My daughter and I will be traveling to Louisiana next week to see my mother. The highlights will be to purchase a new flat screen TV for Mama, along with a console for it, a visit to Mama’s new doctor, and Easter dinner with The Godfather and his family. We also have to prepare Mama’s living room for the addition of the TV, which will require emptying the ginormous bookcase, packing away all the knick-knacks, and moving it out of the room until her laundry lady, Mary Lou, can take it. I’m sure the console will require some assembly with directions that have been poorly translated to English. We have 3 days to accomplish all of this because 2 days will be spent driving. One day there and one day back. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Speaking of the drive: I DETEST the grueling 7 hours trapped inside the car. The only saving grace will be Autumn, whose responsibility it is to keep me from committing hari-kari with the nearest sharp object. She doesn’t know this is her job yet, but she has a good head-start by creating a music playlist on her iPod with some really cool tunes. Hopefully, this will distract us from the mind-numbing, arduous trip.
Twice a year for 25 years I have driven to Louisiana since moving to Texas and it’s not getting any easier. Well, that’s not true. In the early days, I-49 was not built, which resulted in a 10 hour journey, usually with 3 restless kids in the back seat. Because of the absence of a freeway between Alexandria and Baton Rouge, it was necessary to pass through several small towns notorious for speed traps. There were also a considerable number of bridges to cross, sans shoulders, which was truly frightening, especially when it rains like the heavens are on a mission to drown you in your automobile, following you relentlessly for miles. I’ll never forget one trip when my electric window was broken on the driver’s side and I had to hold it up with my left hand while being pelted by shards of rain passing through the small crack. Fun times.
When the kids were little, I always liked to challenge them to pronounce names of towns we passed through like Grosse Tete, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Livonia, Arnaudville, Tangipahoa, Coushatta, Fordoche, Lecompte, and Plaucheville. Did you know that Grosse Tete is French for “Big Head”? I still can find no logical explanation for that moniker. Do the people there have big heads? I don’t know because I have never seen or talked to anyone from there to know if they physically have large skulls or they have some sort of elitist attitude.
You might think that I am not looking forward to the trip, but that is not the case. Once I get there, I will enjoy my family, the lush scenery, and the Cajun food. If the drive doesn’t do me in, that is. I’m predicting it won’t since I have survived over 50 of them thus far. And my awesome daughter will be with me.