I’ve noted before that the more I’m doing that might be interesting to report on, the less time I have for the reporting. We’ve covered a lot of ground since Christmas, both metaphorical and physical. For instance, Friday morning found us packing up in Tennessee.
A few hours later we watched our oldest son Fiddler get sealed for time and for all eternity to the love of his life (hereafter known as Ginger) in the LDS temple in Atlanta.
The next morning we sent Limonada off on an early flight, ferried Liebling and Chiquito to the home of the couch they’d be surfing prior to their departure for Germany, and continued on what turned out to be a 20-hour trek north.
I believe there’s a lot of pretty country between Atlanta and Westford, but for us on this trip much of it went by in the dark. Mostly we watched the windshield wipers. Sometimes they went very fast, accompanied by splats and swooshes of rain. Sometimes they paused for a few seconds, followed by that skidding sound that’s loud enough to ensure that the off-duty driver won’t really get much rest.
A drive of that length tends to get a little fuzzy in the memory. We’ve been home not much more than a day, and it’s already mostly floating off, with the exception of a few images, a few sensations and a few mysteries.
One image is of headlights through the rain coming directly toward us. We had pulled off the freeway (in West Virginia?) in deep darkness, searching for the promised gas station, and had apparently turned left just this side of a median strip, which meant we were going the Wrong Way. The car that approached us was less disoriented than we were, and swerved around us, at which point we got ourselves over to the Right Side, and were able to take a few deep breaths.
Other than that sensation of relief, the sensation I remember most vividly is of slow and unsettling drifting as the car began to fishtail on the highway. Sleet and ice had replaced the rain that had been our constant companion through the day and night. The worst of it began around 4 am. I’ve mentioned before that 4 am is generally not a good time, and this early morning was no exception. If you must be fishtailing on an icy highway, though, 4 am is a better time to do it than some others I can think of. At such an hour there are fewer cars around to hit or be hit by. We slowed down, and concentrated on “Arrive Alive” as the primary goal.
Eventually we were able to step stiffly out of the car (and into ankle-deep slush), and to make it into bed by 5:30 am. The evening before, I had given Ninja very solemn and thorough instructions about not waking us, not opening our door even if he needed something from our bedroom, or had something really important to say, not rattling or touching the doorknob (does it sound like I was drawing on some past experiences here?) until we came out on our own. For all our sakes, I’m happy to report that he remembered my instructions.
Now for the mysteries: where did we put the paper where we were keeping track of the states whose license plates we saw? Limonada was pretty committed to the endeavor. I know we jotted down a few others in various places when we couldn’t find the official list. Maybe it will turn up.
But the larger mystery was this: what did happen to that block of cheese and the paring knife? We’ve looked quite thoroughly. We didn’t ever take it out of the car. I guess it could have fallen out without our knowing it, and is now lying forlornly next to a rest-stop curb in one of the southern states on our pilgrimage, but it’s hard to picture. If it’s not abandoned somewhere, I guess we’ll have an easier time finding it as the weather warms up. I don’t imagine aging cheese in a car is a method recommended by experts.