I had forgotten about rain. It has been hot and dry for so many weeks in Dallas that, although I thought about it, when we set off I forgot to take rain gear. (I was too impressed with our relatively on-time and calm departure!) The first day’s journey was sunny and hot with building humidity; the next day equally bright, hot and damp. Two hundred miles later, in Kentucky I was startled to see towering black clouds when we got back on the highway after lunch.
Now had we been listening to the radio news, I might have been prepared – but we were alternating between listening to our favorite satellite stations and the audio books I borrowed from the library -- and my texting friends – when I was not driving. Moreover, we were following two GPS devices. The one built into Doug’s car, though recently updated, had us in Oklahoma initially. So, we booted up the new portable device we use in my car. Two different voices, female, computer generated giving us directions slightly different from each other, preceded by distinct bells. Who could think about one more thing, like weather forecasts?
Sixty years ago car trips were somewhat different. Our trips were only to South Carolina. I carried no books of any kind because I was prone to motion sickness; I sat in the back seat and heard no radio unless we were approaching a large city – between Baltimore in the 1950’s and Jonesville, SC – there weren’t many. The first audio book to which we listened reminded me of many impressions I have of the early trips south: John Grisham’s collection of short stories, Ford County.
We took 29 South for most of the way – a two-lane highway. for most of the 535 miles. My father drove; my mother rarely took the wheel. Nobody talked about weather – it was hot and rarely rained. The best part was stopping for gas – and it was also the grimmest part. Washrooms were rudimentary and untended. But the large outdoor enameled ice chests filled with ice and sodas were wonderful. Coca-Cola’s, Nehi’s, and Dr. Peppers have never tasted better.
Our recent road trip is three times the distance of those early journeys – all four-lane highways, with average speeds of 70 mph. We do in one day what took my parents two or three days. The rest rooms are way better – but not the sodas.
The second book is one recommended heartily by a friend before we left Texas, What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. Listening to several of this collection’s essays I can understand his enthusiasm. Mr. Gladwell writes well and whimsically describing puzzles and mysteries ranging from why Heinz ketchup is such a favorite to WWII espionage; from WMD’s to the dog whisperer.
Points worth Pondering:
Laughter is an instant vacation. ~Milton Berle
God gave us memories that we might have roses in December. ~J.M. Barrie, Courage, 1922