It was time to load up the car and head to grandma’s for Thanksgiving. The annual trek was anticipated by most, dreaded by some … well, one. Dad was not looking forward to the ten hour drive. He wasn’t crazy about having to play referee with his five kids either. They could argue and fuss over anything. The inevitable barking would begin soon after they pulled out of the driveway.
“Mom, she’s touching me!!”
“Dad, please lower the windows. Jimmy did it again!”
“That’s my seat! I always sit there.”
“I don’t want your germs; don’t breathe on me. In fact, don’t breathe!”
What’s not to like about the close family space, the intimate claustrophobia in the 10 year-old van? Mom tried reason, she tried compromise, she tried threats. You’ve heard it all, right?
“At our next stop, you can get a window seat.”
“Can’t we all just get along?”
“If you don’t quit this racket, we’re going to turn this car around!’
“If you don’t stop that crying, I’ll come back there and give you all something to really cry about!”
Insert your favorite: ____________________________________________________________
Then there was the whole issue of music. Everybody brought their own. Each one had his or her earphones or plugs but the volume was so loud, you could hear every sound from every device.
Before this trip, Dad had laid down the law. Everybody could bring a CD that could be played through the car sound system. You could choose 45 minutes of your music, and then it would be someone else’s turn. They would draw straws to see who would go first. Dad thought it was a brilliant plan and congratulated himself for his ingenuity. Mom agreed with her husband: “If we have to listen to what they like, they will have to listen to what we like.” Everyone has to be respectful of the various choices or they would lose their turn. Mom would provide volume control so nobody’s ears would bleed.
The trip began in relative calm. Before they were out of the driveway, the first CD blared away. Dad’s turn was fifth in order. When #4 was blessedly over, Dad inserted his CD. At first, there was concern that something was wrong with the CD player. Then Dad explained. For his 45-minute choice of music, he had selected silence. No music, no singing, no instruments, no nothing … and the kids had to sit there and listen. This trip was not going to be so bad after all.