After becoming an empty nester, the tendency to pack up and go often gets the best of me, and since I depend on no one but myself for my travel planning, my vacation style tends to be secretive until my return. (In truth, how often are others excited by vacations other than their own?) And on this particular western excursion, I keep my destination entirely to myself and relish in the prospect that my get-away fits its definition perfectly, and the isolation of my drive rewards my furtiveness. While waiting in the Salt
Lake City airport for my flight home, I place a quick phone call to share my vacation highlights with my father. His reaction? He muses about an unfortunate incident on US Highway 50 years before my birth, “Did you go through Fallon? I once bought a tank of gas there in 1957 and it was god-awful.” Why, yes, Dad, my vacation is absolutely lovely, thanks for asking.
I often say that I have three regrets in life and they have taught me my three greatest life lessons. Life lesson number two: only include those people in the best moments of your life who will enhance the moment, not minimize it. More than a decade and a half ago my moment of regret continues to teach me a lesson I cannot learn often enough. My parents notoriously and unknowingly dash my moments of victory and excitement with the tunnel vision of their own lives. Nevertheless, my secretive solo adventure across the desolation of Central Nevada ranks among the most inspiring drives and the keynote speech by Barbara Walters continues to give me words of inspiration. And my prized trophy still sits in a place of honor in my home, regardless of my parents’ patterned perceptions.