Perusing the Washington Post this morning, I learn that I am far from the only one with the pandemic obsession to hit the road. No matter, that I was not alone in this desire, the road is where I have been since Wednesday.
My first stop, which might not count as a stop since it’s less than an hour from home, was visiting friends who moved during the lock-down to a 55 plus community in Hamilton (that Hamilton, like in the musical, the guy who established the first planned industrial center, the Society for Useful Manufactures, in Paterson, NJ) New Jersey. How wonderful to eat bagels on someone’s patio other than my own, and to see these friends for decades looking so well and living so near their children.
From there I headed to my daughter’s in Philly for grandma duties. Dinner of franks and beans involved little fussing, but try getting an 8 year-old and a 4 year-old to to sleep when it is much more fun to read books and jump on grandma’s bed. Getting back to weekly grandma duties has been a treat for me and provides plenty of exercise in the playground and the yard. By Friday morning I was completely ready to get back in the car and head south.
I am writing from my brother’s in Bethesda. There was a ton of traffic getting here, evidence that I am not the only one needing a car trip. Not as bad as Thanksgiving Weekend, but not a treat either. Fortunately I had put together a long, eclectic Spotify playlist for my ride: songs like, “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Graceland,” “Jersey Girl,” “Angel from Montgomery.” Since his death, John Prine has been on my playlist continuously.
Next to me on the passenger seat I put a large back filled with trail mix, dried fruit and other snacks. One nice thing about car travel is how much stuff I could throw in the car that I may never use, and I’ll try not to dwell on the things I forgot like jewelry of any kind.
The weather yesterday was perfect. So was steak my brother grilled. I can’t remember the last time I ate steak, much more than a year ago. A guilty pleasure for me I suppose. I took a walk with my sister-in-law, met my nephew’s girlfriend, all the ordinary things folks are able to do in normal times.
In a few minutes I’ll get back in the car. By Monday I will be in Sarasota. Maybe I will do some actual sightseeing on the way. Mostly, though, this trip is about spending time with people I love, about talking with them. Time, love, and conversation, that’s about it.