The long mile

Road trip memoir

While walking the section today with our overly energetic golden doodle Honey, my thoughts fell into rhythm with my steps.  We are the only residence on our section.  There are two neighbors that live next to us, one to the west and one to the north.  So excepting the harvest activity it is rather a quiet walk.  Two grain trucks, one pickup and one combine greeted us.  Okay their drivers did.  Because our house lies in the middle of the section mile, the first corner is an easy jaunt.  The trek to the next corner southeast of us is also easy, because of the creek bed that breaks the walk up with its rolling terrain.  The long mile is the one in the middle.  Heading north on the east gravel road always gets me a little down.  It seems so long because there is really nothing to break up the distance in topography.  Looking off to the west the view of our acreage never seems to change.  It is a long mile away as the bird flies for the whole corner to corner march.  I find that my mind tends to be plagued with thoughts of “have I missed the turn” and “where is that hayfield anyways?” and “just put one foot in front of the other.”

The long mile is the one in the middle.

With the first suggestion of a road trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania to see my niece and nephew (my two elder sister’s first children) my anxiety over the trip nearly caused me to say no thanks.  I am not the best traveler for various reasons and sitting prolonged periods of time is not usually my favorite thing.  Crochet helps the sitting seem less endless.  

Then when my rib healed in it’s allotted timeframe, I decided I had no excuses.  Besides it would give me a captive audience for my entertaining mindset.  As a child I clearly remember mealtime as the opportune moment to crack jokes and tell stories.. I was always the final person to leave the table.  I took my role back immediately upon the first meal break from the vehicle.  While it was mentioned that perhaps the best suit for a birthday party was a birthday suit, I quipped in response “One must live life with no regrets, and that might be regretful.” Whereupon the eldest of daughters at the table nearly choked on her sandwich in laughter.  We had decided that what was spoken or confessed in the vehicle ought to stay in the vehicle.  The accountant in the family quickly proclaimed that the “birthday suit” conversation had not happened in the vehicle.  Bummer.  The whole scenario of four women traveling together soon became family “trip-tweets” (group messages) that divulged the whole secrets of women in the same family taking a road trip together.

The tattle tale was the child in the middle.

Collecting things has always been our mother’s joy on journeys.  Whether if its rocks, leaves, acorns or maps, she can always find something to collect.  Because the trip was an ‘on-a-mission’ trip to see the first and second grandchildren, and the first great-granddaughter, there was no time for the number outs antique malls, state parks, river views, or shopping establishments that we sped past.  However, because a driver so loves backseat navigators, my mother had to collect a map from each state that we entered.  At one point on the road when the rest stop did not have a map, there was a half purposed visit to the rest area on the return trip, “Because maybe they’ll have a map of this state here.”

Geography was fun for me once.  But these days the maps are mostly in my head.l My eyesight doesn’t make it very easy to view the map, so the visual just remains in the modem..And because I never drive anywhere I refuse to learn my google map app on my phone.  It saves me the trouble of having to watch for things that I can’t see anyways.  Like street signs and road signs that aren’t boldface type!  At one city during the ride, my eldest sister, who did all the driving, asked sister number two in the front passenger seat to pull up her phone navigation so that she would have a second set of directions.  My mother thought that it was quite vascinating that though there had previously been four women in the car, now there were six women.  And add to that the fact tat these last two entrants, Ms. Garmin, and Miss Google couldn’t seem to agree.  Later in in the drive through Pittsburg, she declared them to be fighting and our trip had been so peaceful until that moment of disagreement.  Well, we thought it was all pretty funny except for the downtown slum passageway out of the city.  

The best part of the trip was the middle.

Visiting the niece, nephew, his wife, and the grand-niece proved to be quite worthy of the effort.  The stories of our adventures will be told and retold through the years to come.  The joy of the nieces lives and the zest for busy-ness with a two year old will keep the tales going.  When you have four generations in one room it is always the youngest that gets the most attention.  And her busy little mind can make all the adults suddenly speak “toddler!”

The long hours of visiting and the baby of the family joining by face-time will not be forgotten.  And though the long miles of the the middle days were hard on the body, the comrade rice of family togetherness was worth the sore backs.  Having common bonds makes the togetherness even more vi….  Our family has been blessed to all be of the same mind in Christ also.  The daily devotions, prayers for meals, and safety, and the conversation that kept our minds on things above were special moments.  Though we took all interstates, highways and avoided toll-roads, this poem that I wrote to music a number of years ago seems to fit this memoir of our trip.

The Road Less Traveled

There;s a road less traveled, And yet it leads to more.

A journey full of blessings, and the end so much more.

Jesus, Lord, and Master, Savior, King and Friend,

I will follow when you call me Knowing eternity has no end.

Oh, the road less traveled  Is narrow and unsure

Difficult the passage. Of those who’ve gone before

Jesus, Lord and master, Savior, King and Friend

I will follow where you lead me. Knowing eternity has no end.

The journey has a Shepherd. Counselor and Lord

My Shiled and My Comfort. Deliverer and more

Jesus, Lord and Master, Savior, King and Friend,

A know that You are with me on this journey that has no end.

There’s a road less traveled And yet it leads to more

The journey full of blessings And the end so much more

—Yvonne Clark, October 29, 2993

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