Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Of Turkeys and Traffic

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we’re flung far and wide this year, people on the move. We’re the stay at home people whereas my parents are the flung-far people. Here at Chez Barbieri we are hosting Jim’s side of the family, which makes us a nice, even dozen. Fortunately, that number represents the maximum occupancy capacity in the house and in particular, around the dining room table, so just one more person and we’d find ourselves elbow to elbow while enjoying my brined turkey.

Mom and Dad have headed south to see my sister who lives in Georgia. In typical Mom/Dad style, they planned on leaving for the South at six in the morning to “beat the traffic” but decided, after a spirited discussion at two in the morning that they would leave then. When my mother called me at two o’clock in the afternoon on the day they were supposed to arrive at my sister’s (their original e.t.d. had them arriving around dinner time) and told me that they were fifteen minutes from her house, I was surprised. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Didn’t you leave at six this morning? Doesn’t it take thirteen hours to get there? (I had visions of my father doing 120 miles per hour down 95 and was wondering how they were still alive. I’m bad at math, as we all know, but even I can figure out that the trip not taking thirteen hours means that they were traveling at very high speeds.)

Mom: Well, Dad got up in the middle of the night and I was watching television so we just decided to leave then. Oh, and by the way, we were supposed to start back the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, but we’re going to leave the Saturday after Thanksgiving instead. You know, to beat the traffic.

Me (incredulously): You haven’t even arrived at your original destination, but you’re already talking about when you’re coming home?

Mom (through gales of hysterical laughter): We’re old! That’s what old people do!

Newsflash: they’re not old. And they shouldn’t be doing what old people do. They’ve got at least ten years before they need to start doing that. But it provided us some good laughs when Mom realized that indeed, they are mostly retired and have nothing to rush back here for. We’ll be eating leftovers for weeks, so surely they’re not anxious to get back to have dinner at our house.

Now, I’ve taken a poll and apparently, many people of retirement age are alternately fascinated and horrified by traffic and will do anything they can to avoid it. A friend’s father begins his trek from Florida at nine at night and drives until he hits…you guessed it…traffic. Only then will he stop to eat and/or go to the bathroom.

I’m thrilled that we’re staying home because the only traffic I will have to contend with will be the backup at the bathroom door as several Barbieri’s attempt to shower and look presentable for the day in the only bathroom with a shower. I’m absolutely positive that “bathroom rage” will ensue. But there is no way that I’m getting up any earlier to “beat the traffic.” I’ll just wait at the back of the line until I see a break in the action and then I’ll make my move. Just like any good driver.

Happy thanksgiving, Stiletto faithful.

Maggie Barbieri


  1. Loved this post. We older folks are odd, aren't we? Hubby and I only drive in the daytime and as early as possible when it's someplace out of town--I mean really out of town, since we both drive to Porterville, 17 miles away, day or night.

    My dad always got us up around 3 or 4 for any trip we went on, but I think in his case it was because he couldn't sleep and was too anxious to get on the road.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


  2. I loved it my family, my mopther and her husband, would want to be here at the crack of dawn to eat at noon. Then they can get back on the road (96 miles) to get home to avoid the traffic and the dark. My sister's family would be behind, I fall into the procrastination category never ready to roll on time. I tend to put the petal to the metal and fly down the highway with the rest of the idiots. I drive 25 miles one way to work everyday so it doesn't bother me to drive distances. I've gotten very good at driving to and from Fort Hood (165 miles each way) and even on down to San Antonio about 300 plus miles one way.But I hear people say oh I hate driving in Dallas or Tyler and I think give me the freeways and wide open road over these farm roads where they think even if it says 70 they shoudl do 45.

  3. Great blog post Maggie! Reminds me of my grandparents when I was young. They always said they had to get home in time to feed the cows. This was even when they didn't have cows anymore. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    aka the Southern Half of Evelyn David

  4. Hope everyone enjoys their turkey, tofurkey, salmon, salsa, or whatever tomorrow! Have fun being with your fams and try to avoid the traffic. ;-)

    Big hugs,

  5. Maggie, love your post and how true..we were travelers and never thought about off and going 100's of miles from home now that times we lose sleep over just thinking of a drive less than 100 miles from home. Newsflash..since you are the cook..the bathroom should be given to you first so you should not need to wait in the back of the line. ha ha Happy Thanksgiving to all. susan L.

  6. Lovee the post. Your Mom is by far one of my all time favorite people, she makes me laugh just like you do...and I'm not at all surprised they left at 2am.

    My family will be leaving at exactly 8am tomorrow to avoid traffic. Believe it or not it always works! As much as I hate waking up early it's wayy better then traffic.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!!