Monday, July 8, 2013

Kate Miller 29: Road Trip 2

In which we actually, finally, make it to our cottage in Prince Edward Island...

29. Road Trip Part 2 (May 2013)
            It was late afternoon by the time the car was ready to go, and no one wanted to delay the departure in order to get some early dinner. Why not just get it on the way? Mister suggested ordering takeout pizza an hour down the road. The plan was heartily approved, and a place duly found and called. About forty-five minutes later though, Kate and Mister exchanged uneasy glances.
            They called up to the front seat, “Have you seen any signs for Biddeford? Maybe Alfred St.?”
            “No-oo,” came the uncertain response. “Could we have passed it already?”
            Kate and Mister kept a weather eye out for the anticipated pizza exit, but a few minutes later it became clear that they were well past it. Kate thought forlornly of the abandoned pizza behind them. If only they had internet, they could look up another place and try again…time to call a friend! But Kelsey’s mom was unavailable. And Mister tried his tech-savvy brother and cousin, also to no avail. Finally, Kelsey’s sister graciously looked up a phone number, address, and directions from the interstate for them. And by the time they got there, it was the best, most delicious pizza Kate had ever tasted. She knew in theory that this wasn’t true, but it was satisfying to the tips of her fingers and the point of her nose in a way that made her simultaneously want to slowly savor each bite and devour an entire piece all at once.
            After dinner, Kate took a shift driving. This was her favorite part of the day, with the evening sun painting the sky with soft but striking colors. It didn’t take long to get out into tree country, and Kate felt a cool peace sliding over her soul. She grinned happily at Mister. “I love these trees,” she said, quietly, in the way that she always did when she was dreadfully understating something. “It’s just like being home.”
            The sky grew darker and the road grew slower and narrower, but Kate still loved the open expanse of sky and trees. Then a sleepy voice piped up from the back. “Mommy? I have to go potty.” Kate did too. She promised to pull over at the first gas station. But another ten miles down the road and there was no gas station! Eventually, Kate just pulled off into a clearing. She grabbed a tissue or two and did her business at the edge of the wood. Little Rose, who had requested the stop, had never (in her short time of being potty trained) gone potty without a potty! The ordeal was too trying—or exciting—and she could get nothing out.
            The trees of Maine blurred into the trees of Canada, when all of a sudden, there appeared a large clearing and a massive, intimidating cold steel structure. They were at the border to New Brunswick! James, who was driving at the time, handed over everyone’s passports. The Canadian patrol was stiff and brisk as he asked the standard questions.
            “Where are you going?” (Prince Edward Island)
            “How long are you staying?” (Nine days)
            “Are you all coming from Oregon?” (Pause…No, from Boston. Well, five of us from Boston, and two from DC)
            Strange look. “But the Oregon license plate?” (Going through law school. I’m a student in Boston and my brother-in-law is a graduate student in Virginia.)
            “Okay. Any explosives, weapons, chemicals?” (Looking around… Nope)
            Once the group was past the checkpoint, Kelsey whacked her husband’s leg. “What were doing looking if you weren’t sure whether or not we had guns or explosives?”
            James merely grinned and said what any such accused husband could: “I don’t know.”
            Many hours later, James pulled onto a bumpy dirt road, jarring Kate fully out of her half sleep. She opened her eyes, and only moments later they pulled onto the grassy turf in front of a cute little cottage. Kelsey started unbuckling her sleeping daughters. “We’re here in Prince Edward Island!” she exclaimed quietly. Young Kate opened her eyes, grinned a sleepy grin, and looked around.
             “Where’s Anne?” she asked.

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