OMG Car. Every time. I love roadtrips and have sooo many memories of going somewhere new with a car full of people I love.
Dad took us all around the East of Australia when we were much younger. He and Mom took turns driving a bright orange Toyota with 4 seats and a ‘tray’ attached to the back which was covered. Jay and I used to sit back there and play with toys. Dad did the most driving and Mom had set up a pretty nifty ‘sandwich station’ in the front seat, using the little cabinet on the dashboard as a table, she’d make us all specialty sandwiches (I didn’t want anything healthy on mine – just meat and cheese, lol) and pass them around as we were singing along to the radio.
I loved going somewhere in the car with Dad – even if it was just to the grocery store and back. I have memories of getting up when it was still dark outside to go with Dad to newly built houses. I worked as Dad’s apprentice for one long summer when I was about 20? Dad would wake me early, I’d get dressed and meet Dad in the kitchen. I had bleary eyes and was SO UPSET about being woken so early. Dad was always so happy, bless him. I remember rolling my eyes at how “bloody annoying” Dad was, being so chipper even before the sun was up…but now that we’ve lost him, oh how I long for those days. Just one more day of waking up before the rest of the world with Dad singing in the front seat; his cigarette bouncing up and down on his lips as he sang. I will forever remember the smell of paint and that Dad’s cars were always old and sounded like tugboats rather than cars.
I loved ‘roadies’ with my friends when we were in our late teens. In our last year of high school (it’s called ‘spring break’ in the US and is now called “Schoolies” here in Australia – but back then, it was just school holidays) a bunch of us rented out chalets on the beach – nothing fancy – just plain rooms – and had the best 3-4 days ever, singing, laughing, swimming, getting sunburnt, trading secrets, flirting and falling in and out of love on that long weekend. I loved how excited we were in our cars heading to Scarborough beach, how fun it was to cook together and eat together – shoulder to shoulder – around small tables, stuffing our faces and grinning across at each other. We felt like KINGS in those days. Untouchable. Free. WILD. Happy. I love memories like that.
I loved when my friends and I were in our late teens and everyone started getting their licence. OH THE FREEDOM to go wherever we wanted in our cars. I kept failing my licence and to this day I don’t have it, but I absolutely LOVE being ‘shotgun’ passenger, so not driving doesn’t bother me a bit. I loved leaving Highschool and all walking to different cars after class – all with radios blaring (Wayne had Mariah Carey’s “dreamlover” playing one day and now I can’t listen to it without being transported back to the highschool car park), horns tooting, friends calling out to each other, tyres screeching, red dust as they left…all of us so young with our whole lives ahead of us.
I love travelling about in Troy’s white station wagon. Melissa and I were in the back giggling and writing “help us, we’re kidnapped” on bits of paper and drawing stupid cartoons. I’m thankful Police didn’t discover those.
I remember Micheal saying “listen to the bass on this, Janet” and waving me into his car one afternoon. I had a bit of a crush on him – which I will never admit to outside of this blog, because my best friend Carol had ‘dibs’ on him and I respected that and never made a move towards Michael – but that one afternoon, I nervously sat in the passenger seat; eyes wide as I watched Michael drumming on the steering wheel and singing along to Cake’s version of “perhaps, perhaps, perhaps” played on speakers that shook with the volume. Such a sweet and beautiful memory. Michael is now happily married to Kristy who is 1) another girl from our youth group and 2) surprisingly now one of my closest friends – closer than Carol. Weird how time changes so mcuh.
Strange, I know – but I love plane rides. The longer the better. I used to travel every year with my first husband between the UK and Australia so I could see my family for new year’s. Going from the peak of winter in Liverpool to the peak of summer here in Perth was a HUGE SHOCK every time, but what I looked forward to – was the plane ride. I love that I could just REST. That’s the best part of a long plane ride – you just SIT. You rest. You watch movies or listen to music. You can read for as long as you want and NO ONE WILL JUDGE YOU. No one will be saying “Isn’t it time you did something???” No. You just rest AND FOOD GETS BROUGHT TO YOU, too. It’s awesome. I love it!!!
It is with a huge stone in my heart that I remember countless grainy, tea-stained moments with Dad on the many roadtrips he took us on. I wish I’d recorded them in more detail – mentally and physically. I wish I’d taken more photos, asked more questions about Dad’s life and listened more.
Oh Dad…to have even 5 more minutes with you.