Finally, I departed on my road trip to Texas, which I began planning ten years ago. When I was a kid, my whacko mother told me that I had a half-sister, but she died of MS. In late 2005, I discovered on Ancestry.com that my sister was alive and well in Texas, and I made plans to meet her the next summer. However, a month before my trip, my son David was stabbed to death in a botched attempt to steal his laptop computer. Everything in my life changed after that, and it would be ten years before I got my shit together and set out on my road trip to Texas.
I left California a week ago today. The trip was uneventful until I reached the Texas state line. Minutes after I crossed over, a big rig in front of me blew a tire and showered small pieces of rubber on the hood and roof of my Toyota. A half-hour later, another big rig swerved onto the shoulder of the highway and ran over a huge tire, sending it flying up in the air, and as I watched it come down, I hit the brakes, hoping it wouldn’t crash through my windshield. The tire landed on the road in front of me, thudded a few times on the underside of the car, and I stopped at a gas station to gather my bearings. After a few deep breaths, I filled the gas tank, bought a coke, and paid with my credit card—which was declined! After an irate call to the bank and a 15-minute delay arguing, my card was reactivated and I got back on the road. Minutes later, I came upon a head-on collision with fatalities, which had happened about 15 minutes earlier. All of a sudden, I was grateful that I was delayed at the gas station.
And so, after a four-day drive with overnight stops in Needles, Albuquerque, and Abilene to accommodate my senior cat who howled nearly every minute of the drive and drove me nuts, I’ve arrived in Bryan, Texas. I’ve met my sister, Joan, her husband, David, and her youngest son, AJ. They are wonderful people, and I’m grateful I discovered them. It wouldn’t have happened without the Internet.
I plan to stay in Texas a month or two, and I brought my desktop computer, a monitor, and a stack of files for a “working vacation,” since I have several editing projects I need to finish for clients. I also plan to publish an updated version of “Elements of Style Classic Edition,” with new chapters on frequently misused words and modern punctuation rules.
Life can only stop us in our tracks for as long as we allow it. It took me ten years to pick up where I left off and set out on my trip to Texas. I’m determined to make the next ten years happy and productive ones.