So I was in Ft. Worth, Texas, starting the last leg of my long journey home down the breathtakingly beautiful I-35 from Lawrence, Kansas. As I was admiring the Ft. Worth skyline, I suddenly remembered the family trips we took when I was a kid. I was always enamored by cities.
We’d leave the rural flatlands of West Texas and head to exotic locales such as Texarkana, Texas, or Pineville, Louisiana.
Me, always in the backseat, sandwiched between two sisters who threatened to snuff me out if my feet strayed from the hump on the floorboard.
Me, asking for a wakeup call when we hit Ft. Worth. Because to me, Ft. Worth wasn’t where the West began so much as it was where the west ended. Where everything got a little more interesting.
There was the skyline, of course. Then just a few miles up I-30 there was an amazing place called Six Flags Over Texas. I always begged to stop there, even though I knew we wouldn’t. Then up the road just a tad further was the Really Big skyline of Dallas. I think the conversation at that point, at least in my memories, always focused on the Kennedy assassination. Travel back then was cramped, but dreams were big. Our only entertainment was getting away with unfastening our seatbelts without our parents catching us and listening to 8-tracks. Most likely Kenny Rogers. If we were lucky, we’d get to put in Frampton Comes Alive or listen to rock radio for awhile.
The journey is important. That I know. And I don’t want to lose that excitement for travel. That feeling of freedom you only find on the open road. The wonder of what you’ll discover. Who you might meet.
When my kids were little they were great travelers. And they almost always said they wanted to go to college in whatever city we’d be visiting. We weren’t even sure some of the cities had colleges. But they loved the newness, even at such young ages, of being somewhere fresh. I don’t want them to lose that feeling. I don’t want to lose that feeling.
My mom gifted me with a collage a few years ago that reads, “To go through life with childlike dreams and airy hopes is such a gift.” And as I stared at the Ft. Worth skyline that day, weary from the road and ready to be home — even though the San Antonio skyline is less than stellar, I was a believer.
Three art workshops in one week. Friends. Laughter. Travel. In the end it’s all worth being stuck in the middle with your feet firmly planted on the floorboard hump. Or, in my case this time, with a box of fresh-picked junk underfoot.