My favorite memories of my Dad involve road trips. He really was the master of finding the road less traveled and thankfully, I was often along for the ride. My Mom died when I was nine and Dad and I really developed a very close bond over the years. I was his side kick, his partner in antique hunting, train spotting, museum touring and seeing the sites of America one road mile at a time. I learned to read a map at a very early age and he encouraged me to always find the routes that would take us off the interstate. So it's really no surprise that when he earned his angel wings and went back to his Lord's side that the way I chose to use a chunk of the money from his estate to buy a car. Not just any car mind you; the car I'd dreamed about since I was 8 years old. A convertible Mustang.
To say I love that car, is a bit of an understatement. I really really love that car. I love the heat of the sun on my head as I cruise back country roads. I love the feel of the pipes rattling as I push her standard five speed transmission to the red line when I drag race a cocky boy off the line of a red light. No, I really, really love that car.
Thankfully, I married a man who loves the road as much as I do. Given the choice to drive or fly somewhere, guess which we'll choose? We've put a lot of miles on my beloved Pony, but perhaps my favorite are the ones we've put on Friday nights.
I'm always the last one home, and I used to peal into the driveway and just LAY on the horn to get him out of the house and into the car so we could go go go! We've driven many many of the back roads of western Michigan on hot Friday summer nights. With never a real destination in mind, some we'd try to find the smell of fresh cut hay, or a working windmill, or we'd just periodically shout out a direction and turn that way to see what we could see. Nothing could help us shake off the stress of a long work week like a long top down drive.
It's summer of course, but things are quite different now. This afternoon when I raced home from the office (I admit that I still have a bit of a lead foot.....love to hear those horses runnin' under the hood!) it wasn't to get back on the road ASAP. Nope. Tonight I was just needing spitty kisses from my beloved Mouse. He and Daddy were out for a walk when I got home, but seeing his blessed face light up when I caught up to them made my heart soar!
It may look a bit silly but there is a car seat base in the back of my Pony now. And the top is up more often that it ever was in summers past because there's WAY to much wind back there for Mouse to enjoy a top down ride. And though part of me is kind of mourning my Friday night escape rides with Mr. Mouse, another part of me knows that someday, when he's old enough, I'll hand Mouse the map and tell him to find me a back road to explore. And when that happens, his Grandpa will be smiling down from heaven, whispering in my memory his "Rules of a Roadtrip." And that's how my Mouse, will get to know his Grandpa.
Till then, my Pony is parked in the garage beside my winter beater; just biding her time.