I can remember weekends when I was very little: my Dad would unfold his long, stork-like legs from the white formica kitchen table, stand and stretch, then announce to my mother and I that he thought it was "time for a little drive." This was always great, great news for me.
We'd rush (at least, I remember that I rushed) to get ready for this Big Adventure. Always on a Sunday afternoon (in lieu of the Sunday Nap). Hair brushed, shoes on, I always had to bring my doll with me - and sometimes, I got to bring along Sammy, our little dog, too. So exciting!!!
The three of us would pile into the car - a big, big 1960s Chevy - and since this was the time before car seats, I was free to play in the huge back seat - leaning over into the front to talk to my parents, sliding from one side to the other to look out the windows. Dancing with the dog when he wasn't claiming a window of his own, drool ribbons forming in the wind, on the outside of the car door ....
And we'd go to such fascinating places. Seguin. Floresville. New Braunfels. At some point, my dad would drive us through a Dairy Queen for ice cream, and I still think of him every time I drive past a DQ. He would've loved a Blizzard, I'm sure.
We'd bring back treats for dinner, too. Sausage from New Braunfels. In season, there would be watermelons from Luling or strawberries from Poteet. Pecans from somewhere. My mother would chat about the different ways she could prepare these treats that evening, as we rode along the Farm to Market roads.
She was happy. So was my dad. So was I. We were a family on a Sunday Drive.
It was the best of family times for us. It didn't cost much money, which may have been one of my dad's goals - though I never knew that. My dad was suffering from terminal cancer during many of those rides, and I never knew that either - though I did notice that he was losing his hair (chemo) and that we stopped getting ice cream (he couldn't tolerate dairy) after awhile.
Today, gas prices are high and schedules are tight. Still, there's so much to be said for the family piling into the car and driving down roads you've never seen before: talking and laughing and listening to music on the radio. Stopping at roadside stands to buy farmer's produce. Stopping to read those historical markers.
It's a simple thing, the Sunday Drive. Take one this week.