It wasn’t easy but we packed the van without a square inch to spare and pulled out of the
driveway. We headed west on Cedar Avenue and stopped at the intersection of South Maple Street. Home was behind us.
We turned right and went north.
I wonder how many times I’ve walked this route? I wouldn’t dare try to guess. Hundreds! Probably thousands over the past 38 years! I remember counting the steps one time. I don’t remember how many there were, but I remember counting them!
Now we’re driving through the four corners. I can see The General.
Now, past the little Post Office; the library; up and over Knob Hill where My friend sold his house because he tired of paying huge taxes year after year!
So intent was I, noticing all the details that I forgot to wrap myself in the nostalgia of the moment. We were on our way. Old house sold new beginnings and experiences ahead of us. It was about 2:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 25th.
There were no tears, only anticipation.
We traveled for about seven hours before stopping for the night in West Virginia. We had stayed at this same Best Western Motel before and it was always accommodating. We always look for Best Western. They are clean, comfortable inexpensive and have breakfast. Well, at least a continental breakfast. This time we had a surprise. We called ahead to the number in our book and made our reservation. When we arrived, however, it was no longer a Best Western! New ownership! New chain! New management!! But, it was still comfortable. We rested well.
When we awoke the next morning it was cold. Snow was beginning to fall.
Now, if you know anything about West Virginia, It’s not called “The Mountain State” for nothing! It has mountains! And, the highways go up and down and around – and through – those mountains.
Did I tell you that our van was loaded? That every cubic inch was packed? Did I tell you that our good friend Earl loaned us a Clam Shell to buckle on top of the van exacerbating the center of gravity problem?
I remembered when I was a Student Pilot I studied about “Weight and Balance” and “Center of Gravity.” Seeing that snow and knowing about the winding roads was unsettling to be sure! But with Kathy driving and being aware of her negative affinity for winter driving did not help one iota, either! But, the road was only wet.
We proceeded tenuously!
All went well. There are two tunnels on I-77 and just before we passed through the second one I had actually fallen asleep. For some unexplained reason Kathy exited the highway. She immediately realized she had made a mistake and found a place to do a U-turn and in about two minutes we re-entered I-77.
There is a place just before the North Carolina border nick-named “The Seven Mile Hill.” Just before we reached the hill all traffic stopped. We were stuck there for two hours while police cars, ambulances, big-rig wreckers and various other first responders went by us.
Boring! – We waited.
My granddaughter, Shannon, once stated to her Daddy in a like situation, she was about 3 years old at the time, “I like it better when we’re moving!”
Kids in other cars got out to play in the snow! Snow ball fights! A trucker with a C-B radio told us there was a multiple vehicle accident ahead.
Finally we were moving again. Slowly we rolled up a small grade. There beside the road was a white family standing bedside the highway, waving at us with their tree-branch arms. Yes, a snow-man (people) family, built while someone ahead of us was waiting. I chuckled!
About two minutes ahead, there was a bridge that had iced. One vehicle had skidded on the iced surface and others, trying to avoid had also lost control. It was all cleaned up now. I wondered if injuries were severe. There was no way of knowing
Two minutes. I thought about how long it took Kathy to do the U-turn. About two minutes.
I was thankful.
“Thank you, Lord” I breathed.
We stayed the night in Richmond Hill, Georgia. It was another Best Western. The man owned that one has about 43 of them and this one is his favorite. I know why. It’s very nice.
The remainder of the trip was uneventful. It was Thanksgiving and everybody was already there, wherever it was that they were going, except us, and the traffic was very light.
We arrived at our home in Florida at about 2:45 P.M. We quickly checked things out, opened some windows and headed out again. This time on a two and a half mile trip to Tom and Phyllis’s home where thanksgiving dinner awaited.
What a great feeling to be welcomed by warm smiles, handshakes, hugs and friendly greetings.
We had arrived!
We were home.