Making Good Time

Every time we took a road trip when I was a kid, my dad was hell bent on making good time. I have no idea what that was about and it remains a mystery to this day. This was before anybody ever heard the saying, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” For my dad it was all about the destination and the faster he could get us there, the better. I think he even kept track of his past records and tried to shatter them every time we hit the road. Whenever he did, he was proud as a peacock.

We never got to stop anywhere, either. Oh, hell no, that was forbidden, like it was against the law or something. One weekend we were driving to my grandparents’ house in the mountains and we passed an A&W Root Beer stand. My brothers and I shouted out in unison, “Dad, can we stop at the A&W, pleeeeze?” Dad said, “No, but we can stop at the G&G.” We gave each other that puzzled look and then asked, “What’s the G&G?” and he said, “Grandma and Grandpa’s.” Oh, you should have heard the groans in the back seat.

Now when I take a road trip, I vacillate between wanting to make good time and enjoying the journey along the way. It’s hard to undo the training I had as a kid, but I’m working on it. Last Fall I took a road trip with a friend and, as we drove toward the mountains, we were trying to figure out where to stop for lunch. I was driving, so she Googled. She found an In & Out Burger (her favorite) near the same exit we were going to take anyway, but it was on the opposite side of the freeway from the exit ramp and out of our way. I paused for a moment and then those memories of my dad flashed through my mind. I had a choice to make and, with a decision that would have troubled my dad, we drove out of the way and stopped at In & Out and had a nice, leisurely lunch. We didn’t make good time, but we enjoyed the journey (and a burger) along the way. I can just hear him saying, “Oh, what a shame, you were making such good time.”

Written by Susan 5/24/18

2 thoughts on “Making Good Time”

  1. When I was growing up I had two different step-fathers who were more interested in being with my mother than traveling with me. I traveled from Illinois to points west, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona with my maternal grandparents.
    My grandfather called me the “quiz kid” because of all the questions: “How much farther?”, “where are we now?”, “when will we be there?” He was very patient and answered my questions, as long as they didn’t come too frequently.

  2. Jim, I’m sorry to hear about your step-fathers; that was definitely their loss. It sounds like you were a great kid just full of curiosity. And the old question of, “Are we there yet?” probably drove our parents crazy. Maybe that’s why dads always wanted to make good time – so they could get out of a car full of annoying kids.

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