Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Flat Road

When Neal Maxwell was driving across the Nevada desert he pondered on the landscape around him and later he made a statement something like, "Don't be impatient with the flat periods in our lives, these are the times we should reflect on the hills and valleys we have lived through, and prepare for the new terrain coming up."
I have driven the Nevada desert many times, especially when I had a young family and after several trips, I too pondered and came to a strong conclusion, " Somebody should blow up everything from Wendover to Salt Lake City, just a giant...KABOOM...and we'd all be the better for it."
Needless to say - the differences between us are all too obvious. Yet now that I fly to Salt Lake City instead of drive, I admit I recall with fondness some of the adventures along the flat roads. When Roy and I were just married we'd have hour long talks that led us down unexpected and illuminating highways of thoughts.
Then with the young children, the hundreds of games of "In My Grandfathers Tool Shed, there was a....", and "The Minister's Cat is an....alligator cat", or the plethora of traveling songs, the worst being "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."
As a young child, staring out the window of the back seat and watching the shadows speed past, while the humming sounds of the tire and engine lulled me into a sort of halfway world, where I seemed to float somewhere above myself.
Some of my favorite times were the magical "Toby" stories that kept the children enthralled for another thirty miles. Roy sometimes took a turn story telling and they would invariably be about cowboys, and ranches, which we patiently endured, except for Pat, who would come from the back corner of the van for the first time of the trip and perch himself as close to his dad as possible. Once he was so engrossed in the story, that when Roy got to the part when the rancher nursed the cowhand back to health, young Pat cried out in horror, "He NURSED him!!!!"
Yeah, I guess there is a place for the flat, monotonous, boring stretches of our lives. They can sometimes turn out to be paths of wonder.

10 comments:

Roy said...

I too fondly remember those long drives and great conversations as well as the chance to "sing-along". Too much travel is ruined today from electronic intrusions.....ipods to cell phones to portable dvd players. Thanks for the memories!

patrick said...

I still remember the nursing back to health comment, and not being so much horrified as confused. I also remember worring, as I still always do, if something happened would I be brave enough to help dad lead the family to safety. (Dad still is and will always be my own personal larger than life John Wayne)

Ann said...

catherine, your writing is beautiful, touching, and inspiring. and pat's comment made tears come to my eyes. you and roy have done an amazing job with your family and you are a model tyler and i try to follow with lucy. i love you! we all do!

Anonymous said...

I have so many memories of that drive--first with my parents as a small child in the back of a Volkswagon bug, to multiple times as a BYU student, to enduring it with small children. I was a bad mom though--I tried to entertain my kids with a T.V. and movies--no games--anything to keep them happy. But I loved rereading the poem by Robert Frost. As usual, reading things at different stages in my life brings new meanings to them. This time it was almost a completely different poem. Thanks Catherine.

abbie said...

I remeber the trip with Jimmy and his broken leg. that was tragic and conggrats to mom for enduring with him on her lap for hours on end

tyler b said...

I remember a trip with you guys driving form Park City to Salt Lake in a blizzard, somone was throwing up and the rest of us were laughing our guts off. While Roy was probably scared we were all going to die. We must of made it - but all I remember is the fun we had (at least the kids) even with the smell of someone's lunch all over the van.

Roy said...

Great post Tyler! It was Patrick!! and he refused to barf into his new hat and so somehow he held off until a better recepticle was found. I was scared to death...the top of Parley's canyon in a van with only two tire tracks to follow with 8 inches of snow on the ground and near white out conditions...I was praying and sweating mightily!...and yes the kids in the back were having a grand time.

angie said...

what about the exploding luggage with clothes all over the freeway - so many memories

Emily said...

I love to read your writing- I love and miss Neal Maxwell. I love to hear from Ann and Ty. I love Family!!

I am so glad that we had so many long drives- they did create so many memories. So much time to sit and think. So much time to pester one another and push feet. So much time to just be with one another- close. . . So much of that time that I miss now:)

Michelle said...

One of moms favorite stories to tell about her brother Roy is when he was on a long drive home, and he was traveling alone so to entertain himself he tied a string to the ear piece of his sunglasses and made it so that when he passed someone he could pull the string and the glasses would jaunt up and down. it makes me smile. i love you guys