And so the travelling has begun again. Oh, my, there is alot of road between Clinton and Dothan. Mom and Pop have been making this trip for over 60 years. Pop left this area before Mom did and he would come back to see her. This trip was the first time he had come without her since they married. That brought tears to us all. Pop says that when we were just babies, we would lay on the seat beside him and stare up at the moon and stars. I can also remember when Mom would make a bed in the backseat and the floor board for us to sleep as they travelled. Then we graduated to the station wagon, where they made a bed for us. We always travelled at night. Joy was a screamer and that’s the only way she could go with us…if she slept. I would not have minded terribly if they just left her at home. But, then she would have screamed the whole time because she missed me. See, she adored me and followed me around…always wanting to do everything I did. Anyway…that’s why we travelled at night. At least, I think that’s what I remember Mom telling me! So, we escaped the car seat era. Joy and I have even put Mom and all 5 kids in my old station wagon and made the trip…in one day. I made it once with my Mother, my mother in law, and all 3 boys. My MIL was not happy when I had to stop less than 50 miles from home and have a heart to heart with one of the boys beside the road. A little switch was involved. There was much ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth’ as I remember. Not much trouble out of that one the rest of the trip, though. Isn’t it funny, when kids know that you really MEAN all those things you promise you will do if they don’t behave, they behave so much better!!! When Ian was born with his clefts, we discovered that one of the finest programs in the US was in Chapel Hill, NC..and so began a 20 year plan to fix his problems. My aunts and uncles were with me all the way…every step. How blessed to be able to go through this uncertain journey surrounded by family!

We decide that since we have fortified ourselves with such fine and wonderful food these past few days, we will try to make it in one day. We go back the way that has the most Interstate Highway…which moves us along quicker.

Now, you may remember that while we were on our fun trip up here, we learned much about the car. Oh! It. Is. A. Fine.Car. I was of the impression that we had learned all there was to know about this fine vehicle. If I had a dollar for every time they pulled the car manual out of the glove compartment….! I digress. Really, I just left the driving to them. They were enjoying themselves so much. Discovering new things, and sharing them with one another, and talking about them again…and again…and again. What kind of daughter or sister would I be if I interfered with the excitement they were finding in this car? So, I just stayed out of it…read my book…took my naps…and left it to them. I did offer to drive, however. And, I would have been happy to, but, I probably couldn’t enjoy it as much as they did.

Trust, that is the issue here. I trust them to transport me safely from one town to the next…cautiously following every traffic sign and looking for the other cars and driving defensively and all. So, I felt at ease to drift off to dreamland…knowing they were doing all that was necessary to keep us all safe. Imagine, if you can, the FEAR…the TERROR…the HORROR I felt when I was awakened by Joy yelling to Pop, who was behind the wheel…”Take your hand off that button…We’re going 95 miles an hour! Turn it loose!” Jumping up from where I lay peacefully napping, I hit my head, and spilled my drink. “Turn it loose”, I yelled, not knowing what the culprit was at that time. But, if he was holding it and she was yelling, it was not good.
Remember, that *&$#* cruise control? The one that moves up by 5 mph when you tap it? Well, if you hold it in…it just cruises right on up at a steady rate…UNTIL YOU TURN IT LOOSE!!!!!!
Joy prevented a crisis….Pop learned a lesson….Tonja wet her pants!

Oh, it was a fun and exciting trip! I asked Pop if he should be driving since he was having trouble seeing, but he said he was just looking around that big black spot in his vision. That eased my mind. Joy leaned her head over and went to sleep and let Pop drive…so I watched the road with him…knowing full well there was nothing I could do from the backseat. But, bless her little heart, she needed the rest. Yeah, like I needed to be in a 4 vehicle pile up!

FYI…As per the rules, I got out, ready to pump the gas, but Pop did it. I was, however, able to teach him how to use the credit card to pay at the pump. That was good. And, did Joy get herself out of the car to get a lesson on how to pump gas? No! I tell you, she is still 54 years old and still DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO PUMP HER OWN GAS!!!!

We made it into Dothan about dark thirty. And we moved our things into our cars and took off to our own homes. And, the road trip was over. NEXT YEAR? Only if there is NOT a new car!

In all seriousness here, I must end this series of posts by telling you how blest my life is. I have a wonderful family. Immediate and extended. I love my Pop and my sister so much…and I miss my Mom. But, God in His infinite wisdom chose to take her home. And, while I do not like it…I trust Him. Pop is doing so well, and we are all trying to adjust to life without her. She was such a presence when she was around, and she has left a void that will never be filled. It was bittersweet to be with her sisters last week. They share some of the same mannerisms, and it was good to see that part of Mom again. They had her when she was a child, and then she belonged to us as she was an adult…but, they have always been a big part of her life. I am so thankful that Joy and I had the chance to be here when we were young, and forge this bond we have. They are our family, too. And, I love this part of my heritage. I love this area of the country. This little town filled with people who are ‘salt of the earth’. They live with the things of nature in the forefront of their lives…crops, animals,weather. I always feel when I come here, that I have left the cares of the world I live in behind…and things take on a slower, more honest pace. Walking in and eating what’s left of whatever we had for supper, showing up at the backdoor just to visit, and talking about the same things with each one, but loving it every time. These are real people…these are my people. I can see why Pop was so taken with this area when he got out of the Navy, and why he chose to live here for a while. They captured him, too. And became his family as well as Mom’s.

Aren’t God’s ways so wonderful? How can we question his wisdom? But, I do…too often. You’d think I would have learned by now that what He does, He does with our best interests at heart. I forget that sometimes…and try to remind Him that I have an opinion on how He could best run things. Thank goodness, He does not listen to me! ” Oh, Lord, your ways are perfect. Forgive me for not trusting you more. Thank you for giving me what I need instead of what I think I want. Thank you for the plan you set forth in my life. Thank you for my family…every single member. I treasure them…and I treasure You. ”

Joy and Aunt Della

Aunt Evelyn



Aunt Marie…Ian