Saturday, September 30, 2023

EDITORIAL: Pack away the excuses and hit the road

| July 24, 2022 1:00 AM

The scratching at your mind’s door isn’t the dog or a wind-blown branch.

It’s your version of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster. And it wants to let out the Clark W. Griswold in each of us.

So go.

We did, and almost 7,000 miles later — every inch of it driven over the span of one month and two days — these Griswolds came away with a whole lot more than car fatigue.

Talk about new horizons.

After two years pent up in pandemic prison and work demands, we sallied forth into a glorious America that inundated us with its inner and outer beauty. Inner in the human kindness and consideration everywhere — nowhere more than in the South — and outer in the eyefuls of the best mankind and Mother Nature have to offer.

Mountaintops piercing blue sky, rivers wide, dark and deep. Town squares built of brick and sweat that endure, infused with the lifeblood of fresh commerce. Clouds piled upon each other, massive and vast temples of white on black, shape shifters unleashing tremendous electrical power. Swamps teeming with more life than most sentient beings are capable of imagining, a blanket of humidity lending a sense of tranquility best not tested.

But you know these things because to some degree, you’ve witnessed them yourself. What you might not have done is emerged yet from your own cocoon constructed by the pandemic and fortified this year by runaway inflation. Wagon Queen Family Trucksters don’t run on dreams, after all, and the kids need more than nostalgia for meals.

Yet, we submit that a healthy dose of “the hell with it” combined with a workable plan will be richly rewarded many times over, especially if your faith in mankind is on an uneasy ebb.

You’ll find that across the country, the vast majority of people are productive, happy and hangin’ in there together. The vast majority aren’t mindless kibble feeding the 24/7 “news” machines or social media search engines. They aren’t praying at the altar of political partisanship.

The vast majority of people are consuming life — good, bad and ugly — but real. And working together, they see that the way out is the way through — together.

If that’s not what you see around you today and you long for a broader and brighter perspective, get out. The road can be as long or short as you can handle, but this much is assured: You’ll end up back home in a better place than you left.

• • •

Mike and Sholeh Patrick recently completed treks through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico.

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