Quality Time in the new millennium
El Grande thought the plane ride was the height of luxury, even though they flew coach/business class. The novelty was in the details. Being served a snack and drinks, having individual headphones to choose from the in-flight radio, and being able to use the airplane bathroom on his own all added up to a fun time in his book, which translates to "luxury" for a 14-year-old.
There were moments, such as getting stuck in traffic around Orlando, that slowed them down and could have been real downers. But somehow, the two of them turned them into part of the story, the lore of the trip.
El Grande, with his love of accents, told us of meeting up with an Australian in the elevator of the hotel in Tennessee. He told us how he and Dad bought and shared a box of their favorite Mike & Ikes, but half the box melted in the truck. He counted how many truckers honked the horn when he waved (trip total, 23) and how he swam in hotel pools and at the beach on the Gulf. He listened to country music, his favorite, through parts of Tennessee and Kentucky.
Husband was glad to have him along, even with the extra cost and occasional hassle. El Grande kept him company for the four day drive and even navigated, in the form of reading his Braille copy of the itinerary. They talked now and then about this and that, philosophical and trivial and just everyday things.
They didn't do many "tourist" type things. It was for the most part just a long, long drive. But the two of them most definitely enjoyed their time together, which is all anyone can ask. Fancy vacation? No. Quality time? You bet.
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