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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Car Trip (07/18/05)

TITLE: Team Is What Matters
By Amy Brown


It was time. I wedged my way in (the ba-a-ack-seat of our 1988 Buick Stationwagon reminiscent of a white hearse) and carefully scanned the parameter (fishing poles, tackle boxes, suitcases, ice cooler, emergency and first aid kit). It would take some time to properly set up camp. As usual the arrangement of supplies poorly suited my unique purposes. After careful calculation I set to task utilizing skillful placements, both ensuring my continued privacy (from the other five members of my family), safety (from the looming suitcase towers collapsing) and if possible, comfort (for the lo-o-ng roads ahead).

The location assignment remained uncontested. After a fistful of veteran years in this service, my reputation preceded me. No one else would be asked to fill this post. No one else could (would) turn this less than appealing situation so dramatically around every year. I was alone in this area of expertise (and in my inability to fake motion sickness to promote myself forward).

The climate was predictably both hot and humid (Texas summers) creating instantaneous perspiration (no air vents in the ba-a-ack-seat) and relentless sticky clinging (vinyl). But the work pressed on. Set-up would be achieved within the first hour of the mission. That was standard protocol.

Safety came first, but with the necessities established and the borders reinforced, my mind eased and turned to the pleasurable task of making this barricading fortress (suitcases stacked to the ceiling on both sides of me) more reminiscent of home. Drapes (old baby blankets out the windows) were hung for sun protection and aesthetic appeal, a bit of music (Petra via the walkman) was turned on, an array of leisure reading (Chronicles of Narnia) was set out next to an area designated for snacks (snickerdoodles and Capri Suns). A pillow and light sheet were laid out for a make-shift cot.

Only a few hours into the mission and two contacts (younger brothers) were successfully initiated with both parties confirming their peacekeeping agenda over light food and entertainment (travel games and cards in the ba-a-ack-seat). Each meeting, though informal, remained crucial, as precedents would be set for future encounters. The director of homeland security (Mom) was pleased no attempt to violate the peace was insinuated by any of the parties.

As the days, and many times, nights pressed on, time and space seemed to jet by with present images rapidly fading into the distance. My general position (facing backwards) was review rather than planning, so the past was my companion whatever the time. Our commander-in-chief (Dad) was an efficient pedal-to-the-metal leader directed by the mission’s mastermind (older sister) who seamlessly navigated the efforts. We always pushed ahead at record speed. The pauses on our journey were seldom and no longer than absolutely necessary (five minutes or be left) before targeted destinations were met.

Relational networks were built with distant people (extended family) in distant lands (US coast to coast and beyond). These strong alliances in later years would stand the test of time. No matter the challenge, the blessing, or the hardship that would surface in later missions, one pervasive lesson continues to stand firm – team is (loved ones are) what matters. The rest is just details.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Nina Phillips07/27/05
That was really kinda cute the way you gave yourself, hubby, kids titles befitting the roles. Very neat. God bless ya, littlelight
Beth Muehlhausen07/30/05
An entertaining commentary sandwiched between, "It was time" (your lead sentence) and "The rest is just details" (your final sentence)! While some of the parentheses seemed necessary, I wondered if some could have been avoided (and commas used, instead) for a smoother flow? A fun read!
Deborah Porter 08/02/05
Amy, I actually started to feel a little car sick just thinking about your set up and position in the family car. I enjoyed reading your story very much and wanted to pop in quickly and let you know that it actually made it into the semi-finals for the Car Trip challenge. So be encouraged - you did well. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)