Monday! Hooray, it’s over! Here’s a short, abbreviated entry to celebrate.
Criticism and feedback are welcome as ever,
Our return to the sunshine state was a glorious one for mom and us kids; dad wasn’t quite as psyched about it.
“I’ll miss the mountains,” he sighed into his cell phone.
“What are you talking about?” My mom asked him in a surprised tone of voice. “There weren’t mountains in South Carolina,” she corrected him, laughing.
“Yeahhh,” he admitted slowly, and we could all hear a smile creeping into his voice, “but we were atleast closer to them.”
We were a three-car caravan. Dad was in the front, heading out our grand procession in his brown and white stationwagon, while mom, Bob and I followed behind him in mom’s yellow chevy. The big moving truck trailed behind us all; dad said that a bunch of young hippies were driving it and he didn’t trust them.
“I don’t feel comfortable about it,” he grumbled into the phone, and I could picture him shaking his head. Mom whispered back through her phone, even though we were having a private conversation in our own car, that he had no reason to worry; that even if they did screw something up, we were insured and it would get taken care of.
“Yeah,” dad started, “but some things aren’t replacable, Lucy,” he argued into the phone.
“Yeah,” my mom responded, “I guess.”
We stopped for lunch at an Olive Garden, delighting ourself in its unlimited salad and breadsticks. Bobby ordered mozzarella cheesesticks and I ordered a kid’s plate of cheese ravioli. The picture of spaghetti with meatballs on top did look appetizing though.
“No meat,” my mom reminded me gently.
Dad rolled his eyes.
“I don’t even want it,” I said defensively. “It just looks like it would be fun to eat,” I mumbled to myself.
“You know that you can eat whatever you want to, Rose?” My dad was looking straight at me, making eye contact, nodding his head up and down in a way that asked if I understood.
“I know,” I said quietly, daring to glance over at mom, who was now giving dad the death eye.
“I just want ravioli though,” I followed up quickly. “I don’t want spaghetti and meatballs.” I made an ‘icky’ face at mom to try and make her feel better. She smiled weakly and raised her eyebrows at dad in a way that said “see? Rose knows what’s right and what’s wrong.”
“Just because you grew up with your crazy, religious mom not letting you eat meat, or play cards, or go to the movies doesn’t mean that our kids can’t do those things.” My dad was getting excited now and mom was not in the mood to discuss religious matters.
“This isn’t even a matter of religion,” my mom hissed. “Meat is gross and unhealthy.”
My dad gave an exaggerated sigh and leaned back into his seat. The meal came and us kids got excited about what we had ordered while mom and dad sat sulking in their seats, unenthusiastically cutting into and forking up italian cuisine that made them full, but didn’t make them happy.
Mom and dad didn’t talk much during the rest of the ride down to Florida, except for when dad would call to tell mom that it was time to pull over for gas, or mom would call dad to tell him that the kids needed a potty break.
After it seemed like we had spent forever coloring and napping the time away, we pulled into a concrete slab driveway and fell out of the car.
“Is this our new home?” I asked hopefully. There were cedar trees casting shadows all over the house; the house, itself, was sitting on a road called Red Cedar Lane. The house was painted a light beige color with dark, wooden panels outlining its windows and doors. The roof had two sharp angels that met at a single point and the grass was green and flourishing with an adorable bench swing sitting out front.
“I loveee itt, mommm,” Bobby squealed.
We watched as the front door opened and Grammy, barefoot as usual, came running out to meet us. She was wearing a red skirt, a floral patterned shirt, and a blue denim cap.
“Ohhhhh my boy and my girl!” she cried, fluttering across the yard.
“GRAMMMM!” Bobby started sobbing. I was just beaming with smiles. The trip had been stressful for both of us, but especially for him.
“Are we going to live here with GRAMMY?” I asked mom, wide-eyed. “Because that would be the best thing ever!”
“This isn’t where you two will be leaving,” she teased us, “but you will be staying the night. Mom and dad already have a house picked out and they’ll get the key tomorrow after they sign some papers.” She smiled and I noticed how her wet eyes were gleaming.
“Besides,” Grammy said dramatically with her eyebrows furrowed, “you don’t want to sleep on the floor, do you Bubba!”
He shook his head in agreement and mom and dad smiled at eachother. They seemed to be okay with eachother now that the sun was setting and the trip was over with. The hippie boys were going to meet us at the new house the next morning to unload the truck, but for now, the 18-wheeler was just sitting sideways in front of the house.
Meanwhile, I just kept looking up at Grammy, and staring into her eyes. They always seemed to be twinkling with mischief and adventure.
I sighed, suddenly realizing how hungry and tired I was.