We left New Jersey on a Friday that June and drove for three days, taking lots of breaks at rest areas where the kids (Auggie had just turned 9, Fritz was 5 and Harriet 3), the husband, and I could throw a football around, make ourselves salami sandwiches and spread peanut butter and jelly on top of white bread pulled from the cooler we lodged in the back beneath Harriet’s bare feet.
As the miles passed, I kept hearing my own voice inside my head repeat in a kind of psychotic monotonous tone, “Get me the frig out of this minivan.” Followed by a delightful and yet still cracked up voice, “What should I make for our first dinner in our new home?” With my grandmother’s 1945 edition of the Lily Wallace New American Cook Book in my back pack, along with her set of bright orange Rachel Ray knives, I was ready to pull open unfamiliar drawers and cabinets and fill them with my pots and pans. I could not wait to go food shopping. I couldn’t wait to meander through a farmers’ market or two. I needed to put a meal on the table for my family.
Finally, only 20 minutes from Madison, Wisconsin, and our new life, I popped the Wiggles DVD in for one last time, hoping it would lull Harriet who was no longer amused by grazing cows up on hills along the highway. Hearing “Mashed Banana” for the bazillionth time, I cursed myself for bringing that damn DVD along for our three-day journey. A little more than six years later and I’m still thankful that I hadn’t thrown myself and that DVD from our speeding car up onto one of those highway cow hills.