Big Country Little Car Tour: Day 2
I spent most of the day on interstates. I'd rather take blue highways all around, but in this part of the trip, I don't have time.
I did get to take the Bourbon Trail for an hour or so, though — miles of two-lane roads through rolling hills, minty white fences, and thoroughbreds. I used to dream of this part of the country as a little girl, the little girl who read the Black Stallion books over and over until the spines gave way (all of them, even the ones about the Black's second cousins in harness racing and gymkhana). I would put the Chariots of Fire LP on the stereo and "ride" a wing chair to victory in all three Triple Crown races, in my head. I knew everything about racing tack, diseases of the hoof, how to walk off a colic. By the age of ten, I'd already grown too tall to become a jockey, and I knew it, but I couldn't let go of it, that life I wanted to step into one day.
And of course I didn't. Of course my parents used to tease me on car trips by calling the horses we passed "gloofs" (an abbreviation of "glue factory"), and of course I had no sense of humor about it and annoyed the entire family with lectures on…I don't even know. Equine sensitivity. Of course they knew what I refused to, that Pippi Longstocking is only a story and you can't just put a horse in a boat, or keep him on the roof. No one just "has" a monkey.
The day's theme, evidently, was animals. I couldn't help noticing that raccoons of southern Ohio and Kentucky have a doomed romance with highways; I saw at least 20 after crossing the border from Pennsylvania. Roadkill is not a new concept for me — I come from New Jersey, after all — but there's something about the attitude of the carcasses that got to me a little. All of them lay slung over on their sides, jaws to the sky, paws over their faces, very much like a certain orange cat of my acquaintance who likes to nap in poses from Braveheart: The Musical.
Another book I read a gazillion times as a kid: Rascal. When I reread it, though, I always skipped the part where Sterling North released Rascal and said goodbye, that gorgeous, wretched moment when he sees Rascal, months later, and they recognize each other, but Rascal goes back into the woods, back into his real life. I jumped instead back to the beginning, to the part where I could still believe that I could have, could keep, a tree house and a baby raccoon.
So maybe the day's theme was not so much animals, but rather my childhood assumption that I would not have human friends when I became an adult.
Next stop: Murfreesboro, TN.
Tags: Big Country Little Car Tour orange cats Sterling North travel Vangelis