Too Drowsy to Drive
We left bright and early, 6:45. The girls were eager to leave. I was groggy from the previous night’s meds, but I thought I felt fine to drive. Jenn, however, was skeptical. She asked me to say “Supercalifragilisticexpalidocious”. I felt like I nailed it, but I was struggling with clear speech in general, so she took over. I raised a fuss. I don’t know why that bothers me so much, admitting that I shouldn’t be driving, but I was in a snit over it.
On the drive, we heard the news of the mass shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando. They were saying 20 were killed, but by the time we got home it was 50. It sparked discussion over gun control, terrorism, and hate crimes. The fact that we had just been in Orlando seemed to make it more personal.
I lived in Lonoke, Arkansas between 1977 and 1984. I have such a deep affection for the town. I like to stop in when I drive by it. I’d stopped for gas on the way, but didn’t want to slow us down by entering the town thinking I might do it on the way back. I stopped for gas and finally found a praline, but it was so old that I didn’t feel my hunger was satisfied. On the way back to interstate 40, I missed the turn and ended up on Center Street in Lonoke, I decided it was meant to be, and began my usual tour passed my old church, the school, the park, familiar houses.
I could feel myself sinking into a deep nostalgia. Downtown was run down but I could still imagine what it looked like. There were remnants. I saw signs with family names that I knew. I looked for familiar faces, but decided that I would not recognize the majority of people I knew.
On the way out, I asked Jennifer, “Do you ever wonder what would have happened if you would have stayed in Tulsa?”
I knew, that in someways, if I’d stayed in Lonoke I might feel like the gal at the gas station in Alabama.
On the way into Norman, we stopped by Jennifer’s mother’s house to get the dog. I made a fuss about keeping the dog in the back seat. I had reached my limit in the car and didn’t want to deal with her interference in my driving.
The house was clean. Jennifer had made a point of us cleaning up before leaving, as was her custom. I don’t like doing it, but I never regret it when we arrive. After we unpacked, I went straight to the back yard to check on the tomatoes. I was pleased to find a healthy amount of growing tomatoes.
Our cat, Luna, is a little unusual. She is not very affection with us, but for the whole evening she cuddled with us. She had missed us. How about that?
This trip will remain with us our whole lives. We may go on other family trips, but this will be the last one where our kids are still basically kids. They are both taking big steps toward adulthood this year. There is a sense of a closing chapter in the Wilson-Burns life.
We experienced wonders and thrills and family bonding together. We experienced a peace beyond what we’d experienced in previous trips. The kids don’t relate to each other as kids anymore fussing and fighting the whole way. Jennifer and I had learned not to force things. We let people do what they wanted to do.
And I did some letting go. I didn’t worry about money. I didn’t hold on to expectations. I just let things happen. This may go down as our best vacation. And I successfully made my transition into Vacation Dad.
And guess what I finally got?