For My Child And Your Child Too
We travel on the 25th, so we celebrate early to give our kids at least one day to enjoy their booty.
Last year was the first year we tried that, and it was amazing. Our trip is normally upwards of 18 hours, depending upon the number of potty stops and the number of irresistable roadside distractions, er, I mean, attractions.
"What's an Emporium Mom?"
"Why doesn't that building have any windows?"
"LOOK! That silo looks like an ear of CORN!"
We have to go through Chattanooga, Nashville, Louisville, Indianapolis, Chicago and Milkwaukee, all of which have the potential to hang us up for hours on end in a snarl of holiday traffic.
Chicago is particularly bad. We used to go through the city so we could see the sights, but after one four hour delay, during which a tractor trailer burned merrily mere feet from our vehicle, we learned to take the tri-state tollway instead.
On Christmas day, however, we sailed through all the big cities without even breaking the cruise control. Our trip was cut down by at least five hours.
The drawback to this strategy, is that NOTHING is open except Waffle House. Nothing. I expected that our choices in dining would be limited, but I assumed, wrongly, that businesses who cater to interstate travellers would be open.
We stopped in Kentucky around 1:00, starving, and in desperate need to be out of the van for a while. To our surprise, there was simply nowhere to eat. Everything was closed up tight. We moved on to the next exit, hoping to find something there.
"Look, there's a McDonald's at this exit. Surely McDonald's will be open." Husband said confidently.
I wasn't so sure.
"You're right! It's open, look at all those cars in the parking lot." I said.
But, further investigation revealed that the cars in the parking lot were overflow from the Waffle House next door, at which, people stood inside and out, waiting for a table.
Standing room only at Waffle House, people.
We waited for an hour to eat during which other hungry patrons eyed us pointedly. The message was clear....linger at our own peril.
But mostly, the mood was jolly. People laughed about having to wait for a table at Waffle House. The few chairs available for waiting were graciously given to elderly folks. People asked one another where they were from and where they were headed. I saw people leaving ten and twenty dollar tips for the harried but unfailingly cheerful wait staff.
Husband and the boys all sported Georgia apparel; gifts received from the in-laws the weekend before.
"Bet ya'll will be glad to get home to some warmer weather, won't you?" asked one gentelman.
"Actually..." said Husband, "We're headed the opposite direction. We're going to Wisconsin."
"WES-consin! That's a hell of a long drive!"
"Yessir, it sure is."
"Well, ya'll be careful, now. I hear they got some bad weather up that way."
"Yessir, we will. We've got emergency supplies in the van."
"Have a nice visit then"
"Thank you. Have a safe trip yourself."
"Will do." said the gentleman, and then tipped his baseball cap at me and the boys.
Though frustrated by the time lost, the stop turned out to be a heartwarming experience.
This year, I'll pack sandwiches and munchies to stave off hunger until we get to Chicago, where we can hit one of about 27 Oases on the tollway. The boys love to stop at the Oases.
They are a conglomeration of eating establishments situated directly above the interestate. The boys like to sit at the long counter that runs the length of the floor to ceiling window and watch the cars whizzing along below them. Their feet seem to dangle in thin air above the rushing traffic. It makes me a little dizzy, but they love it. I guess it's a kid thing.
This will be my last post this year.
I'm anxious to see my family and my brand new niece, who was actually due on Christmas Day, but whom decided to frustrate her aunt by arriving three weeks early. The boys are anxious to get out in the snow. They are determined to learn how to snow board this visit.
I'll leave you with this. It's another of my favorites. It means something to me and maybe it will mean something to you too.
"Every child must be made aware. Every child must be made to care."
I won't say Merry Christmas. Instead I'll wish you all Peace.
See you on the Flip Side.