a family history of tough living. The Open Road has always been a way in our family to solve the big problems of life, to get a better start for our children. But I know that even these ancestors eventually settled down. For all their wars and explorations, the Vikings eventually lived in small settlements and tried to live off the land. And for the Irish, for all the bluster and hard drinking of the old days, they all settled down to run shops and factories all across the country.
    So maybe that’s what is at the end of the road for Marsha and me. Maybe we’ll find the place of our dreams, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But maybe we’ll get to the end of the Road Trip and see that we need to just go back home and settle down. I’m not sure. We have three more days left before we have to return to work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s