Are We There Yet?

The family room is filled with little girl giggles and the sound of a movie on the television. The grandbabies are watching a silly movie about kids on a family road trip vacation, complete with the following: kids demanding potty stops in the middle of nowhere, kids getting cranky, kids having food fights in the back seat, parents threatening to pull over and do dire things to those kids, and finally, of course, kids saying for the thousandth time, “ARE WE THERE YET?”
“ARE WE THERE YET?” We foolish humans are always looking towards the destination but never enjoying the journey.
Just last week I piled the kids and husband into the van to drive to a Gulf Coast resort for a mini-getaway. We drove into town and were focused on finding the cottages that we had reserved. Once we were settled, we all took a walk along the same road that we had just traveled in the van.
Had we noticed the glistening crystal beaches with the Gulf waters lapping at its shores? Had we seen the turtle egg nest along the beach? Had we paid any attention to the 120 miles of Florida wilderness that we had passed through to get to our destination?
NOPE.,,,,
I am thinking that this behavior is a nasty grown-up thing and it can be unlearned. I am reading an old diary of mine detailing a family road trip to Yellowstone Park. I wrote this when I was about 11 years old. I am the oldest of three sisters, always the bossy organizer of everyone’s lives. I had a list for everyone – their chores and schedules and treasury account of our accumulated allowances of a quarter a week per sister. The daily eventsof this trip are noted, not just the destination of watching Old Faithful spout its tower of stinky steam from the bowels of the earth. An entire page is devoted to the huge piece of apple pie with a smooth, round scoop of vanilla ice cream on top that I ate in a diner called the Reindeer Cafe. The next entry is all about me wondering if there were any reindeer in Wyoming and if I would see them and if I would even recognize them if I did see them. Another describes the waitress that served us root beer floats in mugs that were so heavy it took both hands to pick them up. Little sister just gave up on that and ate the ice cream with a really long spoon, then slurped up the frothy remains with a straw. My other sister and I teased her about it and made her cry. We did that alot. I even made a list of how many times we could make baby sister Betsy cry by calling her “Betsy Wetsy”. It was 39 times by the time we had made camp in Yellowstone Park. Or, I stopped counting after 39 times. Dad, (who had never said a cross word to his girls, turned his head around, still driving through the Wyoming park, one hand on the steering wheel, the other arm shaking a fist at us in the back seat of the station wagon, )screamed that if he heard any more teasing or crying , he would feed us to a bear. Anyway, back to the waitress at the Reindeer Cafe. She looked like my grandma, with a wrinkly smile, but she had the shiniest gold front tooth. I was so amazed at that jeweled smile, I asked Mom if I could have a gold tooth. She laughed, shook her head, and said, “I don’t think so, Tallulah.”
Mom called me Tallulah after an old time movie actress, because I was so dramatic and I loved to dress up in Mom’s party dresses and costume jewelry. That tooth would have been a lovely addition to my musical jewelry box.
Dad did all of the driving and Mom was in charge of any map questions and looking out for the next Stuckey’s roadside diner for Dad’s pecan roll fix. Dad had an incurable sweet tooth, and we were always happy to help with the latest quest for a root beer float or a piece of pie. Dad always told Mom that she made the best pies. And boy, oh boy, he wasn’t lying. Mom would pull out that block of milky smooth lard and we knew that the flakiest pie crust in the world was in the making. Our house was shaded by two apple trees and a peach tree. We ate apple and peach pies every summer night after Mom’s casserole du jour. When the rhubarb and strawberries were ripe, the lard came out again for rhubarb cobbler and biscuits warm out of the oven, topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
Yummmmm…..
I read somewhere that each time you stop your car at a red light, you should force yourself into the Now, look around, enjoy the Present as you make your journey to your destination. I tried it today. I looked around. I made up a quick story about the driver next to me. I spotted a large billboard promising the best long distance phone service. The ad was mounted to the side of a funeral parlor. I laughed as I thought,
“Wow, now THAT would be long distance!”
The light turned green. I still had 20 miles to go. Am I there yet?
Enjoy the journey!

Are We There Yet?

Sherri431

Joined March 2008

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Artist's Description

Enjoy the journey, not just the destination. Mini vans or station wagons of the past, they are all the same – they are the vehicles of family road trips.

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