Traveling in a Pack

I think Chicago emptied out on Sunday afternoon.

The reason I say this is that the highways were excessively crowded then, just when I was trying to get back home.

You see, My Favorite Domer insisted he had to be back on campus by 1 p.m.

‘When they ask you specifically to be in the pep band for a soccer game,’ he told me, ‘well, you can’t say No.’


So I crawled out of bed at 5 o’clock — yes, Virginia, there’s such a thing as 5 in the morning! — got dressed, ate, and helped him load the car for our return to ND.

Campus was strangely quiet. Even the students who had to stick around over the Thanksgiving holiday were nowhere to be seen.

Perhaps they were sleeping late. Or watching TV or visiting in friends’ rooms.

After a quick lunch, I hugged Domer and got back in my car.

But I was far from lonely. Or alone.

The toll road was packed. So was I-65 in Indiana (read: parking lot!). So was I-57 in Illinois.

Everybody going somewhere.

Many of my fellow travelers were students. You could tell by the way they were traveling in packs, two or more to a vehicle, suitcases piled to the rooftop, college stickers affixed to their back windows.

And they were in a hurry. Sure, the state police were out in droves, pulling over traffic violators and writing tickets as fast as they could.

But these kids didn’t seem to care. They’d see an officer, slow down and act all nonchalant, then speed up again.

They were whipping from lane to lane, jockeying for position. They’d roar up behind me, cling to my rear bumper a while, then gun their motor and fly around me like I was standing still.

Frightening? Yes, definitely.

I found myself praying for them, that they’d reach their destination safely.

I’d want somebody praying for my son if he drove like that.

Which he doesn’t. Thankfully.

And maybe my prayers helped. I didn’t hear of any fiery crashes along the roads I was on yesterday, so I have to assume all is well.

But somebody really should be teaching these kids to drive more safely!