For the first time since 2002, says AAA, travel during the Thanksgiving weekend will decrease from the previous year. Glad to know that we’re not contributing to that part of the economic slump! Oh, no -we have a jolly 10 hour trip planned today to see cousins and grandparents. Fortunately, my kids are past the age where every minute in the car seat is pure torture.

In fact, we’re even past car seats, as of last year. It’s a whole new phase of freedom! The kids can change seats at will partway through the trip without having to reconfigure every piece of carefully packed luggage and without two adults leaning on the car seats to make sure they are tightly buckled into the car. Nope – it’s each man for himself, or each child for him or herself now. Ah, the simple joys in life!

We still, I reluctantly admit, rely a little too heavily on the DVD player. After all, the alphabet game only lasts so long – and it’s a LONG trip! One thing I enjoy to build a little family time into the car ride is listening to an audiobook together. I try to pick a book to suit all tastes (that’s always fun!) that will last several hours, and we break it up into short segments. Listen for a while, play for a while, watch a movie for a while. Even the kid who gripes about having to listen usually ends up enjoying it, and we have a common reference for discussion later, too. Often an inside family joke will develop over something we’ve heard, and the joke may last long after the story is forgotten. But the memories were created, the family bonds were strengthened, and we made it to Grandma’s with our sanity intact.

My overly-ambitious list for this trip includes:

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs by Alexander McCall Smith

The Girl Who Married a Lion ( a collection of African folktales) by Alexander McCall Smith

I’ll give you the critics’ results when we return.

For all of you who will be joining me on the road this holiday weekend, may you have safe travels and may the visits be worth the effort to get there. For those of you staying home, I wish you an enjoyable and restful weekend. And here’s a Thanksgiving wish for everyone:


May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

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