Category Archives: US Road Trip

alight.

\ uh-LAHYT \  , verb; 

  1. to settle or stay after descending.
  2. to dismount from a horse, descend from a vehicle, etc.
  3. to encounter or notice something accidentally.

Today was an amazing day. Everyone met Dwayne and to say they were captivated would be putting it lightly. The three year old quickly forgot that I was the girl whose lap she sat on while we descended the slide the day before. She looked up at Dwayne and said in her darling raspy voice, “You can be my seat!” They’d go down the slide and as she ran back to the stairs she’d ask through her laughter, “Do you want to go two more times?” She’d ask this every time.

All of us would attempt going down the slide at one time. It was hilarious and maybe a little dangerous when bigger people land on top of smaller people. So we alighted at the end. We’d settle, laugh, breathe deep, and then say “YES!” when Davita asked, “Do you want to go two more times?!”

It was a sunshiny Oklahoma day and we spent the afternoon enjoying it. We pretended we were searching for treasure before the bad pirates could get to it. Davita would ask Dwayne before he came up the playground, “Are you a bad pirate?” He said no and she put her hand out to help him up, as if her forty pound self could assist him.

Elise and Joseph had a map drawn out and there was much strategizing. We started collecting acorns from the yard and pretended it was gold. I asked, “What will we buy with all of this gold?” And Elise said quickly but casually, “We’ll give it to people who need it.”

I think I’ll need to alight a bit after this sweet time with them. I’ll need to come down off the high of being surrounded by an enormous amount of love. A long drive to New Mexico seems like a good way to do so.

10301536_686119330257_4606827864293167388_n

Advertisements

catchpenny.

kach-pen-ee; adjective:

1. Made to sell readily at a low price, regardless of value or use.

Noun:

1. Something that is catchpenny.

Fifteen years ago (in 2000, which sounds crazy to say that was fifteen years ago), my family took the most memorable road trip of my life. My brothers and I drew names so we could fairly figure out who would sit in what seat in the candy apple red minivan. We would be gone for over a month and we were each only allowed to bring one extra item. Greg and I both quickly chose walkmans (most likely with Goo Goo Dolls and Clay Walker CDs.)  John brought the “W” encyclopedia. He was a fascinating kid. He helped the rest of us become more fascinating with his “fun fact every hour.”

On this road trip out to Colorado for a family reunion, I met my grandma’s sister’s granddaughter, Libby. She was four years older and more than four inches taller. She was beautiful and sweet and smart.

She now lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and four blonde children. I had not seen or spoken with Libby in fifteen years when I called to say, “I’ll be driving through Oklahoma City!” She was so wonderfully hospitable when she responded, “Stay as long as you would like!” I planned on two nights and I now feel like two weeks wouldn’t be long enough. This family has stolen my heart and my dimes as the children sell me wax stick figures at a catchpenny price. I bought two bunches of grapes for ten cents.

They are all completely delightful.

Libby reads to the kids from a Ralph Moody book before bed. The only boy sweetly interrupts to ask “What is a megaphone?” Or “What is coal?”

The kids line up to jump on their daddy’s legs and he catapults them over his head. Laughter ensues.

The three year old girl grabs my hand and leads me all over the garden, to the fort outside, to the swing, and back to the dining room table. She handed me a napkin and said, “I’ll give you this napkin that I folded into a bag because when I asked you to go down the slide with me, you did very nicely.” I can’t imagine saying no to her sweet little face. Even with two clips in her hair, a bright blonde chunk falls in her eyes and seems to somehow make them sparkle even more.

She sits in my lap even when it doesn’t seem possible; she finds a way, on the slide, on the swing, on a stool in the kitchen. I miss her already and I’m still here in the room next to theirs.

I talk to the oldest (seven years old) about books. She explains every detail of every book she likes and I know that reading them couldn’t compete with her creative explanation.

The eight month old eats beets with rosemary and doesn’t miss an opportunity to check me out, the stranger gawking at her big blue eyes.

Dwayne’s been staying with some friends he has in Tulsa. I have an overwhelming desire for him to meet this special little family. We might have to make that happen tomorrow. The kids would love that he’s 6’4” and can throw them around with ease.

afflated.

uh-fley-did; adjective

having inspiration; inspired.

The clock on the oven blinks 7:03. 7:03. 7:03. The water is turned off but I only remember after I squirt soap in my hands. There’s a bookmark in the August 8th page of the 2006 Guidepost. I read it and only have a few tears form in my eyes. My grandparent’s place in Spruce Pine on Deer Park Lake has been my favorite spot for years. It feels eerily empty today as I’m only picking up my gloves and electric blanket from the basement. Usually there’d be cousins running around the ping pong table playing Hardin Hardcore Ping Pong. Aunts and uncles would be sitting upstairs in rocking chairs or on the floor or by the fire talking and laughing. Grandma would be going from one conversation to the next while checking the macaroni and cheese in the oven in between. Grandpa would count the ducks on the lake. I would been smiling big taking it all in.

So I sit afflated in the empty house and reminisce.

—————————————————-
Dwayne and I camped in the Ozarks next to a bright teal river last night. There’s something thrilling about setting up camp in the dark and not knowing what you’re sleeping near. Luckily I saw the armadillo before drifting off because he sounded like a pack of three ton bears.

We’re almost to Oklahoma City where I hope dear friends won’t mind my unshowered self.

We filled up the gas tank for $18.00. The road trip couldn’t be going better! Full of afflated thoughts. Stay tuned.

astir.

Uh-STIR ; adjective

1. Moving or stirring, especially with much activity or excitement.
2. Up and about; out of bed.

Not many places thrill my heart quite like Western North Carolina. Asheville is astir with kind folks off to hike to mountains, strong coffee to fuel them, and organic restaurants to sustain them. I lived here for nine years and it’s quite moving to come back and see different groups of friends. Work fiends, church friends, college friends, cousins, friends of friends, random friends that I don’t know how I met…what’s really memorable is when they join together for an evening out in downtown. The dueling piano bar was astir with new friendships being made, old friendships being strengthened, all while a lot of clapping to “Sweet Caroline” filled the room.

It’s been so lovely seeing folks over breakfast (blueberry coffee cake thanks to Laura!), lunch, dinner, and coffee in between. My heart and stomach are so full.

glut.

\ gluht \  , noun; 

  1. an excessive supply or amount; surfeit.
  2. a full supply.
  3. an act of glutting or the state of being glutted.

verb:

  1. to feed or fill to satiety; sate.
  2. to feed or fill to excess; cloy.

What an appropriate word for the beginning of my road trip. It’s an interesting thing that happens to my brain when I get on the road: I suddenly want hot tamales for breakfast, sweet tea and biscuits for lunch, beef jerky for dinner, with Americanos scattered throughout. The passenger seat is full of glut. My stomach hurts. My head feels funny because it’s used to spinach salads daily. I usually survive this if it’s a weekend trip. So I really have to rethink this four month trip and throw the hot tamales away. I will after just two more…

cogitation.

\ koj-i-TEY-shuhn \  , noun; 

  1. concerted thought or reflection; meditation; contemplation.
  2. the faculty of thinking.
  3. a thought; design or plan.

I admire those who share their deep cogitations. Even cleverly shallow cogitations are admirable to me.

I’m currently in Raleigh, NC with friends from college. It’s freezing cold so we sit by the fire, Aaron brings us hot cocoa, and we laugh along to the jokes we’ve heard on Friends hundreds of times. We also went to see Wicked (for the fifth time! That sounds excessive and like we have heaps of money, but we just have interesting priorities.) It is such a clever, moving, and brilliant play. The lady next to me had constant cogitations, but they were not deep. They went something like, “Her dress is so big!” or “That’s a flying monkey!” Luckily, somewhere in the first half she stopped, just before I got severe cogitation agitation.