Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ramblings From The Road

I wrote this over a decade ago for the NC Storytelling Guild Newsletter. Just found it in one of my old document folders.

They were a pair of active, nutty, silly, imaginative little people!

Ramblings From the Road
Donna Washington

I spend a good deal of time on the road these days.  My car has become one of my best friends.  It is a blue-black 1994 Saturn sedan.  I put about thirty thousand miles a year on my car which means that it has almost 200,000 miles to date.  I’ve gotten to the point where I look forward to throwing a couple of days worth of stuff in the back and buckling myself into that seat that is perfectly molded to my figure.  I love the feel and handling of that old car and I trust it.

I take strange u-turns, go for miles in the wrong direction and misread my maps at least once on every trip, but since I tend to leave the day before anyone expects me I just do what I have to do to get there.  My little car has taken me through the mountains in snowstorms and across flat flooded roads in torrential rains. Once I spun out and ended up off the side of the road and into some trees.  A couple of nice young men helped me get my car back on the road and I drove at twenty miles an hour to the nearest Saturn dealership.  They hosed the mud out of the wheel wells and it was as good as new!

I also spend a good deal of time in hotels with the television off and the lights dimmed, hunching over my keyboard working on books or writing exercises.  I have gotten used to these quiet evenings alone waiting for my husband and children to call or getting instructions from my contact in that area.

This June, I had a different experience.  For the first time my in life my children and husband went with me on tour for three weeks.

There are some things you can never be prepared for.  I dropped my sedan off with my sister and we loaded our station wagon.  I was not prepared for how much I missed my little sedan.  Another thing that didn’t occur to me was how crowded a hotel room can be when there are four people sharing one bathroom and two beds. 
Not to mention the fact that both of the televisions were on when we were all in the room together.

It was a strange mix of work and play that was at times wonderful and at times very exhausting.  I forget how much work children are if you are actively raising them.  We were constantly in search of museums, zoos, natural experiences, wildlife, local attractions and anything we could think of to entertain and educate our two children who are four and seven. 

We discovered that Georgia is number fifty in the nation in education and that through most of the state there are no museums or any other kind of educational or interesting places for children to go and experience things.  When I asked why this was I was told that most folks just send their kids to the pool all summer.  

My children loved all of the greenery of South Carolina and especially Florida.  They loved being able to go swimming every single day.  In fact, our biggest problem was that they are incredibly active and it was hard to fill their days with enough physical activity to make them sleep at night.  They loved all the travel and they spent their time in the car talking about the animals and the people and the places.  They loved the ocean and they loved eating at McDonalds at least once a day for three weeks.  They loved the hotel suites where they got a television all to themselves.  They loved meeting kids who were from all over the place.  They loved the car games we played and they loved the stories.

My husband and I were exhausted with trying to keep them occupied as well as getting me to two or three shows almost every day.  There were times when I was so wasted, David would take the children out somewhere and let them run around for a few hours so I could sleep between shows.

I missed my sedan and maneuvered the wagon as best I could, but it just wasn’t the same, luckily, no one was hurt.

I didn’t ride home with my family.  They drove up I-95 and I took a plane to Virginia.

As I sit here tonight thinking about the last few weeks I can safely say that this hotel room is much too quiet.

Here's to remembering what it was like to be a full-time parent!!!

Happy reminiscing!


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