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!

Back to Notre Dame

I just got back from re-settling My Favorite Domer in his dorm at Notre Dame, and I’ve got to say — whew, what a harrowing trip!

Having not traveled over the Thanksgiving holidays for many moons, I’d forgotten how nightmarish traffic can be. It was literally bumper-to-bumper — cars, semis, big SUVs, big manly trucks, people dragging stuff, people moving stuff in U-Hauls, people with stuff stacked atop their vehicles — all flying down the interstates in an effort to get someplace.

Don’t they realize they’re jeopardizing not only other drivers but also themselves??

Topping it off, permacloud was back, this time with a driving rain. So let’s see — we’ve got slick roadways, early darkness, deer cautionary signs, people weaving in and out as they seek to find the “fast lane,” people jamming on brakes so they won’t go careening into the “slowpoke” in front of them, people hungry and tired and angry — gee, sounds like a recipe for disaster to me!

When we got to campus (which, by the way, seemed eerily quiet and vacant!), we noticed a huge evergreen completely covered with tiny white lights outside Hammes Bookstore. It was breath-taking! There’s another one covered with multi-colored lights over near the Basilica. And the individual dorms, not to be outdone, are putting up decorations as well, so it won’t be long before campus will be spectacular.

Rather than just drop MFD off and run, I decided to get a hotel room for the night. I’m glad I did.

It was so much easier traveling early on a Monday morning in clear conditions! And, it gave me another chance to spend some quality time with MFD.

You know, when your kids are little, you think the diapers and colic and nighttime feedings, etc. will never end. Then you blink your eyes, and your kid is off to college. I guess that’s why everybody always told me to enjoy every minute with my son.

I have, and I continue to do so!