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Highway to Heaven
by Al Boyce
08/09/05
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"Hey, this is pretty good," he said, taking a second bite of the apple.

"Yeah," she sighed. "And we weren't even supposed to eat stuff from that tree. Who knew?"

"Wait a minute," he stopped chewing a leveled a look at her. "Where did you GET this apple?"

"You know that big tree in the middle of the orchard ... " she began.

"Nevermind!" he shouted. "Grab your stuff. We're outa here!"

("And don't let the flashing swords of the cherubim hit you on the way out!" boomed a scary voice)

Like the original Bonnie and Clyde, they loaded up their car and took off for, well, God knows where.

-----

It's been a heck of a road trip.

We were barely under way when Cain took out Abel in a drive-by shooting. Then there was that stint on the pontoon boat during the flood that the Weather Channel NEVER saw coming.

Out of luck and out of money, we coasted into Egypt. What a mistake! Who knew a set of new tires and transmission could be THAT expensive?!

We'd have been working off that debt forever if it hadn't been for Moses and his fancy debt-restructuring scheme. We did feel bad for Pharoah though.

Then Mapquest totally screwed up and we spent 40 years wandering the desert. (Of course, none of the men would ask for directions!)

The Promised Land turned out to be more of a waystation than a destination. We just weren't made to settle down. People would start partying, then some crazy flood or plague would come along and knock sense into us ... until the next time.

We really tried to stay on the road. But it seemed like there was always an enticing side trip -- that big new theme park off the interstate, or the casino near the Indian reservation.

In fact, that's kind of what we thought was going on that night the star lit up the sky and all the shepherds showed up in their minivans packed with goodies. Another diversion.

That was before Big John showed up with the front-end loaders, graders, dump trucks and announced the new bypass.

His idea was stunning: Build the biggest, baddest highway ever. Dozens of lanes wide, totally flat and straight. Even the mountains were knocked down as he prepared the way.

It was a major project. Took almost 33 years. And, you know, funny thing is all lanes go the same direction.

It was the most expensive project in history, too. Then they started talking about how it was going to be a toll road, and we just about lost it. There was no way we would be able to pay the toll.

Still, it was the only way forward; the only way to get where we needed to go. So we lined up to see how much the toll was going to be.

That's when we got the biggest surprise of all. They guy who planned the project, who bankrolled it all, who brought in the workers and the graders and the miles and miles of concrete. He decided to just write it off and let everyone use the road --- for free.

The trip is a little different now. We're making pretty good time -- considering we don't know how far we have to go. We don't have to spend as much time worrying about maps and directions.

But there are new things to consider.

Yesterday we picked up a hitchhiker. Today, we helped a woman whose car had broken down. Several of us have decided to travel in a group and share food as well as our experiences.

One other odd thing: It was kind of dark when we started out.

Now it seems the farther we go, the brighter things get.



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