Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Go Home Function

At 5:04 Monday morning, we returned home from the joyous occasion of my sister’s wedding in Tennessee.

It was a long and grueling night. What should have been a 12-hour drive became 17 hours of driving with 4 children, with a 200-mile detour around a hazardous waste spill on I-40 and a torrential rain that followed us up the I-80 corridor. Knowing that driving in the rain makes me nervous, my husband did all of the driving until 3:00 A.M.

He was beginning to not feel so well and I began to pray fervently that the rain would stop. Remembering that “when two or more join together” in prayer mountains can be moved, I asked him to join with me. Within five minutes, it had stopped and we switched drivers.

Our St. Valentine’s Day gift to each other was a GPS. We had borrowed one from our good friend and best man during our trip to Florida this Christmas and found it an invaluable tool while out of town. This handy device could have save me countless hours of getting lost on field trips during our homeschooling years!

My favorite function is the part of the screen that says “Go Home”. Press it and it routes you home, telling you the approximate time of arrival – that is, without allowing for pit-stops.

As lovely as the rolling hills of Tennessee may be, filled with horses and cows (“Cows – wow”, says my little toddler when there are enough of them to be noticeable), when we hit the tri-state area I am filled with that welcoming joy of being home. The lights of New York on familiar roads; the good, bad, and ugly; this is where I belong.

The strongest I ever felt this was after I spent a semester of my sophomore year at St. John’s University at College Europa in Budapest, Hungary. It was such a fascinating experience to be engulfed in a new culture and environment for those three months. I thought that I would not like New York when I returned. But when I drove home from the airport under the graceful arches of the Verrazano Bridge, I embraced my home state with happiness.

Years later, my husband and I spent a year in North Carolina. Again, I had grown tired of the Island and wanted to belong to a more graceful subculture. In the South, strangers treat you with courtesy. Once you pass the middle of Virginia, you are no longer asked to pay for your gas until you have pumped it. The attendants in Food Lion and Harris Teeter pack your groceries and even bring it to your car.

After a few months we found that we did not belong there. New Yorkers may seem brass and coarse to some, even to ourselves at times, but we are real. We have soft hearts that are protected with breastplates of iron. Get through that and you have a friend for life. I hope that we never leave this place again.

We sure don’t mind our own business though. As I told people of our plans to drive to Tennessee for the weekend, everyone had their two cents about it. Why didn’t we fly?

1. We can’t afford it.
2. We like to drive.
3. There are no direct flights, and one could spend a full day of traveling by plane anyway.
4. We can carry all the stuff we can fit into our car.
5. We have our own vehicle in which to travel at our destination.

Those are just a few of the reasons. But people have even more to ask.

Do we have a television in the car?
No, we do not. Our children are quite adept at entertaining themselves. Did the western pioneers have electronic entertainment on their long grueling trip across the frontier? They were lucky if they could carry more than one doll. They made up stories and songs instead.

Do we have one of those big storage units for our roof?
No, we do not. Everyone gets to pack whatever they can carry in a backpack, and whatever else they would like to sit on for the duration of the trip. A limit is good for discipline, and cuts down on the weight of the car.

Why don’t we stay longer?
My husband is self-employed and does not get vacation time. We feel the pain of the lack of time while we are there, but it makes that time that much more special. And we really do love to be home, so vacations are not things we especially long for.

I received a meme from my friend Leticia in which one of the memorable questions was: “Name four places you would rather be.”
1. Home
2. Home
3. Home
4. Home

There's no place like home!

1 comment:

Loren Christie said...

Television in the car is more trouble than it's worth. When they know you have it, they want it on even on the shortest trips! Consequently, Elmo follows you everywhere.