My family is spread to the four corners of the country. 4 kids, four corners. One in Oregon, one in NYC, one in Cleveland, one in South Texas, in a prison. We learned from our parents, who fled Ireland for religious persecution. Once we got to the United States our parents made good use of the road and the big cars. We took summer vacations in the car. We went for drives in the evening after dinner or after church. As in, “Let’s go for a drive down the front.” That meant we would drive down Ocean Drive where the wealthy live in Corpus Christi, taking the long way past Oso Bay (means bear in English) and all the way along the bay that forms the empty concavity that is downtown Corpus Christi. I would ask why we didn’t live on Ocean Drive. My mom would tell me to stop being ridiculous, but I secretly felt entitled. Then we would drive through six points or down Leopard Street, which was exotic because rich people didn’t live there. We might stop at the Mexican bakery for the rolls we ate almost every day of my growing up life. The last leg home we usually ended up driving along Saratoga road, the southern limit of town, inhabited by cows living in little pastures between sorghum fields.Then we would get home and tumble out of the car, the six of us and head back in to the house,somewhat peaceful or probably sedated. Maybe our family had collective colic and the drive settled us. My memory is that that’s the case. We weren’t often settled at any other time being all together. The white noise of the car and the AC set to “MAX” (not “NORM”) probably took us back to the quieter, sleepier place we all passed through before we met each other.
Does anyone do that anymore, go for a “drive” as if its a treat? Do families of six take an hour to be in the car together? When I am back in CC I make the loop almost every time. I am inexplicably drawn to it. I know what the salmon must think of themselves.
This country has outstanding geography. It makes a great excuse for getting away from anyone, or anything. In AA a “geographic” is a legit form of denial in which one tries to escape from the inner demons by exploring new locales–moving, changing jobs and cities. I have completed my share of epic geographics. I moved from Atlanta to Bend, essentially fleeing the city, having convinced myself it was on fire like in the Civil War. Reality: I was on fire and had to get quite a bit more deeply burned before I knew it. Denial is awesome. It allows one to get all the way to the very end of life’s lesson plan before realizing school is even in session.
I loved going on family vacations in this country. In the summer now I itch for the road trip. I like stopping at truck stops. As a kid I would crank on the invisible air horn chain until the trucker yanked on their visible ones. I still want to do that. I want to pull in to the motor in too late at night after having rolled past the barren desert southwest and jump in the pool before going to sleep on starched sheets. I want the terrible vanilla-oid ice cream at Howard Johnson’s (Free cones for the kids!). We fought constantly, but we were all in the same car, ranging across the country in the summers and now I loop back to those memories to comfort me when the meaningless grind of work sands me smooth and uninteresting. I was with my people I guess. Maybe I am unnecessarily and inaccurately romanticizing this–very likely true. Oh well, I do enjoy the memories and I enjoy reliving them when I am now on the road especially in the summertime. The more the distance between my brother and sisters, the more I am connected to them in this world of my imaginary memory. It’s as good as I can do most of the time. Today, however, to all you Archers who likely don’t get this blog much (and that’s fine, by the way), hello. I am thinking about you.