The Long Drive Home

As newlyweds, we moved 3,000 miles from home one week after our wedding. Looking back on it now more than 28 years later, it was one of the best things we could have done for our marriage. The distance from in-laws insulated us from interference and an abundance of well-meaning advice that could have smothered us. The extra space allowed us to come together as a couple to face the world on our own.

Our courtship spanned 18 months and was spent far from each other in the days before email, twitter, and all the numerous ways of simplified communication available to us now. My wife tells me it was my letters that helped capture her heart. It seems even back then I could write compelling prose.

Soon we will be driving to the place we used to consider home. It is only 500 miles from where we eventually settled down and had children of our own. Now we think of it as the place where our extended family lives. Visits have been infrequent over the years. Holiday seasons used to be spent making the trek with small children to see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Eventually, we decided to travel during summer months instead of going to the colder region during winter. Sometimes, they came to visit us. Over the years, the brief spans of time spent with extended family has been precious.

My wife applies a special technique to long-distance driving – shortcuts. Her shortcuts are not traditional alternate routes chosen to save time. Her method involves napping. Regardless of our departure time, she quickly settles into a sleeping mode that can last for hours. Much like young parents may drive their babies to get them to sleep, she reverts to that infantile state during long drives.

Upon arrival, she wakes up refreshed and asks, “What time is it? Are we there yet? We are? Wow, that was quick!”

You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?)

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