Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.
~ George Burns
Breakfast: Rice Krispies
TODAY on TV
12 April 2004
I remember when I was a kid and we would go out for drives with our parents. My father always laughed at what he called "Sunday drivers," especially the older people, clutching the steering wheel of the car with a death grip and going down the highway at a snails pace.
As I crept down the highway tonight after Easter dinner, hunched down, clutching the steering wheel with a death grip and traveling at under the 65 mph speed limit while impatient hot rodders honked at me and passed me by, I suddenly thought my God, Ive become one of those old Sunday drivers my father always made fun of.
I dont enjoy driving much any more. There was a time when I did. I enjoyed riding, and I enjoyed driving. Now both are a chore. Partly it's because of continuing intermittent bouts of "freeway phobia" that Ive had on and off for some 20 years or so, partly its because...well...I am old and dont see as well as I used to and am acutely aware that my reflexes arent as sharp as they were. Nighttime is particularly difficult. And partly its just that California highways have become such horrendous places, especially on a holiday weekend like this one. Its a solid line of red lights in front of you and an even more solid line of white lights coming at you. Its hot shots who think they can get there faster by weaving in and out at breakneck speed, only to have to pull up and stop short two cars up from you because traffic has slowed down again.
I remember when Walt and I were first married. We had just purchased a fire red Pontiac tempest convertible and we really thought we were hot stuff in that car. (We traded it in on a "family car" after Jeri came along).
So there was a lot of familiarity about it when Tom and Laurel showed up at Easter dinner in their new Audi convertible. Tom showed everyone all the bells and whistles and took Walt and his brother out for a spin (he says "I got Dad to floor it on the freeway onramp").
Tom even proudly showed off the Audi hat that came with the car. I don't think we got a Pontiac hat with our Firebird!
Tom had told us about the car when they first got it--he said they are "having their midlife crisis early." Laurel found the car on the Internet and it was his Valentine's Day present (I'm lucky if I get a card! :) ). He says he now drives to work the long way, along the beaches in Santa Barbara, so he can enjoy riding with the top down. They also drove up for Easter dinner along scenic Highway 1, which winds along the coast for some 300 miles or so. The perfect way to break in a new convertible!
As always, it was a pleasant Easter dinner at Walt's brother's house. There were some 20-25 people there, and the conversations and the laughter was loud and raucus. The decorations were lovely, the food was delicious, and a good time was had by all. We even had a nice long conversation with Jeri, who called from Boston to chat with all the family, since she couldn't join us for the festivities.
My sister-in-law's brother was turning 50, so there was a surprise birthday celebration of sorts, with cake and singing and feigned surprise.
Best of all, dinner was early, so even with my death grip on the steering wheel, my snail's pace along I-80, and the bumper to bumper line of cars, we were still home in time to see The Sopranos.
Nothing like ending a nice family meal with a bit of murder and mayhem.
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