Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday Driving

You never knew where you'd end up or what you'd end up doing. Sunday drives could lead anywhere and end anywhere. They were unscripted and full of potential. Sometimes, Sunday drives were just that, driving about on a Sunday afternoon, on a circuit that took us past some of our fields so our dad could gauge some level of growth or weediness or need for fertilizer or readiness for harvest. But sometimes they were farther ranging and sometimes they included a stop. That stop might be to hike across rolling hills through pastures in the sand hills where we might find a wild tiger lily, the remnant of some long gone majestic prairie. The stop might be to walk down to the dam over the Jim River where the water rushed, powerful, surging, over the spillway and we had to talk in shouts to be heard. The stop might be at a friend or relatives house where we might get to see pigs or milk cows or a new dog or a monstrous new piece of farm machinery. We might end up invited in and offered games or coloring books to amuse us and there might be some sort of sweet snacks involved. Often the drives and the walks and the stops involved stories from my dad. He was not the kind of guy you could put on stage and say 'Tell us a story.' No, that would just elicit a joking around and never a serious story. He had to be inspired by some sight or some question or some memory. And then he would be off. Telling about how something came to be or explaining how something worked or remembering how something used to be. Those were magical moments when my dad was at his best, talking with a sincerity and seriousness that was always tinged with optimism and hope and what might be in the future. "Let's go for a ride." was an invitation to adventure and spontaneity that we never turned down. That Sunday drive could lead anywhere.

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