About six weeks ago I got a call from my sister Carol. Her husband, Mike, works for the Mayo Clinic branch in Jacksonville, FL. I already knew that Mike had accepted a temporary six month assignment for the Clinic at the Scottsdale location, and I knew that Carol was considering joining him there. It would mean taking a sabbatical from her work tutoring dyslexic children; a vocation she loves. I hadn’t heard what she’d decided to do.
We chatted for a moment about our kids and grandkids, and then she told me she felt she was ready for a change. The time in Scottsdale was a chance to experiment a bit, try a few new things, maybe do some volunteer work. The only problem was transportation. The Clinic provided a company car for Mike, but if Carol wanted to be free to roam, she’d need to drive her car out. How would I feel about coming along with her?
The first thing that hit me was that Jacksonville to Scottsdale was roughly 80% of the country. And a good chunk of it was that vast, almighty empty known as West Texas. I drew a breath to say, ” No, I couldn’t possibly.” Instead I heard my rather cheerful voice respond, “Sure. Why not?” It was Carol’s turn to gasp.
Why did I say yes? Honestly, I’m not really sure. Maybe it just felt too stuck-in-the-mud to decline. Maybe, as I age, I’m getting more like my grandmother who was always up for a car ride, be it to the Grand Canyon or just a few blocks down to the liquor store. As quick as she could grab her “pocketbook” she was in the shotgun seat. Whatever, I was in. Carol was so shocked at my easy agreement she called back several days later, just to make sure I understood; 2,061 miles. She impressed it on me firmly. Got it? 2,061 miles. Yep, I got it. I was still in.
So, the bags are packed, the car is loaded. We have pictures of our sisters who couldn’t make the trip, Donna and Mary, strapped firmly into the backseat. The plan is to prop them up at various locations so they can vicariously join in the fun (or tedium.) I have practiced driving Carol’s six speed, and only killed the engine once. The husbands have been kissed goodbye. At 9 a.m. we launch ourselves toward Baton Rouge, the first stop on our journey.
I have my pocketbook, and I’m ready to travel.