Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Travel - Not Always Smooth Sailing

Here are my great grandparents on my mother's side getting
ready for a winter car trip.
Christmas travel has the potential for more mishaps simply because of the weather. When I asked my dad about his experiences with holiday travel, he told about traveling 110 miles, with his family in their model-A, from their house near McPherson, Kansas, to Osage City to visit his grandparents. A couple of hour trip, at the most, for us was an all day journey, wrapped in blankets, for them. He remembered a few trips when the roads were so muddy that Grandpa had to stop the car a few times to take the wheels off of the car and clean the mud out of the spokes. At least during the winter, the ground was frozen and the cold trip was a little shorter.
The memory that sticks in my mind about traveling at Christmas came from a Christmas Eve when my parents, two sisters and I were on our way from Wichita to Boulder, Colorado to visit my grandmother, uncle and cousins for the holiday. My sisters and I were so excited to be going because we always had so much fun with our cousins. Just across the Kansas/Colorado border, on I-70, the fan belt broke while we were passing through a very small town. Dad pulled into a service station, that was getting ready to close early for the holiday, manned by one attendant. I remember the sinking feeling in my stomach as Dad came back to the car to tell Mom that there wasn't a mechanic to help us. Sitting in the back seat of the dark, cold car, my sisters and I looked at each other and felt sorry for ourselves. I watched people walk by and hoped someone would come to our rescue. It was such a helpless feeling. Mom tried to remain cheerful amid our questions that seemed all too important to us. "Would we miss Christmas? Will we have to spend Christmas in this little town? In this car? Would Santa know?" Mom answered our questions calmly. Finally, Dad returned to the car with an announcement. He would have to do the repair himself but the attendant had offered the light and warmth of the garage to do the work. I'm not sure how long it took him but I do remember the sense of hope that settled inside me. We got to Boulder that night, albeit later than planned. My only other memory is feeling relief and happiness at arriving at Uncle Duane's house, lit welcomingly with Christmas lights, before Christmas day. It made it that much more special.

1 comment:

  1. When we had snow yesterday morning I was musing on the challenges of my ancestors traveling with horses and buggy. When I saw the title of your post, I had to read it. How good that you made it to your uncle's house that Christmas Eve when you were a child. Great post.