When you were a child, did your family ever pile in the car and set out on a leisurely journey around town? Maybe as an adult, you do this with your kids?
I remember Sunday drives, not with my parents, but with my grandparents. My grandfather would zoom the ancient brown paneled station wagon over the hills of Chipperfield Drive, and our stomachs would fly into our throats. My sister and I would sit all the way in the back (facing backward), giggling enthusiastically before we begged for more. Next, Pop would head over to the old Sears building and race the car down the exit of the circular parking deck at what we (as kids) thought of as lightning speed.
My husband usually likes to take the long way to wherever we’re going. He drives the back roads and looks around, taking in everything that has and hasn’t changed over time. He comments on how high or low the creeks and waterways are. We pass an old restaurant (now shut down and vacant) that he used to flip burgers at when he was a teenager, and he tells me—again—the story of the time he started a grease fire in the kitchen. This has been a ritual for almost twenty years now, and it happened just that way earlier today. As a passenger, these drives usually make me feel tired, and once home I feel like I need a nap. I suppose the slow ups and downs and twists and turns of roads in the Poconos will do that to a person riding along.
Personally, I’d rather jump on the highway, despite the mostly limited views of poorly maintained asphalt, tractor-trailers, and out of state license plates. I find it best to maximize my time by speeding to my destination as quickly as possible. Otherwise, I find my mind wandering to all of the things I could or should be doing.
I wonder if this means I’m supposed to slow down and appreciate the simple things more? Or, maybe I just have better, more interesting things to do?
Part of it is this: I don’t like some of what I see on those drives. It saddens me to look out on the once great and prestigious resorts, like Penn Hills—now showcasing broken windows and graffiti, and overgrown with weeds. I’d much rather pick up my kids and bring them home directly, where I can kiss their pudgy faces and play with them for a while before retreating to my office to create a new fictional character and write a blog post or two.
If you have memories of Sunday drives, I’d love to hear about them.