Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Road to Grandmother's House

I've heard a few expressions about the road to grandmother's house:

The road to grandmother's house is never long.
Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go.

My kids are lucky to have one of each of those kind of grandmothers.

We are fortunate to live just up the road from the Captain's parents. We live at the city limits; they live 5 miles further into the country. To get to their house, called Red Boot Ranch, we follow a long and winding path that includes a stretch of dirt road. Travel time takes about nine minutes.

The road to Red Boot is usually not long. Sometimes that road seems unnecessarily long and winding, especially times like last night when we went over for a swim only to realize I had left the kids' swim suits at our house. I dropped everyone off and played road rally for the round trip, and arrived back again in 18 minutes flat. But more often that road serves as a buffer between the bustle of everyday life and the slower pace of the country.

That nine minute drive into the country is often filled with wonder. We have seen all kinds of big and small marvels along the country road, from a pair of beautiful paint horses to the first bluebonnets of the season. We have spotted deer, turtles and frogs, rabbits and roadrunners, giant snakes, birds of every size and color and even a raccoon. Along this road we first saw egrets sitting among the cows, and a committee of vultures plotting in a tall dead tree.

The thrill of observation is reserved for those who watch the road, for all too quickly many of the wonders melt into the scenery as we pass. The Captain and I have observed most of these wonders, which we try to point out to the backseat occupants. Boo usually can catch what we see if we point. Our little Rooster, however, misses almost every sighting. His reaction time is more naturally suited for spotting big slow things like trains and tractors, horses and cows.

Most of the time our attempts to share the wonders of the road with him end up with him in tears because he missed whatever it was that we tried to point out. But a few nights ago, he finally got some validation. We pulled out from Red Boot and began our ritual scanning of the road for wildlife. Suddenly from the backseat we heard Rooster get so excited he could hardly talk.


We looked out the left side of the car to see a young doe keeping pace with us from the side of the road. We hadn't seen her because we were looking ahead, but she had come out of the brush just as we passed. I felt as if she had purposely positioned herself right in his line of sight, just so that he could have that thrill of discovery at least once in his life.

Over the river and through the woods, tomorrow we set out on the 1300 mile journey to my parents' house. I expect to see many more wonders along the way. I have spotted wildcats, foxes, deer, and other amazing things during previous trips. One of my favorite points of interest is when we cross the mighty Mississippi on our way into Memphis.

I'm just hoping, now that Rooster has had a little experience successfully spotting a wonder, that both big kids will be able to share in the thrill of observation with me.

Follow our adventures for the next three days as we travel Tornado Alley from central Texas all the way to northeast Ohio!

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