April 19, 2010

Three generations

It was a roadtrip. And officially, I guess it was a college roadtrip since we had two college students with us, Shaggy Hair Boy and Blonde Niece. Of course, the other two passengers in my car were my parents, who are in their late 70s. The best road trips include at least three generations.

Shaggy Hair Boy took the wheel, driving us through miles of farmland and talking to his grandfather about the jazz CD he was playing. They may be 60 years apart in age, but they love the same music.

When we passed a herd of cows, I expected my mother to look out the window and say, “Hello, girls.” That’s what she always says to a herd of cows. But Blonde Niece beat her to it. She turned towards the cattle and said, “Hello, girls” in a perfect imitation of her grandmother. My mother and I both laughed.

When we went through the tollbooth, Shaggy Hair Boy chatted with the toll booth attendant as she handed him the ticket.

“You always talk to the attendant?” I asked in surprise. I always just grab the ticket and keep driving.

“I always try to say at least seven words,” he explained. He gave us this theory he had heard: toll booth attendents have a boring job, very isolated from the rest of the world. So if each driver who passes through says at least seven words, that human contact could prevent the toll booth attendant from getting depressed and committing suicide.

Our trip took us to Camera City, where we ate lunch at my brother’s house, played a game of Scrabble, and attended Drama Niece’s last high school performance. My wonderfully talented niece has starred in many plays and musicals over the last six years, and I’d be a little sad to see them end if it weren’t for the exciting news that next year, she’ll be living in Snowstorm City while she attends Snowstorm University.


heidi said...

Smiling at the insight about the tollbooth attendants.

Lorianne said...

I have one of those automatic transponders that allows you to zip through the toll-booth fast lane without ever stopping for a ticket: they just deduct money from an account connected to your credit card. It's wonderfully convenient and a real time-saver on long road-trips, but I wonder what kind of effect it has on all those lonely toll-booth attendants.

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget driving up to the toll booth on the night of our wedding. My car was totally trashed, decorated with shaving cream and confetti. We were exhausted. And the toll booth guy gave us a free pass through the gate!

jill said...

I just want to say that it sounds like you have the loveliest family.

BrightenedBoy said...

That's a very sweet consideration for your son to take.

BeachMama said...

We need more Shaggy Hair Boy's in this world. We don't have many toll booths up our way, but when we drive South to our favorite Beach we pass through many. And we always thought the attendants might think we are nuts for chatting for a few minutes, but now I see they are probably just surprised!