Since we’ve retired to God’s country (or at least our little section of it), we don’t travel that much anymore, it seems. The longest trips we make are to the doctor’s visits (too many) and my sons and daughters(in-law) in Florence and Columbia. Where once we were world travelers, we are now rather sedate.
Oddly enough, we both grew up in traveling families. I’m not sure how it went for Mac, but I can remember how it went at our house. Mama would start packing the suitcases two nights before we were to leave. The night before was reserved for preparing the driving directions and for that she needed her “navigator’s bag.” In it were the pencils, sundry maps, a notepad , a pack of peanuts (?) and her sunglasses. She was always excited to get on the road.
I especially remember when we lived in Cleveland and the summer trip was being planned. Mama had the map stretched out on the table, her red pencil in hand and was trying to find the quickest route to Chesterfield, S.C. Now this was before there was an arterial spray of interstate highways crisscrossed across the paper. No MapQuest. No GPS systems to tell you when to make each and every turn . We had Mama.
We were all hanging onto the table watching with interest and chattering about our trip , the excitement like a bubble of water headed for the surface. The chatter came to an abrupt end when Daddy came over to where she was studying the map. Standing beside her, he suddenly allowed as to how she was making too much work out of it.
He took the red pencil from her grasp and locating Cleveland (or an approximity of where he thought Cleveland might be) and then finding Chesterfield (or somewhere in the vicinity of that one, too) he drew a straight line from one to the other in a broad red stroke. Mama looked at the map then looked up at him. We were all standing in a circle around her, our eyes glued to his face.
“And just what is that supposed to be?” she asked him.
“It’s as the crow flies,” Daddy said.
I have to hand it to him, he said it with a straight face.
“Well, that would all be well and good if anyone had thought to build any roads there,” was Mama’s reply.
Then she looked at us and with the utmost solemnity said, “and this,” indicating her now desecrated map, “is why the Children of the Lord wandered in the desert for 40 years. Moses drew the map.”