Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest Post: A Trip to Maryland

By Jan Williams

Today I’d like to share a story with you that takes place in the olden days. That’s right. No cell phones, no dvd players (portable or otherwise), no gps, no handheld entertainment systems. The dark ages as it were. It’s a tale of adventure and suspense, a tale of blood, sweat and tears. A tale of one woman’s journey across the plains with her three children as they make their way to their new home.

It is actually my story. No, I’m not that old. It takes place in 1989. But we really didn’t have any of the above mentioned electronics and we really did cross the plains on our way to our new home.

It was in late August. The kids (14, 7, and 2) and I had been staying in Albuquerque, New Mexico with my parents in their 2 bedroom apartment (that’s a separate story) while my husband finished some Navy training in Washington D.C. Five long months later we received news that we would be stationed in Indian Head, Maryland where my husband would be attending EOD school. We could finally be together again as a family. We were elated.

The bad news was that my husband, Dave, would be unable to join us for the trip. And so it was that with great trepidation I planned our 2000 mile trip to D.C. We had 4 ½ days to get there including our stop in Kansas City where most of our stuff was being stored (yet another story). The other bit of daunting news was that we would be making the entire trip in our Yugo.


Many of you have probably never heard of Yugos. There is a reason for that. They were only sold in the U.S. for about 6 years and have the dubious distinction of having made Time magazine’s The 50 Worst Cars of All Time list. Yugos were cheap, sub-compact, cheap, good gas mileage, cheap, easy to park, and oh, did I mention cheap. There was almost no storage space in the car so I had to get a car-top carrier. Not the sleek, streamlined Thule you probably imagine. No, it was a Montgomery Ward’s special that had basically the same dimensions of the car so we very much resembled a small, white double decker bus as we trundled down the highway.

I won’t burden you with the details of the trip. Suffice to say that with no entertainment systems available (not even a cassette player) and no air conditioning (I remind you it was late August) by the time we got to a motel each night we all looked like we had survived some kind of death march. Even the 2-year-old was catatonic only reviving after a tepid bath and some dinner.

We finally reached D.C. Unfortunately we arrived a bit later in the day than I had planned which put us in rush hour. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Washington but it was designed by a Frenchman who was obviously still upset that our revolution had turned out better than theirs and the city design was definitely some form of revenge. Couple that with the fact that my only source of directions were from my husband (who didn’t have a car and therefore was not familiar at all with the city and who, being male and genetically predisposed to not asking for directions had come up with these on his own) and a very confusing road map.
Need I say that we became very lost. I felt that I might spend the rest of my life driving around and around and around our nation’s capital in a Yugo. Had I not needed gas we might still be driving. We did finally make it to my husband. It was not the happy reunion with his wife and children he had hoped for. Well, eventually it was.

So, what is my point? Stuff happens. Things rarely go as planned. But here’s the truth. If you go with the flow and stay present in each moment as it presents itself you can find something of value, peace and joy in everything that happens. For more about finding balance in the motion of life go to this link. http://becausestuffhappens.com/events/

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