Although I enjoy the freedom of being an empty nester, I relish visits with my children. Recently son drove in from Phoenix to visit us. Son has been researching a new career venture and wanted to run some things/ideas past his parents.
I’m not sure when Al and I got soooo smart. I think it happened sometime during son’s first year in the ‘real’ world. You know, that first year after college. In the eyes of youngens, parents can’t possibly be smart or understand the life of the youth. After all, we were never young, were we? So it’s nice to know, as parents, there comes a time when we’re deemed not as dumb as we once were.
It is extremely gratifying to have a child acknowledge and share his respect and admiration for his parents. Having graduated from college three years ago, son has come to realize how innovative and intelligent his folks really are. I’m such a proud mom. Son has turned into a responsible, respectful, ambitious young man. As I say that, I pat myself on the back. I done good! (ok, maybe Al helped….. a little)
As the three of us visit, we collaborate and research. We come across a one day seminar, a seminar possibly worth attending. Do I hear “road trip”? Since this is a spur of the moment decision and the price of airfare on short notice is not cost-effective, we decide to drive. Son and I hit the road in his fuel-efficient Elantra and leave Al and Bear behind.
It’s early Monday morning the 17th of September. We head south on Interstate 25 to New Mexico. Once in New Mexico, we head east on Highway 87 toward Texas. There’s little to no traffic. We continue east and then south toward Amarillo, Texas. The speed limit varies from 70 mph down to 35 mph whiling traveling through small farm towns. In Amarillo we pick up Interstate 40 and head east. Al and I often take I-40 west of Albuquerque on our travels between Colorado and Arizona, but this leg of I-40 is new to me. I-40 is well-known to those interested in retracing the historic Route 66, as much of I-40 is intertwined with this historic road.
We continue much of the day traveling through the state of Texas. We left Pueblo West, Colorado, at 6:30 a.m. and reached Fort Worth, Texas, around 6:30 p.m. Nope, not our final destination, stay tuned. We thought we would miss rush hour traffic in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and I guess technically we did, but traffic is still pretty crazy.
At the south end of Fort Worth we head east on Interstate 20. Somewhere in east Texas off I-20, about an hour from the Louisiana border, we stop at a truck stop for food and a potty break. It’s dark. We park near a light toward the edge of the parking lot away from the congestion. We see bugs flying around in the glare of the light. As we exit the car, we are struck by the thick, moist, warm air…..humidity in all it’s glory. Our walk to the gas station building quickly turns into a run as we are inundated with crickets….crickets crunching with each foot step, crickets hitting our bodies. Yuck, we don’t dare open our mouths for fear of swallowing a cricket.
Son and I make our purchases. As we exit the building, we race back to the shelter of the vehicle. It’s like a scene from a science fiction movie….Attack of the Crickets. We sit in the car a moment in shock as we listen to the crickets hitting the vehicle making the sound of hail. The windshield and car are covered in these little critters. They’re everywhere including one caught in my hair. Do I hear a eek and a scream? Up until this stop, my naturally curly hair had remained in perfect ringlets. That is until I stepped out of the car. It was just like that Fructis commercial when the gal puts her toe in the water and her hair frizzes into a do only Bozo would be envious of. So not only was I attacked by crickets, but my long, waves, and curls turned into a huge ball of fuzz from the humidity making it a perfect nest for flying crickets. Even son commented, “WTF happened to your hair mom”?
Curly hair and humidity do not mesh, and we’ll leave it at that. I won’t share the stories of a tearful little girl growing up in the humid midwest in the sixties, when long straight hair was all the rage. Can I hear an “awe” or perhaps a violin playing in the background?
Aside from all the creepy crawlies, the folks in these here parts, are down right friendly. However, we can’t seem to understand a word they’re saying. Are we still in America? The dialect is definitely unique.
The closer we get to our destination today, the less driving we’ll have to do tomorrow. Have you guessed yet where that destination is? We push onward toward Shreveport, Louisiana for the night. We arrive in Shreveport at 10:00 p.m. mountain time / 11:00 p.m. local Louisiana time. We find a Sleep Inn along I-20. It appears to be rather new. These two exhausted travelers are fast asleep the moment their heads hit the pillows. Tomorrow, we’ll head south for another 5 to 6 hours of driving time…….