March 22, 2011

Oh, Spontaneity!

The plan for Sunday was very simple: church and then a surprise outing to one of our favorite local restaurants, McKinney & Doyle. But after the service our parents engaged in a rather important (and lengthy) conversation with a fellow church member. Eventually my dad turned to me, handed me the keys to the Camry, and told me to take a bunch of us home. I grabbed my two sisters, Sarah's friend from college (Katie), and Peter, and off we went.

It was a truly spring day (before the snow hit yesterday). The ground was bare- daffodils blinked shyly, and the sky was blue. We rolled down the windows a bit and my iPod went on. One of the first songs up set the mood, "I love you more... than the spring in its blooming against the sky." (Ought To Be, Audrey Assad).

Then came Lucky (Jason Mraz) and all the girls (the seven year old mostly smiled) began to sing... "Lucky I'm in love with my best friend / lucky to have been what I have been..."

Then came the Newsboys- and the car began to bop. We sang our hearts out in unified consent, "I'm not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ!" We were enjoying ourselves immensely. I looked sidelong at my sister, "Take the long way home?" Yes. We wove in and out around brimming reservoirs and the iPod hit a run on Beach Boys...

Well she got her daddy's car
And she cruised through the hamburger stand now
Seems she forgot all about the library
Like she told her old man now
And with the radio blasting
Goes cruising just as fast as she can now
And she'll have fun, fun, fun
'Til her daddy takes the T-Bird away

Surfer Girl. Catch a Wave. The sun was bright, our smiles were brighter. We cruised into the driveway. When I reached the door I heard the phone ringing- I rushed in and caught the phone off the receiver on the umpteenth ring- it was Dad. He'd sent me with the Suburban keys- he, Mom, and the boys were stranded at church. So back off I went, this time by myself.

I skipped to my favorite songs. As I drove (a little faster this time) I suddenly had the odd sensation of seeing myself- as I couldn't have imagined just twelve months- let alone twelve years- ago. 

There I was. Living in New York (of all places). Driving down back roads to pick up my parents (of all things). Listening to country love songs (of all music). On a spring Sunday in 2011 (of all times).

By the time we all united at home it was about three o'clock. We all piled into the Suburban and were just about to leave when we called the restaurant and discovered they were closed. Nobody felt like going inside to have PB&J. We were hungry.

In fact, we were so hungry I think we were a bit crazed. We wanted food. REAL food. Dad made a suggestion, the members of the car erupted in loudly voiced opinions in true Democratic form- parents used their executive rights to overrule the few dissenters and the next thing we knew the nine of us were making the hour+ trip down to NYC to go to Flor De Mayo

We grabbed some chips to tide us over. We were scarcely twenty minutes down the road when, to our dismay, it was discovered in our spontaneity no one had grabbed a camera. Katie, my sister's friend, was particularly disappointed since this was her first time going into the city. (Thus I am writing this post, to immortalize the occasion.)

At Flor De Mayo (Peruvian-Chinese cuisine) we ordered the timeless favorites: two whole rotisserie chickens, four large orders of black beans and yellow rice, and several plates of maduros and avocado. On such occasions, manners are temporarily disbanded. There is much grabbing and yumming and clashing of forks and general silence as the meal is consumed. As Katie attested, it was well worth the wait.

We drove down Broadway to show Katie Time Square. There was much traffic- we gazed up at show signs and advertisements and read the newsflashes on the economy and wars and talks and treaties scrolling in large neon letters around a building.

Just as we passed the Apple store (giant glass conservatory of technology), Dad pulled the truck over and said he had to go see something (presumably something in the Apple store) and Mom should take the car around the block to pick him up. Then he was gone. Mom looked amused, climbed over into the driver's seat, and began driving around. Crazy. Jammed. Loud. Broadway. We had only gotten half way around the block when we suddenly saw Dad running up (already done) and he hopped back in the car. Mom whirled around and said to Katie, "All the stories you heard about us were true."

We drove through Central Park (past the petting zoo and barred doors leading into the hillside, under overpasses, betwixt stone-walls). At some point during the evening we sang the George Washington Bridge song.

Then we were driving home... back upstate. The tall buildings turned to tall trees, parks turned to lakes, noise into the single melody of a Rascal Flatts song on a country station.

Sometimes I can hear this old earth shouting (...)
That's when I climb up here on this mountain
To look through God's window

Now I can't fly, but I've got two feet

To get me high up here
Above the noise and city streets
My worries disappear


  1. Sounds like a fun adventure =D And I love that Rascal Flatts song! Stumbled across your blog, and have enjoyed reading some of the posts :D Can't wait for more!

  2. Every time I read a glimpse into your life, Cher, I catch another revelation as to why my soul identifies you as my sister. I love the exuberant, radiating joy that leaped from your face into your fingers when you wrote this =D

  3. Thanks! I checked out your blog, Natalie! 'really like it. :-) Thanks for stopping by. :-)

    Ah, soul-sister. Cher. I love you. Thanks. :-)