August 9th, 1973
I am sitting in the back seat of my mom and dad’s car about 500 feet from the North Carolina State line– we just went scrambling over the guard rail (my mom and I) while dad parked off the road so we could get a picture of mom standing in front of the Welcome to North Carolina sign. She wants to get a picture in from of every state sign they pass but so far out of about 15 states she’s only gotten two– both at the same place– Virginia and North Carolina. All the other signs have been in the middle of bridges etcetera– she says it may be a lot of trouble to stop the car and brawl over fences but when she’s an old woman sitting in her rocking chair that they’ll be nice memories. I got a picture of her– then she got a picture of me. Cars and trucks were zooming by and at first, I felt like an idiot standing out there with a camera. Even though I knew it didn’t matter to me if people going by would laugh– or think us fools– then it felt okay and when mom took my picture I was standing there grinning from ear to ear and waving even. By this time pop has backed the car down the road and we hopped back in. Pop got three cold beers out of the trunk and now we’re all talking about stopping and spending the night with Aunt Cat in Georgia and hoping we won’t have to see her boorish obnoxious boyfriend, Doug. They just told me the story of when they got married and how pop was shaking and nervous and didn’t have a driver’s license and no way to prove his age (he was 42 at the time)
It’s a nice drive–
11:20 on a hazy bright Thursday morning in August and I feel myself unwinding like a coil as the road slaps the miles down, down into the South.