An Unexpected Road Trip

Last Friday morning I had just dropped the little guy off at school when an idea occurred to me (side note: when the sweet little girl on safety patrol opened the back door so that A. could get out of the car, a Zaxby’s cup fell off of the floorboard and rolled across the pavement, which only served to confirm my theory that the back seat of my car is the vehicular equivalent of Sanford & Son, with the only exception being that Aunt Esther does not ride around with us and occasionally call me a “frog-eyed fool”).

(Seriously. That little safety patrol girl has no idea how thankful she should be that the nineteen books and six jackets on the backseat didn’t band together with the 42 gum wrappers and six empty cups and stage some sort of carpool line coup.)

Anyway, the idea that occurred to me was that an impromptu road trip might be in order. I’d been thinking about going to my hometown for a few days, mainly because Mama, Martha, and my Aunt C had all asked, “SO, WHEN ARE YOU COMING HOME?” when we’d talked on the phone earlier in the week. Plus, I’ve been trying for months to find time to get together with a couple of my forever friends, and WONDER OF WONDERS, they didn’t have any weekend commitments. So I called D, ran the plan past him, and once we worked out a few details, I hit the road.

Well, I mean, I went to work first. Because they don’t really love it if I just don’t show up. However, I feel confident that there was in fact a time in my early 20s when I did in fact decide to opt out of work for a couple of days and then proceed to make all sorts of excuses and maybe even feign an illness or four.

Oh, I was the poster child for responsibility. You’d better believe it.

I drove to Mississippi late Friday afternoon, and by the time I got there I was so wiped out that I pretty much just sat on the couch and watched a documentary about Marcus Dupree with Mama and Daddy. The documentary was great, and it occurred to me that I was essentially re-living my high school days, only my bangs aren’t nearly as crispy now and my jeans are no longer acid washed. Well, and I’m old. But besides that: NEARLY IDENTICAL.

Mama had lunch plans with some friends on Saturday, so my aunt and I decided to strike out on our own. I saw approximately 44 people that I’ve known all my life (only an estimation, of course), and I realized that one reason I could never live in my hometown again is because I would never, ever get anything done. It took us twenty minutes to leave the place where we were having lunch because we kept running into people (not literally, mind you, or else I would be wearing all manner of braces and casts today), and when we were almost to the door, I saw my friend Merritt’s daddy, along with Merritt’s sister and her kids. It was so much fun to see all those familiar faces, but I almost felt like I should’ve gone through an intensive photo identification process beforehand. It’s tricky to put names with faces when you’ve been away from a place for almost twenty years, but oh my goodness I love the familiarity of it all.

After lunch we stopped by Martha’s so I could drop off a pink sweater that I picked up for her at the SteinMart, and as soon as Martha pulled that sweater out of the bag, she put it on, posed, twirled, talked about how perfectly darlin’ it was, and then posed one more time. She had been doing a few things at home that morning, and she apologized at least six times for what she was wearing. Now mind you she was wearing a pair of black slacks and a white turtleneck sweater, but based on her sincere regrets about the stylishness of her ensemble, I think she’s forgotten that most Saturdays I tend to wander around my house in some BROKE DOWN pajama bottoms and a Life Is Good t-shirt with paint all over the bottom of it.

Eventually I dropped C off at her house, and I hit the road to meet my friends Tracey and Elise. We’ve been friends since our freshman year of college, and though I can’t really explain why, lately I have been missing my long-term people way down deep in my bones. So oh my goodness – did I ever soak up my 24 hours with those girls. We laughed our heads off and went out for a great dinner and then laughed our heads off all over again. We stayed up late and slept late and covered an impressive number of topics in a relatively short period of time. And by the time we said our good-byes Sunday afternoon, I was just – I don’t know – grateful. Because there’s just not much better than friendships that stand the test of time.

So now I’m home. Yesterday I washed six loads of clothes and caught up on TV and took my little fella out to lunch and cooked a healthy dinner that wasn’t very tasty but at least everybody pretended to like it. Today we hopped back into our normal routine, and tonight we’re going to watch a little high school basketball.

And I’ll tell you what: it’s no coincidence that my attitude and my energy level were much improved today. It’s amazing what a little time with some of your favorite people can do for you.

I highly recommend it.

(p.s. We must talk about The Bachelor at another time.)


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  1. Melissa H says:

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on The Bachelor. I can’t stop hoping that it will all turn out okay for somebody.

  2. There’s nothing like going home. When we were home for Thanksgiving, I had to go to Walmart (twice, mind you) that morning. Apparently, my people do not make complete lists. Anyway, it took twice as long each time because I ran into half the people I know, including my best friend’s father whom I haven’t seen in YEARS. I spent the next few days after returning to Memphis as homesick as I’ve ever been. I do love a small town. :)

  3. I giggled out loud reading your carpool comments. Today was very windy in Baltimore and some fast food napkins and other assorted paper flew out of my door when the carpool girls at our school opened the door. I live in fear of the days when the teacher on duty opens the door instead of the carpool girls. I’m sure it would
    give them some talk for the lunchroom.

  4. Amanda M. says:

    That sounds like a perfectly amazing weekend.

  5. Sarah Kate in WA state says:

    Oh, how I laughed at your “car inventory”……I’m right there with you!! (Just times three, since I have 3 kids!) At least I can be thankful that we are now out of the stage of finding curdled milk sippy cups lurking behind and between the carseats!

    So glad you got some good time with ‘your people’! Love good quality time like that!

  6. I know just what you mean about weekends like that. I love my husband and kids so much but the most fun I have all year is my annual girls’ trip to the beach with my childhood friends.

  7. Oh, how I love impromptu plans that just fall into place. I think it is just a special blessing from God! And I love times with my treasured friends when we stay up late catching up and laughing ourselves silly! So glad you had a chance to see your people!

  8. “Frog-eyed fool” had me rollin.’ Love Aunt Esther.

  9. Lissa Bennett says:

    Some strategic advice for when the clutter (honestly, it’s 99% trash) threatens to revolt… I run a pre-emptive strike against said clutter by pushing it to one side (the door that won’t be opened) and then putting a jacket, or 4, on top. I realize that some say cleaning the car is also a valid option, but where is the thrill in that?

    • Kimberly/OKC says:

      Omigoodness, this made me laugh!! First because it’s crazy and funny and second because I love that you had the guts to actually admit you do it!!!!

  10. Oh my word, love you. The state of our car is a constant source of embarassment/strange pride for me. I mean, think of all the practical reasons for never cleaning out the car! Get somewhere and realize your kids dont have shoes on? Surely SURELY there is a pair (maybe even a matching pair) somewhere in the backseat! One of the kiddos told me on the way to church on Sunday that he was certain her could find an entire fortune on the floorboards. Even snacks, if he was lucky, he concluded. I told him to check the bottom of Caden’s carseat, where I’m pretty sure he could find an entire package of goldfish crumbled there for the taking.

  11. My car would give yours a run for the money…only we don’t chew gum!

  12. I am so happy you had some good home time. I’m craving that, too.

  13. Crispy bangs made me laugh. And I get your long term people ache. I have it too. My bestie from college (we introduce each other to other people as ‘My Friend The Roommate’ because we were friends first, then roomies) is 400 miles away; celebrated her birthday this past Monday by taking a chemo treatment. She is strong and faithful and has been a great encouragement to me through this recent struggle–more so than I think I have been to her. Funny how that works. I’ve pre-ordered your and Big Mama’s book for her because I know they’ll both make her smile. Maybe I’ll be able to deliver them to her in person. June will be here before you know it, you know!

  14. Friendships that stand the test of time are better than 15 pounds of bacon! I think we share some of the same weekend attire.

  15. Oh how I laughed at your BROKE DOWN pajama bottoms. I may have you beat. My favorite I-just-want-to-stay-home-and-watch-TV outfit consists of old Passion T-shirts (from when I was single and all missional and volunteer-y) and the bottom half of a maternity fake-velour suit. And my youngest is almost 16-months old. So basically, every time I want to get comfy and cozy my singlehood and motherhood worlds collide.