We didn’t even make it out of the driveway before they started bitching at each other.
“Move your seat up, dumb ass, my knees are up around my ears!”
“No. Deal with it, butthole.”
“You selfish tool! Just you wait ‘til you’re back here, I am going to shove this right up…”
And so on.
Until they ran out of angry glares and filthy insulting compound words (although I was impressed with their creativity) and fell into that deep comatose drool-on-the-pillow sleep provoked by the hum and hush of the air-conditioned car hurtling up the Florida Turnpike heading north. With that serene snore-punctuated peace, I successfully launched our annual summer mountain retreat to western North Carolina.
Bella, my Pomeranian best friend, chose to doze in my lap as we drove. She drooled as well rendering me a little damp and sweaty, but feeling loved. Ah well.
The closer I got to my mountains, the bigger the grin on my face. Those eleven hours of discomfort cooped up in the car with two self-absorbed teenagers and a Pomeranian was well worth it.
Even though I threw up a couple of times. Car sick.
My seventeen year old son and fifteen year old daughter were being wrenched away from their friends and Xbox and sleepovers and mall assaults and paintball and the beach and budding sweaty freak out romance to see the Grandparents, PapaJohn and MamaLo.
So they weren’t too psyched up for the trip to begin with.
But the allure of being spoiled rotten by the grands, along with water skiing, white water kayaking, hiking and climbing mountains, bonfires, fresh veggies and s’mores somehow changed their minds. The smorgasbord was irresistible and they faux-reluctantly condescended to pack the car and leave one hundred degree temperatures in Central Florida behind.
For a while there it seemed like Bella and I were the only two really excited to take the trip.
And for a short stint at the beginning, I was about to turn the teens out onto the side of the road with a few bucks and a well-wish for a successful hitchhike back home.
But they woke up refreshed and we were treated to a reading of chapters of Twilight by the Girl making the miles fly by on vampiric wings of teen age angst. In fact, the Boy requested that the Girl read on in her dramatic interpretation of the story, multiple times, sealing a sweet sibling camaraderie that released us all. Bella influenced the mood by flashing us all, in turn, her signature “super happy lovey face;” she is blissful to be with her people.
We marked the time by identifying familiar milestones: Seven, count ‘em, 13 foot Gator attractions, the big cool split-in-half Ron Jon sign where the Turnpike turns into I-75, Cordele where Aunt Polly talked a man into not shooting her, and cows in pastures (moo!).
“Strippers! Need we say more!” By far the winning billboard this trip.
We're here now. Time is malleable. The mountains breathe a smoky hello.
Bella on the hosta path.
photos: by us
and courtesy of roadsideamerica.com (peanut, peach)