Monday, March 24, 2008

Ah, Home Sweet Home

Well, I have just concluded nine days of whirlwind travel, in which I covered ten states. Abe, Dad, and I left early the Saturday before Palm Sunday, and headed straight south, making it to Columbia, MO, on the first day. Columbia was on our itinerary because Dad's closest cousin lives there and we have never met his kids, who constitute the only other Bratruds of our branch of the family under twenty. Under ten, in fact. Although I don't know exactly if they're my second cousins, or my first cousins twice removed, Walter Bratrud and India Bratrud are smart, fun little kids. Walter is seven and India is four.

After hanging out with them and having a nice, long, leisurely discussion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness over a scrumptious lunch, we headed south yet again, the engine in Dad's little Aveo humming monotonously. The second night we stayed in Bentonville, Ark. Arkansas, as you may know, is one of the poorer states in the Union, but the Bentonville-Rogers-Fayetteville area, known as Northwest Arkansas (NWA) is a dynamo of progress and prosperity, largely due to Sam Walton and the Wal-Mart colossus, which is based in Bentonville. This was our second trip to Bentonville. For some reason, Dad is fascinated by the Wal-Mart story, and I can't help but appreciate what their company has done to what was once one of the poorest areas in one of the poorest states in the richest nation in the world.

The Wal-Mart Museum, it appears, is closed all the time except for every fifth Wednesday and odd-numbered Full Moons, so unfortunately we were not able, like our last visit, to see it. We headed south yet again, and drove through the Ozarks to Talihina, Oklahoma. Talihina is a quiet town about a third of the size of Baldwin, and the population is almost half Choctaw Indian. We visited the capitol and museum of the Choctaw Nation, which was an interesting experience. We hiked a bit that first afternoon, and enjoyed a sumptuous picnic on the Talimena Scenic Drive, one of the most view-laden stretches of roadway I have experienced. On Tuesday, however, it was raining torrentially, and rather than risk marooning and a slow death we stayed around the motel, watching some hilarious America's Funniest Home Videos on cable.

On Wednesday of last week, we cruised north again, hitting six states in one day. About two the next day, we left for Saginaw, Michigan, where my grandparents reside, for Easter with Mom and Dan, who just returned from a trip of their own, to New York City. Four days and my reserves of energy later, we arrived home about forty minutes ago, and are now slowly unwinding.

I really, really dislike long car rides, but I think the lack of distraction means I do some of my best thinking during them, and so I was pondering, as Douglas Adams would say, about Life, the Universe, and Everything. I guesstimate that on these two trips I spent far more time in the car than actually doing things, but what we did was worth it.

Anyhow, it's so nice to be home. There's nothing like, to paraphrase myself, a long trip to make you appreciate home.

By the way, my Mother and Aunt Lorraine, showing that fiendish cowgirl spirit that made them feared among the kids of their hometown as the bullies of the Saginaw playground, have started another blog, which you can view here.

Anyway, that's about that.

I apologize for the, once again, dearth in posts, but hope that you, knowing the circumstances, will forgive me.


sweetggirl said...

Sounds like a great way to spend a spring vacation!!