The Star-Herald

Summer road trips rule

Weddings in June are common enough. Relatively simple affairs. There is a bride, wearing a white and dolled up into a fanciful creation of spun sugar and apple blossoms. There is a groom, nervous as a frog in a heron’s pond. Supporters on both sides wishing their champion the best. A minister to sanctify the lot and a collection of kinfolk, friends, and neighbors to make certain the vows are witnessed and followed. 

Calling out the bride and groom, the minister proffers the ritualized words and orders the procedure. The ceremony follows its own pattern with a hundred cooks messing with the salt stock and finally the blessed couple is identified as united, having pled their troth. Hoopla ensues as music plays, people cheer, and everyone goes slightly nuts. 

Yes, there is something to be said for a June wedding. The best thing to say is Congratulations and Good Luck! May Fortune follow and happiness last for ten thousand years. The participants now exhausted perform the next rite: Pictures.

Such was the past week of experiences. An old friend was tying the knot and had issued the invitation. Road trips are part of the summertime experience. Beginning with a rainstorm, the weather changed to that brilliant sunshine for which June is remembered. It was chamber of commerce weather. Miles of blacktop highway and a thousand pages of audio books; Maine to Maryland and points in between; the ceremony of matrimony, consumption of libations and victuals, and back to the road. Everyone is happy. 

Observations about the trip color the memory. There is always the super vigilant driver who objects to a door bump. Tightly crowded parking lots lead to this hazard. A car door opens and extends itself to the point where it rests on the door of the neighboring car. This is followed by a hissing and rattling of teeth and fangs, usually the smaller challenging the bigger. No ding, no dent, just a childish touching of another and the words are heaped upon the head like night soil in an outhouse. Smells about the same. When finished, a sigh — oh, what a relief it is.

Pickle sandwiches, cotton candy, ice cream sundaes, turtles, dogs, and barbecue served with a side salad of potatoes, and concoctions of an unknown origin are smelled and tasted. Luscious, noxious, nausea, and delicious, the food rules. Reach a point and learn that one eats a hot dog with mayo, onions, relish, and hot sauce consumed while drinking a soda and yakking about the baseball fortunes of the favorite team. 

Campgrounds, sleeping bags, starlight and motels allow for sleep. A period of lumpy bed, mosquitos, fleas, and the slightly disoriented spider, and rest comes to the tired. Wake up, then on the road again. The inhalation of car fumes, arguments on the merits of road signs and directional signals; more blacktop and traffic jams. Pay your toll and smile, smile, smile. 

Welcome to summer. It’s a match made in heaven.

Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.

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