For as far as I could see ahead of me on highway 71 heading south was a ribbon of red tail lights also heading that way and an equal pattern of white going north and I wondered why all of those people were not already at their destinations instead of filling up the roads. Later my Aunt asked me if it had not occurred to me that I was one of them, and while that is a given, my thought from behind the wheel is focused on all the other traffic while I am just a spec speeding along with them. Thankfully, there were only a few trucks and a good number of vehicles turned off going to Akron. Another ace in our favor that evening was that the roads were dry and there was no precipitation in process or expected for a few days.
The classic music station was playing excerpts from an assortment of different productions of The Christmas Carol. The wind and the noise of passing cars diminished what I could actually hear, but I listened as well as possible. I thought about the many versions of that play that I have seen over the years, from stage to television, to cinema and never get tired of it. I also seem to find myself in front of the television every year to watch the animated Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and his adventures in the land of the misfit toys. I watched some of the newer Christmas cartoons this year, but most of them just don’t measure up to the old favorites, though I did watch the one about the elves and how they saved Christmas, for a second or third year.
My head was so busy with the trip and various other things that it seemed like a fast ride to highway 83 leading into Wooster, Ohio. Usually that first segment of the drive feels very long. Perhaps there was a hint of Christmas Spirit at work anticipating the visit with my cousin and her husband and our Aunt and Uncle who, after about three years of considering it, actually moved up to Wooster from Georgia.
Most of this road leading into downtown Wooster is a no passing zone and pretty hilly so the locals who end up behind me are sometimes a bit impatient and keep the old brights on full glare, so I don’t need to turn mine on to see through some of the darkest areas. There are no turn offs where I could pull over and let them roar by, so they just have to put up with it as do I until we finally get to the additional lane in the shopping district. Once I turn onto the main drag of the College of Wooster campus I finally relax.
The other guests are in full swing when I bring myself and my overnight bag into the house and join them. In time we settle around the table to share a traditional meal of salmon patties with mashed potatoes and creamed peas. Does life get any better than sitting with family around a meal that reminds us all of Christmases past and all those who will ever remain dear to us?