Friday, August 22, 2008

The Road Trip

I went on a sixteen hour road trip with seven sixty-year-old women on Wednesday and I’m still exhausted. Holmes County , the home of a large Amish community, is four hours north. These women, quilters at my church, decided to go there on a fabric buying trip.

I tagged along.

We met at 6:30 am, and after agreeing that one cup of coffee was not enough, we all decided where the first stop should be.
And so it began. In two cars we took off. They drove-I hung out in the backseat-and we ate our way through Ohio. Along the way I realized that while my days revolved around my kids, my work, and my husband, their lives revolved around having fun.

Truth be told, I don’t think they would have traded places with me in a heartbeat.
When we arrived in Amish country, the first thing we did was pick up Clara, one of the lady’s good friends who’s Amish. Clara and I sat together and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. We have a lot in common-we’re both quick shoppers and love books. After a hearty lunch at Der Dutchman (we all had pie), all of us hit the quilt shops and gift stores. The eight of us would break up, scatter among shops like cockroaches, then reconvene with each other, proudly showing our purchases. Clara got a kick out of the Amish doll I bought who came with a name, Sadie.

After more stops to the Amish bakery and cheese shops, we dropped off Clara at her farm and started the long journey home. I ended up in another car with a group of women who had more stories to tell than any Harlequin display anywhere. They told me about thirty year old marriages-and marriages that lasted barely two. A girlfriend of theirs found out the hard way that love letters from a man in a local prison didn’t equal love-just lust.

They told me about nursing careers and waiting for husbands who fought in Vietnam. They told me about kids who became doctors and businessmen and drug addicts. About part time jobs they’ve taken and trips they’ve planned. About cheering for the Packers for fifty years. They relayed memories about Corvettes from 1972.

I told them about nagging my high school senior about college applications, which pretty much sounded boring and lame.

By the time we stopped for BLT’s at a Waffle House at 9:30 that night, I was exhausted-but hadn't laughed so much in a long time.

And when I finally pulled into my driveway at 11, I couldn’t wait to take a hot shower and go to sleep. For me, Thursday brought high school schedule pick up, grocery shopping, and nagging about summer reading assignments. For three of those ladies, Thursday was off to Chicago. Off on another adventure, reminding me that I’ve got a lot to look forward to, long after my kids are grown.

Obviously, one day I want to grow up to be just like them.

So, has anyone else gone on a road trip this summer?


Trish Milburn said...

This sounds like a really fun trip, Shelley, if a bit exhausting. My road trip for the summer was actually the train trip to San Francisco for the RWA conference, which was a lot of fun. I met lots of interesting people on the train, including a young couple from England who were taking a year off from work to do an around-the-world tour before settling down and having kids.

Shelley Galloway said...

Hi Trish!

I thought of you when a girlfriend and I took the train from Santa Barbara to San Francisco. I'm now a travel-by-train fan!


Ellen said...

Shelley - just think of all the fresh ideas you could get from their stories. It sounds like a trip I would have loved to take (I'd fit in age wise). I haven't taken one yet this summer but I have one almost planned for Sept to the Smokey Mountains and Gatlinburg, TN. (Although I was afraid jury duty for the county was going to interfere. I was able to reschedule it for Nov.)

Shelley Galloway said...

Hi Ellen!

Our family went to Gatlinburg about ten years ago. September should be beautiful, with all the leaves turning!

The highlight of our trip was seeing a bear behind out motel room. He liked the cool creek water, I guess!

Hope you have a good trip.


Estella said...

Sounds like you had a grand time on your day trip.

shelley galloway said...

Hi Estella!

'Grand' is a perfect way to describe it! Hope you had a nice week, too.


Ann Roth said...

Shelley- It sounds as if those ladies really know how to enjoy life. What a gift for them, and for you. ;-)