December 20, 2022

From Gerald R. Lucas

The Return

I stepped in the door at about 17:00—nearly twelve hours after leaving Cincinnati this morning. It seemed as if most of that time was spent on just the last 100 miles: getting through Atlanta might have been worse than when I drove up on Saturday. Thank goodness the express lane was open south of Atlanta, or it would have been another hour. I felt like a piece of gum on the bottom of a shoe.

After our rest last night, Tim and I met Gail and Mom at LaRosa’s for dinner. I was pretty excited to have their pizza, since it’s always been a favorite of mine. It complete that holy trinity of Cincinnati food: Skyline, Graeter’s, and LaRosa’s.

The pizza was not as good as I remember it. In fact, the Cassano’s we had last summer blows this pizza away. That said, it was still tasty. We had a pleasant meal until the end, when Tim, Gail, and I started talking about Mom visiting next year. I started it by saying that she has a new grandson coming in April, so she might consider a visit to meet him and help out a bit. She immediately becomes the frightened tortoise and retreats into her shell. She starts giving us excuses and immediately silences the table. Tim later called it a “defeatist attitude,” but to me, it seems like a retreat to death—one she’s been making for years now. I’m not sure if there’s anything to be done. Tim remarked on Gail’s patience; he’s right, I probably would have kicked her out a long time ago.

So the evening ended with a bit of a downer. I walked her to the car, and she was sobbing a bit as I helped her in. I know she wants to spend time with us, but at the same time she doesn’t. She rationally knows we’re her family, but cannot overcome the lizard-brain fear of being too far from her nest. Well, she will do what she wants to do.

Tim and I decided to try to beat the traffic, so we were on the road by 05:30. The drive was uneventful, really, much like the trip up. We stopped for charging a couple of times and had lunch in Knoxville. We apparently missed some snow flurries with our early departure, and after another stop at Buc-ee’s to charge and pick up some stocking stuffers, we were back at Tim’s by 14:30.

We probably should have stayed an extra day. I don’t know. I’m just never sure with Mom. My brother is difficult, too, but at least I felt as if we arrived at a kind of understanding on this trip. If that’s all that came out of it, I think time was well spent.

Now I’m going to sleep for the rest of the week.