I took the first of many road trips to Valdosta shortly after Christmas in 1999. It was a long drive where we got lost and spent interminable stretches of our time behind logging trucks on rainy, monotonous stretches of road. For entertainment in those golden, olden days, we had books-on-tape and witty conversation. I think I may have read articles from magazines out loud as well. It was a long, long drive.
Then we had children, and over the years our road trips began to evolve.
This year, I found myself looking forward to our annual trip to Florida for Boy’s Great-Great-Granddaddy’s birthday– NINTY-NINE years. This would be the first to include a side trip to Valdosta—where we’d not been in many years, since B’s grandmother (the Girl’s namesake) passed away. While I wasn’t especially looking forward to the part of the drive on those two-lane roads that led away from our scenic coastal route to the inevitable place where we’d always gotten lost in the past, I was succumbing to the not entirely unwelcome poisons of the travel bug. Old places made new again—car, people, and cloud watching. Time passed by staring at license plates, reading names of rivers and creeks, wishing I could stop every three and a half minutes to take a picture of something “amazing”: a crane in the marsh, or an old barn long forgotten on the side of the road, or a gnarly tree in the middle of a grassy field. If I’d had my way, it’d taken us three days to get to Valdosta instead of six hours.
You probably wouldn’t want to travel with me.
As it was, I sat on my hands and stared out the window while the kids watched a couple of DVDs, read books, colored, and talked. There was conversation—not like the days of old– we’re in our mid to late thirties now, not our mid twenties, not too mention travelng with B’s parents, not alone, and that does make a difference, but it was there to be had—and book reading. Admittedly, I was reading Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia—and if you haven’t at least heard of the book or seen the movie, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. Okay, not really, but it has been on cable a lot lately.
It’s hard, as relatively newborn blogger (Is that what I am? I must be. I’m sitting here on a Saturday morning writing my 151st post for my blog, which I guess makes me a writer of one of those online blog things, so—uh, yeah—blogger here…complete hack, wannabe pretend writer on line one, Bob.) to admit to reading such a book. It makes me feel all copy-cat like. The truth of the matter is, though, I didn’t like Julie Powell a whole lot. I was kind of glad I saw the movie first, because I’d never ever have done that if I’d started with her book. Now, I have to say, even though I didn’t really like her (or her character?)a lot—it was tough to relate, ‘cause in her world, I’d be totally evil and uppity and averse to the f-word every 27 minutes, not to mention too uptight about various subjects to even think about broaching them in public—I did keep reading her book, and not because I didn’t have any other option. Okay, fine. I’d read it again. She’s kind of infectious like that.
So anyway, there was reading going on, too.
Oh, and since I’m spiraling off into the hinterlands here, to end this post I’m just going to pose a question here. I wish I had some photos for this, but I never could get a shot off in time—Why on this beautiful green, brown, and blue earth are there so many “drive thru” liquor stores in Georgia? And when did “thru” become a word? Ugh.
In the end, the drive there was a drive, and we’ll do it again, and that’s okay with me.