You know how New Yorkers talk about going up to Connecticut for the weekend? Well, that’s what we did, my Sister, my Dad, and me; only it’s a bit more of a drive from West Michigan, 855 miles from my house to the hotel in Meriden CT where we stayed. Eighteen hours is a long time to spend with family in a car, and then in a hotel, and at events, and finally another sixteen hours in a car for the return trip.
We left Friday and returned Monday giving us two full days in Connecticut; four solid days of time together; and we had a blast! Dad said it was the best time he’s had in 100 years, and he’s only 85! The last long road trip he went on was in 1996 to Arizona to visit family. Since then he spent many years caring for my steadily declining Mother, and the last eight and a half years on his own. This trip he didn’t have to do any driving and could just enjoy the ride.
When I proposed this trip to our family reunion out East he jumped right on the idea as did my sister. My brothers couldn’t make the trip, but they really wanted to be there. So it was down to my Dad and his oldest and youngest offspring.
I was wondering at the start of this trip how we would survive four days with each other. The answer was, quite nicely thank you. Sis is quite talkative and kept the conversation going during the long hours on the road. She gave Dad and me plenty of opportunity to chime in. And she spelled me with the driving chores for a few hours of the trip out. The result, we caught up on a lot of the 40 years I’ve lived apart from them. I like quiet and jealously guard my “alone” time, so I wondered if the constant chatter would get to me. A couple of times for a few minutes I would drift away from the conversation, but always found myself lured back in by a new subject, or a question by Sis designed to keep me alert and my attention on the road.
This whole trip seemed to be just one of life’s little perfect moments in time. We were totally engaged, living in the moment, allowing a little serendipity to guide us, meeting distant relatives from all over the country, and absorbing everything we could in those all too brief days. It didn’t matter what we did or where we went, we were just doing it together. A trip to a trolley museum and a trolley ride along the New England shore just because we happened to see the highway sign; a visit to the ocean beach, mentioned in a parting comment from our host and distant cousin Peter as a place he took his family in their younger days. What’s more serendipitous than that?
When I finally got home late last night I thought I’d be falling into bed. Instead I talked with S and L for half an hour, unpacked, cleaned up, and chatted with my wife out in AZ. When I finally crawled into bed about 12:30 I was humbled, energized, and excited; and tired, but pleasantly so.
I don’t know if there will ever be another road trip with my Dad quite like this one, maybe it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences but we reminisced about some great times, and made some great new memories in the process. Life doesn’t get much better!
Living in the moment…