An obscure sky hung clouds in the distance out the windshield of our car…a good Midwestern thunderstorm. The lightning flickered and rain came in a downpour like the dumping of old feed buckets. This was the only bad part of our family trip a few summers ago.
My dad, mom and I all packed in the car and drove across what felt like the globe, from Washington State to Missouri. We stopped along the way to visit several major landmarks such as Custer’s Last Stand, Mount Rushmore, and the Oklahoma City Memorial. I stood in silence and amazement seeing the lit chairs lining the grass, each representing someone lost in the bombing. It was incredible and definitely a tear-jerker. Having this tangible view of history is something I could never have gotten from a textbook or picture. Stopping along the way I experienced a hands on tour that I learned more from and will stick with me better than an in-class lesson which is something that worked out well. But we continued on our way to the planned destination.
After several days of driving we had made it into Monett, the little town where my mom grew up to visit family for a reunion. Seeing family was a very significant event for me. At the reunion I was able to see cousins I never knew, and connect with people that I saw when I was much younger. But I will never forget this trip for one reason: as I was walking towards a large wall next to the lot of grass the event was held on I stopped… I stopped to see my grandpa sitting next to my wheelchair bound Aunt Ruth for what might have been the last time. Things like this make you appreciate your family and good memories. After the reunion was over we headed into a much larger town and a famous one too, Saint Louis. Yes, that’s Cardinal heaven. Of course while we were there we saw the world from a different perspective…630 feet in the air from the Gateway Arch. Quite incredible seeing Busch Stadium from that high up. Traveling is like a whole different world; it gets you out of your comfort zone and pushes you to experience new things. Our family road trip to Missouri meant a lot to me because I was able to see first-hand other parts of the world and actually understand those pieces rather than a story or picture. Family is really important in life to have that support, so traveling to see them really made a connection that I will remember through life. I definitely will be returning to the Midwest to again visit family, this trip changed me in that I will remember how important it is to get out there and see new things but never forget your family roots.
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