Like most Americans, I always love a good road trip – think Jack Kerouac or Thelma and Louis. The sense of adventure, the views across vast Texas vistas, the rhythmic sound of tires thumping along the road and the relief at arriving at my destination all make for an experience unlike any other. It’s just me and my voice, accompanying the car’s radio by rounding out the choruses of my favorite tunes at the top of my lungs.
And so, it’s been an extra special time for me over the past few days, enjoying a 360-mile road trip to visit family and friends who’ve been special to me over the years. My tour began with a visit to Brownfield, Texas, where my Aunt Gladys, the matriarch of my dad’s family, was celebrating her 90th birthday along with her children, my cousins and their extended families.
Next stop, also in Brownfield, was to visit my Aunt Loryce, the matriarch of my mother’s family. Brownfield holds a special place in my heart, as I have deep family roots there. It’s the place where my parents grew up and the place they married. The final lap in my journey was to Lubbock, where I spent a night with Jolene, my sister-in-law. Although my brother died many years ago, at age 44, Josie has always been like a sister to me. We shared sweet stories and old memories.
This extended journey was worth every minute! I finally left Lubbock on Sunday morning and headed back to Boerne, where I was looking forward to one more get-together. You see, I volunteered to host my community’s Christmas party this year. I’d carefully decorated my home for the festivities before leaving on my trip and everyone brought a dish to share, so there wasn’t much to do besides enjoy good company.
About two dozen wonderful neighbors arrived and a dear friend pitched in to help me welcome my guests. After that, the party took care of itself. We visited, ate and visited some more. It was my first time hosting a party for our small community and I had a ball. The evening left me feeling especially grateful this holiday season for family, community, friends and the opportunity to live, worship, be free to come and go as we wish. May God bless our dear country, and may we never take it for granted.
Have a wonderful holiday and remember to treasure those who love you from afar, as well as those you cherish next door.
© Tyra Manning 2018