50 miles a day. That’s what the trip meter says in the van. That’s not equivalent to 50 minutes driving on an open highway in the Midwest. The conversion of mileage to time is in hours. I believe I once purchased Dragon software, which is voice recognition software – I talk and it types. Would it work in the van? Could I write while I drive when those fleeting thoughts pop and I feel a story come on? Or would it end up in cryptic one-liners?
“Hi Kathy, when I dropped Liam off at your house, I noticed Jennifer was in her formal pinafore for mass. Could you please tuck in Liam’s shirt before you leave for school? I think that will do.” One minute later: “Hi. It’s me again. Liam doesn’t have a stuffed animal to be blessed today. Could he borrow one from Jennifer?” The teacher sent photos of the class with their favorite stuffed animals. They were adorable, including Liam in the front row with the borrowed panda.
Last Monday’s early email from Will: “Trumpet!” The previous Monday’s early email: “Trumpet!” 11-mile return round-trips.
“Mom, we haven’t used our dining room in a long time,” Will’s observation. Summer eating al fresco has ended. I’ve invited friends for dinner Sunday evening. A sure fire way to get the table cleared. Except, they are old friends… they wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the dining room piles and would be fine eating in the kitchen. I might need new friends to accomplish the clearing.
“You’ve lost your electronics privilege for Friday!” I regret it every time those frustrated words fly out of my mouth. Liam begged for a way to retrieve that privilege. I gave him an option: Write a letter to Mom. Think about good things and the Golden Rule. “You’ve talked about the Golden Rule in school, haven’t you?” A glum ‘yes’ was the reply. The assignment specifics: One full type-written page, Arial font – because I love that font, font-size 14, single-spaced. “I can’t do this!” But he did, with a little coaching. It was a lovely letter. “Now, at the end of the letter write what you learned.” A one-liner appeared. “I can’t hate people. I can hate broccoli.” Liam saved the file as “mom’s punishment.” I told him I would have titled it “mom’s learning tool.”
No matter where the errands and drop-offs are or what the conversation is in the van, the road home is the same. It’s a glorious road, and it’s the one daily constant in the routine of the week’s driving. I drive it slowly and stop to take pictures. “The Holly and the Ivy” tune runs through my head with the words “The Turkeys and the Ivy...”
Here's to fall driving.