ROAD TRIP! Do those two words bring back visions of the crazy days of our youth? Mustang convertibles and VW bugs. Beach Boys and the Beatles. Tossing beer cans out of windows and mooning travelers in passing cars. Some of you may remember those days. Others prefer to block those memories. But if I had to guess, I would imagine that most people do not have the wild memories that I have––taken with my favorite traveling companion of all time. My mother.
While no one has ever confused us with Thelma and Louise, we’ve had our share of adventures. Mom and I attempted to eat our way through New Orleans and even lifted our shirts on Bourbon Street. I still don’t know why no one tossed us any beads.
Maybe you’re supposed to lift them above your waist!
We’ve line danced at country bars, attempted the hula in Hawaii and briefly contemplated belly dancing at one restaurant. We wisely chose to fill our bellies instead.
On a European adventure, we dined at the Eiffel Tower, cruised the Seine, visited Marie Antoinette’s vacation palace and narrowly escaped bombings at subway stations. Twice! Switzerland was a nice respite after our Parisian adventures. We climbed the Matterhorn, sampled cheese fondues, drank from beer steins bigger than we were and did the Swiss version of a conga line. Everyone’s favorite – the chicken dance!
Despite Mom’s confused versions of thank you––merci in Germany and danke in France, she was unilaterally loved across the European continent. Especially by the street vendors.
In recent years, our vacations have become shorter. Cruises are on Lake Tahoe instead of the Caribbean. Sometimes we’ll drive forty-five minutes then take a twenty minute pit stop. Other times it’s the reverse. We’ve both become more forgetful. I once left her walker behind.
She once forgot her teeth!
Last February, I flew to Chicago to help celebrate her 89th birthday and pack for her move to an assisted living facility. Her eyesight and hearing aren’t what they used to be. But her sly sense of humor hasn’t dimmed a whit. When Mom discovered her new residence didn’t offer weekly card games, she began teaching pinochle and bridge to both the residents and the staff. Since she can no longer read, she now listens to audio books. Naturally, she started an audio book club. Now that spring has finally hit the Midwest, I expect she’ll be organizing forays all over town.
Although our future road trips will undoubtedly be far shorter, I know every minute of the time I spend with my mother will provide memories to be treasured forever.
Now it’s your turn. I would LOVE to read about your stories, funny or poignant. One lucky commenter will win a paperback copy of Cozy Food, 128 Cozy Mystery Writers share their Recipes and a copy of Dying for a Daiquiri because, who isn’t? The winner will be chosen at midnight on May 15th. Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!
The winner of the Travels with Mom post is Susan Coryell. Congratulations to Susan. Thanks to everyone else for sharing your wonderful stories.