I attended the wedding of a Southern friend over the weekend. My foot was tired from flexing and backside sore from tailbones digging in but driving was still infinitely better than flying. Because for some reason this 5’9" fair-skinned blonde girl always gets her bags rummaged through at security–except for when I was going in and out of Israel. Tel Aviv airport commandos knew who they were looking for and it certainly wasn’t me.
The thirteen hour drive from Georgia to the top of middle Maryland was a long one but a fitting end to a weekend full of good company, rich food, leisurely walks, and sleeping in. I took the highway down but made use of backroads from the Carolinas to Fredericksburg (VA) on the trip home. There were numerous strawberry farms, fine antebellum homes, single wides, and barns just shy of disrepair. And of course, various smiling purveyors of tasty roadside pork.
My only mishap in that four day period was the pre-wedding prep. That is, because I was the sole Yank in the wedding party. I showed up in a tank, shorts and flip flops to get made up by the bride’s team of hair/makeup artists. The Belles were already there in pre-wedding dresses and high heels. They didn’t look like they needed much help to me but the bar is inherently higher down there. In Atlanta, everybody’s pretty and even the men get their nails done.
After forty-five minutes of make up application, I hardly recognized myself. Faint freckles were plastered over and nylon spider legs glued to my eyelids (falsies). Then came the perfectly polished Southern hair and corresponding hair products. I was beginning to feel sorry for celebrities. It would seriously suck to have stiff hair and war paint on round-the-clock.
But all of that excessive "pampering" made for great photos and the wedding did not disappoint even the most discriminating guests. It was perfect, a spot-on reflection of both the bride and groom, a lovely couple who had been best friends for many years before dating. There were happy tears, red velvet wedding cake, and three hours of dancing–even the guys were tearing it up! Must be the nails.
That wasn’t my first road trip. I’ve moved five times since marrying my fella and have driven through much of the country. I appreciate the utility of our highway systems- they’re on par with our easily navigable national parks. Although many main arteries are often laden with traffic and road work, it’s still far better than driving other developed nations like France or Greece, where signs are few and directions are subjective.
U.S. interstate highway systems are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. The Federal Highway administration has an entire website devoted to the history of American highways, when and why they were established. We are blessed to have safe, well maintained roads here. Of course, we pay for them through taxes and tolls but at least with the highway systems there is actually something physical to show for money spent.
When the kids vacate the house I plan to take a month or two to see Big Sur, the Pacific Northwest coast and Alaska. I’ve already scoped out ferries and an Airstream Bambi to tow behind Darth Vader (the kids named my husband’s big black pick up). I often get wanderlust, but after a prickly encounter with a group of Russians on a boat off the Similan Islands last April, I’m planning to stay closer to home for future outings. (Thank you very much Mr. President for ruining my vacation with your "J.V." foreign policy–particularly in Ukraine).
Now if I can just talk my fella into a long, free-style domestic vacation without extensive ops orders…
*art above by Paul A. Lanquist
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