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!

22 thoughts on “Traveling in a Pack

    • Thanks for the compliment! That’s what I worry about, too. It’s bad enough that they don’t really believe guns kill people, without believing that car crashes don’t kill people, too. Some would say our generation should be just as careless, thanks to hours of cartoons. But maybe there’s a difference between merely watching and being the controller??

  1. My boy has a very heavy foot. My only consolation is he’s a really good driver and pays very close attention to the road because he loves to drive. BUT that doesn’t mean I like it and I am constantly reminding him to slow down. Tickets and insurance worry him more than accidents and police. I also remind him on occasion that if anything happened to him my life would be over–truthful guilt. We’ll take all the prayers we can get.
    Chicago was plenty full thank you very much so I am sure some of those drivers had to be coming from some place else :-D. My in-laws did say they trek back from the Indiana Dunes on Sunday was very long tho….glad we were home sweet home.
    Hope you enjoyed your visit–short as it was with your favorite Domer.

    • Kb, I understand heavy foot (I inherited one from my dad, who taught me to drive). However, it’s not just speed that causes crashes — it’s unpredictable actions, road rage, one-upmanship, and stuff like that. You’re a wise mom to let Cole know he holds your heart!
      Maybe it wasn’t entirely Chicago traffic, but most of the ones I saw had IL plates and were heading to downstate universities. Every so often, I saw out-of-state plates, so obviously those were holiday travelers “Turkeying” with relatives or friends here.
      Yes, it was wonderful having Domer home, even though it was too short!

  2. Holiday traffic is terrible these days…I try to stay home if possible!
    Yes, there are some crazy drivers out there!
    Glad you had safe travels.

  3. Someone should teach the adults, too. The terrible Thanksgiving accident was just up the road from me – the 175 cars that piled up in the fog on I-10. Two dead, eight still critical, about fifty injured significantly.

    December is our fog season, especially overnight and early morning. It can come so quickly and yet people still drive through the stuff at 60 and 70 miles an hour. I love fog, but I won’t drive in it unless I just get caught. You can’t even pull off alongside the road, because you’re still at risk of being smooshed.

    Preventive beats curative every time – even in driving.

    • I remember the fog from when I lived along the Miss. Gulf Coast. It’s often as thick as soup and comes up real fast. I didn’t realize you lived right in the neighborhood of that pileup — such an avoidable tragedy. Fog is what makes driving along coastal area such a challenge, and you’re right — not even pulling over to the side of the road can prevent you from getting hit. Usually, it’s best to wait until the stuff burns off before starting your trip!

  4. Ugh, kids and cars are scary.

    The biggest mistake anyone ever made was associating the phrase lost control with a traffic accident. No one loses control of their car, they give up control. Enough preaching, let’s talk band.

    They were allowed a pep band for soccer? My son volunteered to play in one freshman year, the refs made them leave, league rules.

  5. You’re so right about “losing control.” When I was in journalism, we were trained to say “a car driven by so-and-so ran into a house” or whatever, never that the driver ran into the house with the car. Ah, the things we had to do to protect the guilty!

    Yes, it was the NCAA men’s soccer championship (the Irish lost). Domer said there were all kinds of rules as to when they could play and what songs.This is actually his first year doing pep band for soccer (he regularly plays for basketball and hockey). What’s up with the Pack firing their head football coach??

  6. Debbie, driving is no fun under the best of circumstances. Add to that a holiday, restless teens who think they are invincible and a society always in a hurry to get somewhere and you really get jangled nerves. So happy you had safe travels despite all the challenges!

    • Thanks, Kathy, I know you know what I mean, having kids of your own! The jangled nerves are something I could sure do without, though. And I get to do it all over again, come Christmas break, ha!

  7. Holidays. Holiday traffic. The highways are the most dangerous places we encounter. Always deserves a prayer for safety.

    • You’re so right, Barb. I guess it’s human nature to wait until the last minute before getting on the road. We all want to prolong the holidays as much as possible. Still, getting to our destination safely should move higher on the priority list, don’t you think?

    • Do you mean we just missed each other??! Shoot, if I’d have stuck around until dark, we could have met up for a hot chocolate! Oh, well, maybe next time — glad you got home safely, too!

    • Glad you like my photo. I fear it doesn’t do them justice (it’s such a HUGE band!), but I took it when I was up for a football game. Your daughter will love being in college band — no fundraising, lots of camaraderie, lifelong friends. I was in band throughout college, too, and it was so memorable!

  8. The holiday traffic doesn’t sound fun. Here, idiots come in all ages (it’s surprising how many older folks (60+) exhibit road rage. At any rate, it is always a blessing when you reach your destination safely and don’t hear news about those who didn’t!

    • Thanks, Janna, I hadn’t even thought about the older folks driving crazy! I suppose most of them in my area stayed home and let the kids come to them. Why? Who knows, especially when they’d have to pace the floor worrying whether the kids arrived safely. Always glad to have you visit and comment!

  9. I think we can teach kids all we can, but they still have to come to some realizations on their own. I’m glad you made it back home safely and that your fellow travelers did as well.

    • It’s a blessing, Terri. As you know, with your kids scattered hither and yon, a parent can hardly help but worry when they’re traveling. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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