By June Mathews
Most anybody who knows me at all knows I’m a major homebody. Every time I see Dorothy click her ruby red heels together and declare, “There’s no place like home,” I’m thinking, if not saying aloud, “Say it, sister. I’m right there with you.”
I think my homebody tendencies might have something to do with my upbringing. Both my parents enjoyed road trips, so every time they took a notion to go somewhere, we usually went.
Texas, California, Ohio to visit relatives, up the East Coast to Washington D.C., numerous trips to Florida, regular trips to the mountains of Tennessee, even more trips to Georgia to attend family reunions or tag along on some of Daddy’s countless business trips to Atlanta, all over Alabama…If it was within driving distance, we were liable to head there.
But it seems that for more miles than not, I was hunkered down in a corner of the backseat, carsick as a puny puppy dog. Even as Americans were being encouraged to “See the USA in your Chevrolet,” I was gazing at the scenery in a nauseous stupor from the rolling confines of a Ford station wagon
So in my mind, travel came to equal misery, even though Mama did everything she could to make me feel better. Dramamine helped sometimes, as did Cokes and soda crackers, but even the remedies became filler for the barf bags on occasion. Sleep would have provided merciful relief for the entire family, but I’ve never been much of a sleeper while on the move.
Honestly, had I been my parents, I would have given up and stayed home. But to their credit, they kept going. They were determined to show us kids the world, and they knew that once we arrived at our destination, I’d be fine. There was nothing like a dip in one of those kidney-shaped Holiday Inn swimming pools to pull me back from the brink of death.
In my teen years, it became apparent that carsickness was no longer an issue – as long as I was doing the driving. I’m not sure why that’s the case and frankly, I don’t care. I’m just glad it’s true.
Fortunately, Jimmie has always been happy to relinquish the wheel, allowing me to travel in relative comfort. Trouble is, he then has both hands free to fiddle with the radio, adjust the heat or air conditioner to his liking (which is rarely mine) and spill soft drinks and cracker crumbs all over my clean car.
I guess it’s a small price to pay, though, considering I can now take road trips without a twinge of nausea. Still, though, my usual preference is to just stay home.
But every once in a while, the travel bug bites, as it did when I was recently invited to go to Nashville with a couple girlfriends. We enjoyed a marathon three days of good music, delicious food, tourist attractions and a little shopping. And naturally, I drove every mile of the way.
For all the fun we had, however, turning back onto my own street was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Best of all, I think Jimmie and the dogs missed me as much as I missed them, and even my mortal enemy, Murray the Parrot, cheerfully squawked “Hello!” when I walked through the door.
Later I got to eat in my own kitchen, drink from a pitcher of sweet tea I’d made myself and sleep in my own bed. As far as I’m concerned, life doesn’t get any better than that.
Sometimes it takes leaving the places we love to more fully appreciate what they mean to us. So while I’m grateful for the occasional opportunity to travel, a little goes a long way with me.
And until the next trip comes along, I’ll be enjoying life right where I am. As Dorothy and I have known all along, the Land of Oz may be nice, but we wouldn’t want to live there because there is, indeed, no place like home.