We are not an athletic people, but we are a traveling people. Both sets of grandparents were travelers. My parents were travelers. That’s how I raised my children. We pack it up and head out with our national parks passports in hand. I like this life.
Two years ago this thanksgiving was the only road trip Z and I ever took on our own. We went to Huntsville, AL to spend the weekend with my childhood friend and her family. I’m glad we did it.
This year I packed up my partner (my rock?) and his son and the car and we left town. Maybe my partner packed up me and headed out. I’m not sure. I can’t tell. I’m in pieces right now and he’s doing the heavy lifting.
It’s more difficult than I expected and I entered a swell of emotion I didn’t anticipate. On the trip we pass through Louisville. We were just here in May for her last archery competition. I remembered some of the Kentucky and Tennessee landmarks because I’d seen them all before with her next to me.
When she and I made the trip, she already had her driver license. It was our grown-up trip where we could share the driving responsibilities. I could sit in the passenger seat and we could chit-chat.
I just tasted her slow change from childhood to adulthood. I just touched it as the metamorphosis was happening. It was so sweet.
That trip with Z with the second time I’d spent Thanksgiving in Alabama. The first time was several years earlier. 2009. I’d come down with my late husband and both my children. It was his last Thanksgiving dinner.
My Thanksgivings in Alabama are punctuated with funerals.
The drive without them is different. We’re not discussing adventure. We’re not reviewing the lyrics of Johnny Cash songs. She’s not there. My partner is driving and his son and my dog are napping in the back.
The drive is the same. The travel companions have changed.