The Old Way Home

Dearest Rachel –

For all my talk about taking a different way down here, you might think it’s strange that I return to our normal course of action for the trip home. After all, there’s no more reason for us to leave in a hurry than there was for us to show up down here in the first place; Kevin doesn’t have to leave for work until three this afternoon. So why bother with taking the single-route Interstate 65 home?

Well, while there’s no need to hurry home in terms of deadlines and appointments, there is the fact that I’m not a great fan of night driving if I can avoid it. I don’t hate it the way you used to (if for no other reason than I simply enjoy driving overall more than you ever did), but you know full well that I never was much of a night owl for any activity. And while a road trip basically requires one to keep at it until the destination is reached, I’d prefer to do as much of it while it’s light and I’m less likely to zone out due to the effects of nighttime on my circadian rhythm.

That situation is exacerbated by the fact that – for whatever reason – I woke up at five-thirty this morning. I tried to remain in the bedroom, and reasonably quiet, for as long as I could, but after a certain point, one has to do something. So, by eight o’clock, I’ve got all my personal effects packed up and (apart from the electronics, which I don’t want to subject to heat any longer than absolutely necessary) stashed in the car. And while Daniel has slept through my jostling about, I’m afraid I’ve woken Kevin up, as the television is on by the time I’m back from my first trip out to the car. So, after the second trip, I decide to stay on the porch in order to fill you in on things, at least for the moment.

It’s mostly quiet out here, apart from the sounds of birds and insects. The miniature cul-de-sac is also quite shady at this time of day, so it’s not as if the sun is beating down. Still, I can look at my phone and confirm that it’s already in the 80°s, and it’s humid enough that it’s actually challenging to take a deep breath. I’d attribute this all to the fact that we’re down this far south in the middle of June, but I understand from Tim that things are just as hot back at home – which is significant insofar as Tom the Electrician will be at the house to install our new circuit boxes tomorrow and part of Friday. Long story short, the power will be out – particularly the air conditioner – for most of the house during the time that he’s working. I’ve already informed Daniel, and suggested that he come with me when I go to the ‘office’ for the rest of this week.

But for now, I have to wait for him to wake up, and then fold and pack his bedding. At least, the television is a gradual wake-up process, rather than the screech of an alarm clock; the only problem is that it’s distracting for me to work around. If I’m not careful, I’m liable to lose focus and plunk myself back down in front of the screen, and things don’t get loaded up.

Five or six trips later (would it have been fewer if you were still here? We’d still have your luggage – although it might be combined with mine in a single suitcase – and all of Chompers’ gear, not to mention the Wii stuff and the like, so it might offset at the end of the day), everything is loaded up, and we’re ready to pull out by ten-thirty. At this point, the sun is already overhead, the shadows are gone, and it’s swelteringly hot. I’ve no idea how Daniel deals with wearing a hoodie over his T-shirt, or why.

But now, we’re off to one last tradition before heading out, and perhaps the real reason for doing so on the usual route at the usual time. For all that we’ve eaten out each evening (some really good places – the Cajun place was a surprise, and the BBQ place leaves me wondering about offering smoked turkey for Thanksgiving – and others that make us wonder about those that write Yelp reviews in this town), we know this is probably our last chance at a Waffle House until next year. I confess, I don’t get the appeal this place had for you, or has for Daniel, apart from the sheer weight of tradition. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, after all, and while I’ll not deny it’s decent food at a decent price, I think it has more to do with the lack in our area of such a place. Were an outlet to plunk itself down near the Kirchhoff exit off of route 53, we might go there more often than we do now, but we probably wouldn’t find it worth bothering with on our travels so much.

Anyway, we’re running out of time, I should be chatting with the others, and this ought to go out to you before we go incommunicado on the road. Take care of yourself, honey, and keep an eye out for us.

Oh, and wish us luck – we’re going to need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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