Saturday, November 24, 2012

Almost perfect start...

to the Christmas season.  Well, as perfect as a day spent traveling can be.

Yesterday while others were resting after the Thanksgiving feast, or enjoying Black Friday shopping, or just going about their usual business, we were northbound on I-81, returning to Pennsylvania from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  That's a 14-hour drive for us, with stops to stretch, use the facilities, and stop for coffee.  Of course, lots of coffee. 

(Just an aside:  the "Welcome Centers" (aka rest stops) along I-81 in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia are welcoming indeed.  We've stopped at all of them, I think, in the 5 years we've been making that trip.  They are comfortable, clean, decorated for the holidays, and just all-around pleasant places to stop.) 

But how can a day spent on the road be almost perfect?

We started off in good moods.  It's always hard to leave the grandparents after a too-short visit, but we were also ready to get home.  Our first-ever artificial tree is waiting to be decorated.  Our dog is waiting to be picked up at the kennel.  We have things to do at home.

We had Christmas music.  A mix of secular pop music tunes, Christian carols, some Freddy Clarke guitar,  and bits of Handl's Messiah.  All that was missing was Nutcracker.  I put the mp3 player on random play, and let it go.  I admit it can be a bit jarring to go from one of the solos from Messiah right into "Blue Christmas," but... it worked.

We had a Christmas story:  Jim Dale's reading of A Christmas Carol.  We've been reading this book together for years, and this time went with a new reader instead of Dad or Mom.  It was so good, and took up three hours of our time!

We found a great place for a quick, cheap, road dinner:  Sheetz gasoline and convenience store.  We felt a little guilty loving it so much, being the Wawa fans we are, but as far as I know, Wawa doesn't serve pizza by the slice, which is what half of our number were craving.  My BLT was perfect, and I hear the pulled pork sandwich is pretty good too.  About $15 and change, and we were fortified for the rest of the drive home.

I won't say the trip went quickly, because 14-hour drives just don't.  But it went as well as it could. We're safely, happily home, and in the Christmas spirit!

How about you?

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