Sunday, May 10, 2009

Road Trip

Eight days and a little over 2200 miles later, I'm back home. The past few years, I've taken the first week in May and gone to visit my parents in Florida. My mother was raised there in a small town, northeast of Pensacola named Baker. The first weekend in May is the family reunion for my mother's side of the family. This was the 24th year for the event, which has dwindled in size because of several factors: many of the family have died and quite a few have moved away from the hometown. I was one of only five cousins in our generation that made it to the reunion. One woman in attendance was over 90 years old!

It was good to see everyone--and as usual at those types of things, if you left hungry, it was your own fault. I hadn't seen one of my uncles since I was in Junior High. He traveled from Houston to be there. He has the beginning stages of Alzheimers, but he has such a positive attitude. He said something like: "This is what I have. I know what I'm up against. I'm grateful for the time I have left." Pretty powerful and humbling words.

When I've gone to my parent's lately, I've gone by myself. The time of year I go would mean the rest of the family missing work and/or school. Also, there's really not a lot to do there since they live in a pretty remote area, mainly agriculutural--not all of Florida is BEACH. They live about 30 minutes above the Fort Walton-Destin beach area, but I really don't care that much for the beach. So, I make the 14+ hour trip by myself, although this year, my younger brother flew in a few days after I arrived and we rode back home together. I like road trips like this because:

  • I like to sing real loud. When I travel by myself, I can crank up the sound and sing real loud. I am hopelessly stuck in the 70's and Dana isn't real fond of some of my musical tastes, so this is the opportunity to rack up the volume! Great "road songs" are anything by The Eagles or The Doobie Brothers--especially Rockin' Down the Highway. The route I take doesn't have a lot of decent (my opinion) radio stations, so I usually take the iPod and plug it into the auxiliary jack. My own personal "road mix" at max volume. Dana would hate it.
  • John MacArthur sermons. I have tons of MacArthur sermons on CD, so I will grab a handful and listen to those for several hours of the trip. Strange mix, eh? JM and 70's classic rock. This time, I took quite a few of the sermons he preached through the book of Luke. Good stuff. Also, a couple of sermons on the importance of expositional preaching. This is definitely one of those things you can't do with my whole family in the car.
  • Short and infrequent pit stops. I don't like to stop once I get on the road, but Dana can't go more than an hour or two without "going" (know what I mean?). Me? I'm a "urine camel;" I can hold it for a long time if I have to. When I finally do stop, it's run in--run out, back on the road. I don't stop to eat either, i.e. dine in. I zip through the drive-thru and get right back on the road. No need to waste time. Mental note: Pizza and tacos are hard to eat while you're driving.
  • No griping or complaining. There is no one asking: "Are we there yet?" or "How much further?" No one says: "This is boring. Why do we have to drive so long? Why can't we fly? Why does Grammy live so far away? When are we gonna eat (again)?" AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!
  • Time to reflect. For part of the trip, I turn the radio off and just reflect on my life, the blessings God has given me. I pray, thanking God for the incredible family he has given me. I ask God to grant me a safe trip. I ask God to watch over Dana and the boys while I'm gone. I think about the projects I have going on at work and at home. I take the uninterrupted time to mentally work through some things that have been on my mind lately. I've got 14 hours behind the wheel--there's plenty of time and plenty to think about.

It was a good trip. My brother and I got to spend some quality time during the week working on my parent's house--they're hoping to sell it and move back to Oklahoma. I also got to see my youngest brother that I hadn't seen in several years; he lives in Alabama. And I sang REAL LOUD...a lot!!!! And no one complained.


Little Town Big Life said...

I can just see you jammin down the road! Jennifer & I do that & the rest of the family can't stand to be with us. Still, we are sure we're gonna get jobs as backups singers--do they hire 80 year olds??

Glad to hear you got to see all of your immediate family.

Am reading "One Month to Live" -- it's pretty good. Our SS class has joined another for the study. Makes you think.

Charlie Curran said...

I love windshield time... I have made several trips by myself from Oregon to Joplin... I still really like to drive... although I get "tuckered out" a little earlier.... glad you had a great trip. Enjoy the family while you can...both of us are not that far away from our parents being gone...

Keith said...

Charlie: ...both of us are not that far away from our parents being gone... Too true.

Little Town: Oh, I was "jammin'" alright!!