I recently returned from a road trip to Montana for my oldest daughter’s wedding. The wedding was wonderful, and I will probably post something about it later. But right now, I want to discuss/vent/whine about the drive over and back … with my parents. Yes, in order to be fiscally responsible, I chose to drive with my parents. They are in their early 70’s, so they are still very responsible on the road, and they have a more dependable vehicle than I do at this time. So my youngest daughter and I packed our suitcases and loaded up their Tahoe to share the ride to Montana. The ride over was not very eventful … probably because my dad as not along for the ride on that leg of the trip. He was not able to get away from the farm early enough to leave with us, so he flew in the next day. It’s not that he is the source of drama … he’s not, really. It’s the two of them, my Mom and my Dad, together … in the same vehicle … for 10 hours … that’s where the drama comes from. And where the “funny” starts.
Now you need to know that my parents are happily married. They will celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary later this year. They have a good marriage, and are a great example of a true partnership – both in their marriage and in their business. They have modeled the partnership of marriage for us kids at every level, every day. It’s just that … how do I say this? As they age … their interactions sometimes lack the “finesse” that they once had. My problems with my parents don’t center around their driving skills … not really.
Although, I will say that my Mom does exhibit the typical reticence to exceed the speed limit that plagues many of her peers. She is not like her mother. My grandmother owned a Dodge Charger, and once got a speeding ticket while driving all of us grandkids to vacation Bible school. ‘Nough said.
No, the problems break down into two areas: disagreement between them about how the other one is driving, and feeling like they also have to direct MY driving. Example: on the drive back my dad was the first one up to drive when we left the hotel in Montana. Which is only fitting, because he was the one who made the decision about how early we would hit the road that day. The man cannot stand to have a leisurely drive home: when we were kids, and were returning from a family vacation (those were few and far between, BTW) he would floor it all the way home. Once we are pointed in the direction of the farm, the only thing that matters is getting back there ASAP.
So back to my story – Dad is driving, and making good time. My daughter and I are dozing in the backseat of the Tahoe. My mom is sitting in the front seat, watching signs and commenting on how fast the other drivers are driving. Soon she starts asking my dad if he needs to pull over and change drivers, pointing out that everyone was up late the night before at the wedding reception and is he getting too tired to drive. My dad is doing a fine job of driving – he’s not swerving at all, maintaining a safe speed, and generally had the vehicle under control. The fact that my daughter and I are able to sleep while he is driving should attest to the fact that he is not an impaired driver. But Mom keeps asking every 10 miles or so.
Finally Dad does the only thing he can – he pulls over at the next rest stop and they change drivers. And he’s asleep in the passenger seat within 60 seconds. Not because he was that tired … but because my dad can sleep anywhere, and will take any opportunity to catch a cat nap. He’s a farmer, people. And this is harvest season, so he’s been repairing machinery by day and swathing fields by night. If he sits down and is still for a minute, he’s going to fall asleep.
To Be Continued …. 🙂
Here’s a related clip from one of my favorite comedians, Tim Hawkins. This is so true, and hits close to home!