Time for a multiple-choice exam, kids. I mean, what a better way to start the new year off?
(a) The year Emily Dickinson died;
(b) The year the statue of liberty was dedicated in the harbor of NYC;
(c) The total number of miles driven by me from Miami, FL to Albany, GA to Columbus, GA to Tupelo, MS…and back again; or
(d) All of the above.
If you chose “D,” not only are you a smarter than the average bear, but you’re also probably staring at the screen, muttering something under your breath about how you’d probably rather eat your own foot than drive that far. Trust me: I understand. After that little roadtrip, I don’t want to see the interior of my car again for a long, long, LONG time.
But, there were some definite highlights of this trip, as well as some much-needed moments of importance at the various stops. Since I am still road-weary and pretty much exhausted (even 48 hours after coming home), this will be brief. – and as we all know, “brief” for me is, like, long-winded for almost every other human on the planet. Except certain televangelists.
DECEMBER 22: DAY ONE OF THE GREAT SOUTHEASTERN ROADTRIP OF 2007: Ah, the joys of owning a dog. So, my coworker, in a fit of holiday spirit, decided to get all Martha-Stewart-y and take peppermint candy canes, unwrap about 2/3 of the plastic off each cane, dip it in chocolate, roll the still-warm chocolate-coated cane in candied sugar, let it cool, re-wrap it in festive holiday plastic wrapping, bundle it in a package of four, and give me a set of these for Christmas. So, of course, on the eve of going on a 6-hour long first leg of the driving tour, Maggie decides sometime in the middle of the night of December 21 to climb on top of the table, knock the bundled candy canes down, and eat all but one-quarter of one candy cane. Let me clarify this: eat everything – plastic included – of all but one-quarter of one candy cane. I, of course, presume this is her moment of civil disobedience in protest to having gone to the vet that day to get inoculated. I also – for the briefest of moments – contemplate what she’d look like as a rug. However, in spite of the gurgling noises coming from her tummy, I explain to her that her ruse to keep us from traveling will not work. This just means more fun stops on the FL turnpike on our way to Albany. Joyous. It does, however, give me the excuse I need to stop and buy a bag of oranges at one of the roadside vendors for my dad, who will get giddy like a kid at the idea of fresh oranges in December. He’s weird like that.
Anyway, we arrive at Ashley’s mom’s house sometime around 5:30-ish – which was great, because this meant we got there before dark, which was her mom’s major request. It was also a time of great rejoicing, because this was the first time Ashley and her mom had seen each other since June when we moved to Miami. Many tears were shed, many hugs were given, and many licks were administered by Maggie & Cricket. Love actually is all around.
DECEMBER 23: DAY TWO OF THE GREAT SOUTHEASTERN ROADTRIP OF 2007: Sleep. Eat. Rest. The trifecta of perfection for this day.
DECEMBER 24: DAY THREE OF THE GREAT SOUTHEASTERN ROADTRIP OF 2007: We left Albany, GA for the 1.5 hour drive to Columbus, GA to go see Ashley’s aunt and uncle, as well as her dad and two kid sisters. We knew that we couldn’t stay long due to the fact that the two mongrels were going to be left at Ashley’s mom’s house unattended (all leather goods and/or food WELL out of reach of the nutters), but we also wanted to maximize the time spent with family. So – we stopped off at the aunt & uncle’s for a bit, before going off to spend some much-needed time with Ashley’s dad and her two sisters. A good time was had by all, and watching the three of them act like teenagers…well, especially in light of the fact that 2/3 of the equation still could be classified as nigh-teenagery…it was kinda cute, I gotta tell ya.
We then headed back to Albany to settle in before Santa came the next day.
DECEMBER 25: DAY FOUR OF THE GREAT SOUTHEASTERN ROADTRIP OF 2007: Christmas Day. ‘Nuff said. Relaxation, time to drink hot cocoa, and watch Ashley’s mom trip out over the DVD surprise I got her. It seems that Ashley, back when she was in the eighth grade or thereabouts, was an extra in a film that was shot in Columbus/Albany called To Dance with the White Dog. Her scenes were all in the very beginning of the film, and – after a LONG and arduous Internet search – I found a copy of the DVD, which we watched. Repeatedly. Well, we watched the beginning of the film multiple times. I still have no clue what the plot of this movie is about, but I do know what Ashley’s hair looks like shot and lit from multiple angles.
THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 26: DAY FIVE OF THE GREAT SOUTHEASTERN ROADTRIP OF 2007: This was probably the hardest day of the trip…so far…as we took Maggie & Cricket to the local “dogsitter” to be watched after and doted upon while we continued on our voyage to Mississippi. It was painful to leave the pooches behind, but we knew we had to. Plus, with them being in Albany, had anything happened, Ash’s mom would have been right there to go and take care of the mongrels. For those of you who know these two idiots, you’ll understand fully when I state that Cricket had no problems whatsoever (in fact, we learned later that she would go out behind the kennel and run and play in the yard with the other dogs), whereas Maggie…? Yeah. She was NOT a happy puppy.
So, we hugged Ash’s mom goodbye, stopped in Columbus to say bye to Ash’s dad & sisters (and to eat at Zaxby’s), and started the voyage across Alabama and into Mississippi…
TO BE CONTINUED…