Saturday, August 25, 2012

Road Trip, Lots Of Love And My Father's Blessing

Me. My uncle. Lots of love.

 I made a whirlwind, thousand-mile round-trip to Savannah (via Columbia) yesterday. We left Thursday afternoon and returned Friday night.


I saw my daughter in Savannah and got a taste of her life there. She has a great apartment in a great part of the city with an incredible neighborhood vibe.

The public library is right across the street, y'all.

I was drooling. I really, really wanted to manufacture a reason to stay. For a week. Or three.

Seriously; it's a great town, very southern but with a unique college-town, urban vibe. Diverse and artsy and incredibly cool. I've made four trips to Savannah now, but I'm going back, and I'm going to do more than I've done thus far, dropping her off for school and driving through town with a three-hour window. I need to spend some serious time in that town.

We walked to an awesome bakery, had what will go down in history as the best hamburger I've ever eaten, visited the Savannah Candy Kitchen and had a wonderful - but short - visit together.

I went to pick up David and bring him home; he spent five days there. I'm not sure he really wanted to come back.

It was great, as a mom, to get one kid and get a peek into the life of the other.

But the best part of the trip was for me as a daughter. My dad rode with me; props to him for a spontaneous, oddly-timed road trip. Mom said, "Maybe your dad would want to go." He did, and he gamely jumped in the car late Thursday afternoon. We drove-through Chick-fila and Starbucks and cruised South down I-95 with confidence and aplomb.

The youngest brother and the oldest.
We went to Columbia to see his brother - my uncle -  and spend the night, and that was cool. Always great to take advantage of an opportunity to see a loved one. It was nice to see them together and to eavesdrop on some of their reminiscing. My uncle loves me, and he lets me know. He has a huge bucket of affirmation and a beautiful gift. I always feel better about life and about myself when I spend a bit of time with him. It was great to sit on the front porch and catch up. Those were good moments.

But better yet were the hours of conversation I got to have with my dad during those long stretches of highway.

It wasn't non-stop talking (like it would have been with my mom or any of my daughters. He's a man, for goodness' sake.) Sometimes there were long stretches of quiet. But here and there were comments, and a few stories, and timely observations and some great conversations about Things That Matter. More than once he took the opportunity to tell me how much he loved my mom.

When we pulled into my uncle's driveway, he patted my shoulder and said, "Good job, kid. You did good. Got us here safely."

And when we got back home, he did the same. "Good job, girl."

I said, "Dad, you taught me how to drive."

It's as simple as that.

Contemplative. Or watching people.
I never imagined a necessary long drive to pick up my son would result in the time and space to listen to four hours of Merle and Waylon and Wille while navigating the interstate with the man who first taught me to respect the road more than three decades ago. It wasn't hard to remember the countless family vacation and trips with him behind the wheel and me peering over his shoulder from the back seat. I learned it all on those trips: watching out for "the other guy", always having an out, using your brights, using your blinker, accelerating gently...that's all intuitive now.

But it started with my dad.

And this trip ended with a blessing.

Who knew?

"Good job, girl."

You're never too old to feel good about making your dad proud.

One thousand forty-nine miles. And a lot of love, on both ends and cut right through the middle.

Max. David. Youth.

1 comment:

Brandee Shafer said...

What a great opportunity, for lots of reasons...