As Joshua mentioned on his blog this morning, very early Thursday morning he and I will embark upon a long road trip.
On Thursday, we will drive nonstop from early morning until late at night from Minneapolis to Oklahoma in order to attend the Friday night high school graduation of Josh’s sister.
On Saturday, we will drive nonstop from early morning until late at night from Oklahoma to Denver in order to help my brother prepare for his move back home in July.
On Tuesday, we will drive nonstop from early morning until late at night from Denver back to Minneapolis.
The first leg of our journey will be almost 800 miles, the second leg will be over 600 miles, and the final leg will be over 900 miles. Virtually all of our journey will be on interstate highways, happily, but it will be a very long program of nonstop driving.
En route to each destination, we will stop only to replenish fuel. We will take our own food with us so that we do not have to stop and eat along the way. We decided tonight what foods to take with us, foods we can eat in the car without leaving a trail of crumbs.
We will get the foods together Wednesday night, and put everything in a cooler, ready to be picked up and placed in the car early Thursday morning: tuna salad sandwiches with cucumber on whole wheat bread, chicken salad sandwiches with cucumber on rye bread, roast beef sandwiches with Swiss cheese and green pepper on onion rolls, ham sandwiches with Swiss cheese and radish on potato rolls, and salmon sandwiches with red onion on English muffins; cucumber slices, carrot sticks, celery sticks and radishes; apples and pears and boxes of raisins; oatmeal raisin cookies; individual servings of apple juice, cranberry juice and apple-cranberry juice; and thermoses of milk and coffee.
My mother is going to help us, because she will bake the oatmeal raisin cookies on Wednesday afternoon. She will bake a pot roast and a small ham on Wednesday afternoon, too, and she will bring those items over to us on Wednesday night, when we will all have dinner together. Josh and I will boil chicken pieces and grill tuna steaks and poach salmon that night, and between the pot roast, the ham, the boiled chicken, the grilled tuna and the poached salmon, all of us can eat a little of anything or everything for Wednesday night’s dinner. After dinner, we will prepare the sandwiches for the road trip and send the remainder of the food home with my parents, who will have their Thursday night dinner virtually ready for them a day in advance.
My parents only have to worry about food for Thursday, because on Friday morning they will go to New York to visit my older brother and his family over the Memorial Day weekend.
Tonight Josh and I selected the music we will listen to during our road trip. Josh said that he wanted to listen to three operas—operas he has never heard, operas completely new to him, but nevertheless mainstream operas that every civilized person should know—but he also stipulated that the operas had to feature “great, great, great” music, be “immediately appealing”, and be assured of sustaining his interest for the length of the drama over repeated listens.
That’s a tall order, which seemed to eliminate just about everything, but we settled upon Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”, Beethoven’s “Fidelio” and Weber’s “Der Freischutz”. Consequently, on Wednesday night my parents, in addition to the pot roast and the ham, will bring over Otto Klemperer’s recordings of the Mozart and the Beethoven, and Joseph Keilberth’s recording of the Weber. If Josh dislikes all three of these works, I will be immensely surprised—and I will be forced to entertain him with my Jimmy Stewart impersonations.
Josh and I did not have any notably good or original ideas what to present to his sister for a graduation gift, so we had asked her what she would most like from us. She told us that what she would most like would be to go somewhere this summer, before college, and to go somewhere interesting—I do not think she found the family baseball road trip last summer to be her ideal version of a vacation—and that her parents had agreed to allow her to go somewhere this summer as long as she was accompanied by Josh and me. (Apparently her and Josh’s parents suffer under the grave misapprehension that Joshua and I are responsible individuals. Wherever did they get such an absurd notion?)
Josh’s sister knows that he and I are considering going somewhere in July and/or August, and she wants to come with us if the destination interests her. If our chosen destination does not interest her, she wants us to take her to New York for a few days before school starts.
Our gift to her, accordingly, is a summer trip, final destination yet to be determined. However, we also have another gift to present to her in person on Friday to mark her very special occasion.
My mother will be busy with some of her own gifts, too. She told us tonight that she will bake zucchini bread and lemon poppy seed bread on Wednesday for us to drop off in Oklahoma and Denver (my mother’s zucchini bread, made with lots of walnuts and raisins, and lemon poppy seed bread are to die for).
She also mentioned that someone in Denver will be eating chocolate whiskey cake very, very soon (I have literally no idea whom she’s talking about).
My mother’s chocolate whiskey cake is made from the very darkest, very richest chocolate, and it is divine.
I just hope Josh and I don’t lose all discipline and self-control, and eat the chocolate whiskey cake ourselves en route!