Ha bloody ha.
I had forgotten that this would be a trek with Merujo’s family. Ain’t nuthin’ quiet or reflective about that, folks. No way, no how.Instead, it was a journey jam-packed with bad photography, irreverent positioning (and decorating) of a funeral urn, various grilled meats, and one surly teenager.
And it started late. I departed DC much later than planned. In fact, the Sasquatch had returned from his sojourn to
I dutifully sun-screened my left arm, permanently darkened into a truck driver tan by years of driving up to New Jersey and back, put on a baseball cap to keep my frizzy hair out of my eyes, and I was on the road. It’s a simple route from Here to There: I-270 to I-70 to I-76 to I-80, and – 13 or 14 hours later – BAM – you’re in Moline, Illinois, self-proclaimed Farm Implement Capital of the World.
Still, I really do love it.
Yet, I cannot see myself returning to it to live full-time. I think my path has taken a slightly more urban turn, and I finally have a job I love in a place where I’d long dreamed of working. But I still can come home and see family and friends and relax.
Except this trip wasn’t going to be particularly relaxing. Nope. Nope. Nope. My brother was gone, I hadn’t had time to mourn, and I was a ball of stress.
I set out in sunny weather, with my little mp3 player plugged into the cassette slot on the car dash. A few new songs were peppered into 8 hours of old friends – Thomas Dolby, Michael Penn, Erasure, Joe Jackson, kd lang, the Pet Shop Boys, Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Marshall Crenshaw, U2… Comfort music from my younger days mingled with sparks and flirtations of the new music I barely listen to these days, like KT Tunstall and Carey Ott and a leeeetle bit of Coldplay (already yesterday’s news in music terms, by now, I’m sure.)
A cooler full of Diet Crack (aka Coke Zero) insured that I would be wired and thumping for hours and hours, and my bumble-bee yellow and black National Geographic baseball cap, turned backwards on my oversized cranium, kept the hair stragglers out of my eyes as I drove with the windows down. It simply wasn’t hot enough to bother with the air conditioning, especially as the traffic roared at 85 mph down the Interstates.
I’m not a big tobacco fan, but I love these vestiges of vintage roadside
I sailed smoothly across
And then, I hit
But, to quote Rene Belloq, “it was not meant to be, cherie.” Before I could depart the land of the Hoosiers for the
Long story short (too late for that, eh?) – I arrived at my sister’s home in
Figure 1.: Ye Olde Hide-a-Bed
I was awakened by my brother, who had probably been stirring for quite some time before I bothered to open my eyes. He and his partner H-J made strong coffee and talked for a couple of hours while I got my bearings. I still had another 3 ½ hours to drive to reach the cabin, deep in southeastern
It was decided that I would carry our brother’s ashes with me to the cabin. Ed had always wanted to travel, but, other than childhood trips with the family, he’d never actually done it. Finally, in his burgundy urn, Ed would take one last summer road trip, deep into