Kevin and Jack’s waiting was rewarded yesterday. We are on the road en route to reunite with the big LaTorre family at the beach in North Carolina’s outerbanks. “Kevin said waiting for this trip is like waiting for Christmas, but the reunion is even more fun than Christmas!” It should feel like a Christmas celebration because the reunion has been an annual tradition since before I met Craig. So there hasn’t been a year of these boys lives that we haven’t found ourselves in the outerbanks for a week in July.
Dad LaTorre rents an enormous house on the ocean to accommodate 25 people! There is a lot of noise and activity for one continuous week. Great Grandma at 94 wouldn’t dream of missing it! And the fifteen cousins are inseparable for the week. I take more photos this week than the whole year combined. It’s how I have fun. I mostly put my camera around my neck and follow the kids wherever they go sun up to sun down.
Last year we got special permission for Lucy to be allowed in the beach house. She was so well behaved we obtained permission for her to join us this year as well. While we labor over packing up the van and closing down the house she goes into her worried and sad mode. During the final hours of prepartion she hops in the van and refuses to be budged out. When I reached for her she backed away from me. She literally sat in the van for two hours before we even hit the road.
During the seven hour stretch of our first of three days driving she layed on the floor behind my seat within reach of my arm to stroke her belly. She never uttered a whine. Neither did Jack and Kevin. I have a valuable strategy for long travel I don’t mind sharing. I do not let them have their DS or PSP games all year long. Then I let them choose a new game before the trip. So as soon as we hopped into the van they were absolutely still and silent for the first four hours playing their games! And they were so happy. For the past couple months I collected new movies as they were released and kept them as new fare for the road as well. So when the games gave them eye strain they kicked back for a new movie to watch.
Me? I can read in the car. I’ve been “interviewing” books for weeks. I read the first chapter and decide if I can tolerate the writer for 400 hundred pages. It’s less about content and more about the writer’s style. With profound self control I narrowed a vast pile into about seven books to last me over three weeks. I’m deep into “Bonobo Handshake”, a new memoir about a young couple who are working in a bonobo sanctuary in the Congo discovering the wild behaviors of Bonobos (related to chimpanzees) and how completely different their social structure is from the other apes. There’s only one place in the world where bonobos live and that’s the congo. She’s a good writer. So, I’m quite happy to spend three days alternating from my books to my knitting. Craig doesn’t like to relinquish the driving to anyone. He’s always been the chauffeur start to finish of every trip we’ve ever made.
We discussed next year’s travels with little miss Kira on the trip and it gave us quite a laugh. Our peaceful road trip will become a riot of helping her endure the long trip. No one will have a moments peace. I remember when Donny was that age and we had a long trip he was so bad in the car we sacrificed our health (and safety) to drive through the night. We are too old for that now. We also have more patience than we did then, and more helpers in the car. This year we will enjoy the last peaceful road trip for a few years.
Donny arrives home today from India. I imagine he’ll crash and sleep for about fourteen hours. When he’s revived I can hardly contain myself with excitement to gather, collect and cherish his stories about his great adventure. I’ve read Omar’s version, now I want to hear it from the voice of my son. Jordan arrives on Saturday from his trip, no doubt full of equally interesting and valuable stories I will hold dear. The two of them hop on a plane early sunday morning to join us in the Outer Banks. You can be absolutely sure I’ll have more stories and pictures to make up for this post which comes without a photo. I’m in the hotel room and my cords to connect photos are buried in the van, and I dare not ask Craig to unravel his carefully constructed packing. Tomorrow: photos! Today~ back on the road again.