A trip down memory lane of a trip to see my grandparents.
|A Thanksgiving Memory
Back in the sixties, before everyone moved out of easy visiting distance, Thanksgiving meant a trip to my dad's folks. Later visits took us to their farm in southwestern Missouri, but this Thanksgiving Eve found us headed to their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
As usual, the drill had been to load up the car and, after an early light supper, hit the road for the all-night drive from Denver. Various mapping sites make it between 690 and 720 miles, with a travel time--these days--of ten-and-a-half to almost twelve hours, depending on your route. As there was almost no traffic in the various towns we transited in the middle of the night, and speed limits in the wide-open spaces of Kansas and Oklahoma were generous, I'm pretty sure we always made it closer to the short end of that particular time frame.
The six of us were on the road in our Plymouth Barracuda, a pretty cool car that offered seating for five. The seating problem was solved by utilizing the sizes of us kids. My two-year-old sister slept in the footwell behind my dad, while my four-year-old brother (small for his age) curled up in the one behind my mom. My eight-year-old brother and I took turns sleeping on the back seat or in the storage space between it and the trunk. I was ten and not really into cars (like anyone else, I could recognize a Mustang or VW Bug), but this space, designed to hold long items under a deck cover and out of plain sight, was a very cool feature.
It was something like five in the morning when we pulled up in front of the house. Mom and Dad put the little kids on the front porch, rang the doorbell, and then we got out of sight. From around the left side of the house, we heard the front door open, then Grandma's voice saying, "Look, Ernest - kids! Someone left this little boy and a precious little girl on our front doorstep!" That was our cue. We all ran into view shouting "Surprise!" (albeit in a don't-forget-it's-the-middle-of-the-night kind of voice). Naturally, there were hugs all around, and then everyone got a little more sleep.
Waking up at Grandpa and Grandma's meant a good breakfast for all, with milk for the kids, coffee for my folks, freshly blended carrot juice for Grandpa, and no limit on the number of slices of homemade bread with real butter. After that, it was pretty much waiting for a little lunch, while Mom and Grandma prepared the biggest meal you've ever seen for an early evening feast. I passed the time reading a book--most likely a Tom Swift or Hardy Boys adventure--and chased balls while Dad practiced chip shots in the huge back yard.
Dinner was everything you'd expect, and the leftovers the next day were just as good. After that, it was time to pile back into the car and head home. All in all, a Thanksgiving to remember.