February 19, 2009

Road Trip Memories - Middle of Nowhere

My family loved road trip vacations. We would drive to Omaha, Nebraska to visit my father's family or Breckenridge, Colorado to go skiing or Denton, Florida to sit on the beach. No matter how long the trip, we drove. And like any family, we had mishaps. But the funniest was at a middle of nowhere gas station off the interstate.

Separated by four lanes of speeding traffic was an Arby's and a gas station. My mom and sister were hungry so my dad dropped them off to get a bite to eat while he and I went to the gas station. He started fueling up the car and then I followed him inside to use the bathroom. A few minutes later I came out and saw a station full of truckers, but no dad. Toothless smiles and ballcaps everywhere, but no dad. I went outside but no dad. And no car.

My dad forgot me at the gas station!

Don't panic, I thought. You mother is at Arby's so he'll probably go there. I decided the quickest way to find my family and not be left in the middle of nowhere was to run across the four lanes of traffic to the restaurant. Not my smartest decision but I really didn't want to wait around with the sketchy looking truckers for my dear old dad to remember me. I could see my mother coming out of Arby's and so with all the speed I could muster, I ran.

Only later did she tell me she was screaming at me the whole time to go back. When my dad had shown up without me, she promptly started screaming at him and had sent him back to the gas station to find me. While I was running across the highway, he was looking for me. When I couldn't be found, he told me his first thought was, "My wife is going to kill me." Meanwhile, I had made it alive to the Arby's parking lot where my mother, sister and I all burst out laughing.

For years to come when I would tell people how my dad forgot me at a gas station, he would teasingly correct me, "I didn't forget you. I left you. You just found your way back."

Arg! Leave me again and see what happens, Daddy-O!

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