Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Car Trip (07/18/05)
TITLE: A Car Ride to Remember
By Mary Frederick
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Crowded into our black Plymouth with the windows open wide; the wind blowing in our faces; hearing repeated warnings, “Keep your hands and arms inside the windows”, we rode along singing, talking and counting cows grazing in fields of sweet smelling grass or freshly mowed hay. A car ride after supper on a hot summer night meant an ice cream cone at our favorite ice cream store if, we were “good” during our ride in the country. I loved to ride past the dairy farms and breathe in the sweet odor of fresh cow’s milk; this increased my anticipation of the ice cream cone I would soon be eating. The thought of fresh cow’s milk still makes my mouth water for a vanilla ice cream cone. (I hope I can complete this story before I am overcome by the present overwhelming desire for a large cake cone filled with a double dip of fresh, vanilla ice cream. Sorry, some temptations are just too strong for me. I will be right back!)
My favorite car ride time was, and still is, just after a rain shower because that was when the grass was still wet and the air smelled sweet, pure and refreshing much like the air I breathed standing on the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean while vacationing in California. As I grew through childhood into adulthood my enjoyment of a car ride did not lessen but rather it has expanded in many ways and for various reasons.
A car ride can be a time of relaxation and letting go; some parents have discovered that a car ride is a simple stress reducer for themselves and their restless infant or young child who has difficulty falling asleep at night. A car ride through the countryside can be a time of much needed solitude and a time to listen to the whisperings of the Lord of Love. Taking a car ride out of the city away from the pollution of car and truck exhaust fumes; the belching factory smoke stacks, the mixture of putrid odors from varied and various city sources into the freshness of the countryside is a means for reviving our spirits and a source of much needed oxygen for the stressed lungs of city dwellers. A car ride can be a time to quiet our fears and calm our inner conflict as we head to the hospital or toward the home of a seriously ill family member or friend. A car ride that includes God as our Navigator can be a means for strengthening our relationship with Him and renewing our dependence upon His guiding Light. When riding alone in a car I like to pray which is simply having a conversation with God; sometimes I talk and God listens and at other times God talks and I listen and sometimes we just sit in silence holding hands.
The most memorable car ride I ever took was my last ride with my dear mother approximately three weeks before her death. Mother enjoyed a car ride and looked forward to this each afternoon; there was very little else she was able to do at this period of her life. During our rides we talked about times and people long gone, listened to old time spiritual music, sang, laughed, and prayed the Rosary. I was mother’s primary care giver and the car rides for me were a time of healing and revival in preparation for the evening and night ahead. Bad weather seldom prevented our daily rides over a period of five plus years and on this day they ended. On our drive toward home mother told me that her stomach was hurting and that she felt nauseated. The next day she was very weak and after talking with her doctor I arranged for an ambulance to transport mother to the hospital for an abdominal CAT scan. That evening I received a call from the doctor, “I am so sorry but your mother has meta-static cancer of the colon and liver, she is dying”. Mother had a chronic colon condition but we did anticipate such a drastic and rapid change in her condition.
I recalled the happy car rides with mother at my side as I drove the route from the Church to Cemetery approximately three weeks later. Often as I drive I feel the presence of mother sitting beside me during a long or short car ride.
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