Friday, April 19, 2013

Perspective from the Back of a Pickup Truck

Summers spent in Maine also meant seemingly endless visits with family.  As a child I dreaded the trips away from the lake cottage.  If the trip was to be an overnight one to Boston, it was even worse.  I didn't like to be separated from my little wooden rowboat.  I loved running as fast as I could down the packed dirt road, the soles of my feet toughened from all of the barefoot days.  I built tents using the clothesline, wet towels and wooden clothespins and stayed outside until the night sounds scared me into retreating to the safety of my lower bunk bed.  On rainy days, I climbed up to the attic to read a book and listened to the sounds of the raindrops dancing on the rooftop while I hunkered down on one of three ancient mattresses with their mismatched chenille coverlets.

Uncle John would arrive with my cousin, Christine for a visit at some point during the summer.  They lived less than an hour away in New Hampshire, but as a child, it seemed like such a far away place.  Christine would stay with us for several days and then my younger sister and I would head to their farm in New Hampshire for a few days.  The best part of the trip was my uncle's old pickup truck.  He would wait until nightfall and line the bed of the truck with sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and favorite stuffed animals.  The three of us would lie side by side and stare up at the stars in the inky sky as he drove on the highways to their farmhouse.  There was a large iron bridge along the route and I would try to count the cross bars overhead.  Chilly New England air rushing by, traffic zipping along and three little girls snuggled in the back chattering about life's most important things.

This was the one trip that I always looked forward to each summer...the one visit I didn't dread.  To this day, I still believe that the best conversations happen in the back of an old pickup truck.