I am getting to the age where I can look back on my childhood and long for simpler times. Though most people, I grew up in a time when children didn’t have to be in car seats and riding in the back of open pickup trucks wasn’t illegal. When I was growing up, parents threw their kids in the back of the car and just told them to hang on. We all rode in pickup trucks over bumpy, potholed roads. The fear of bouncing out was all part of the fun!
It was also the time when, for lack of something better to do, families would take long meandering drives on lazy Sunday afternoons. Every Sunday afternoon, after church and a lunch of Mom’s pot roast and potatoes, my family would pile into our old Chevy station wagon, lovingly known as Betsy, and hit the highway. It wasn’t always the most comfortable of rides. Eight people (my parents, 2 sisters, brother, both grandmas, and me) were stuffed into ole Betsy as we swerved around the highways of Kansas City. My siblings and I would continually jostle for space, climb on and off of each other’s lap, and fight over who would have to sit on the “hump”.
The heat in the car, at times, could be unbearable. Oh, that’s right…we had no air conditioning! The windows would be rolled all the way down and the vents would be opened wide but that still didn’t stop the heavy sweating of eight people all packed in together in a small space.
With no CD, cassette, or DVD player, without cell phones or iPads, my siblings and I would become endlessly restless and bored on these drives. While my father continually yelled that he would turn the car around, my mother would try to calm her children down by singing. She would begin with the melody and, once her children joined in, switch to the harmony vocal, which would threw the kids off and we would have to start all over again. With church every day but Sunday, we sang the songs we knew the best, church hymns. So, there we were…8 people in a station wagon, hot and sweaty, rolling down the highway, singing offkey versions of “Now Thank We All Our God” and “Let There Be Peace On Earth”.
Where were we headed? No place. At that time, most businesses were closed on Sundays. The best we could hope for was ice cream from the local Dairy Queen on the way back home if Dad was in a good mood. ….we didn’t always get ice cream! But this was my life. I grew up in a car. I have lived out of a car. I have done the majority of my traveling in a car.
I love to be on the open road. On nights when I have trouble sleeping, I imagine a ribbon of highway in my mind that I travel until I finally drift off to sleep. I have traveled in so many ways, physically, emotionally, spiritually, conscious and unconscious. I travel the endless highways of my life and I am ready to share my journey.