Kathy Riordan

Kathy Riordan
Florida, United States
April 27
One woman's view of life and the universe. Follow @katriord on Twitter.


Kathy Riordan's Links

Poetry, if you like that sort of thing
Some great stuff around here
Where I've Been, Where I'm Going
What I Can't Write About
Twitter Is What You Make It
Articles on World War II
Some of my work on Iran
A little about me
I also write here
JUNE 21, 2011 7:29AM

A Single Step

Rate: 34 Flag

I'm doing something this week I never expected to do in my lifetime: driving cross-country alone. . .well, not alone exactly. . .with a dog and a bird. If that sounds like a circus train that derailed somewhere back apiece, well, it is. And it did.

It's not like I haven't made this trip before, but for the last eighteen years I've made it, usually twice a year, with the husband whose loss we're all mourning, soulmate, co-pilot, and in recent years, navigator. That hole we face daily is still big enough to jump through and dangles in front of us as we wander forward.

I feel more than a little guilty for ever indulging a thought I couldn't do this, when I had ancestors who walked the plains. I get a ribbon of Interstates and a hundred Cracker Barrels, more or less, their white rockers waiting for well placed bottoms, jet trails in the sky, pecan stands and peaches, Jack and Diane.

It seems like such a small thing when Ashley can't stop thinking of Bentley and the guy on extreme weight loss can minus 315 lbs in a year when his lamppost used to leave him breathless. 'I'd like to see Maureen Dowd doing it,' I think as I'm reminded not to stand on wet tile as I use the hairdryer stuck in the wall, already far too precariously near the vanity sink. Just as well this is a handicapped room, no young squaw affianced to a French trader, no Rendezvous on the horizon.

Three things are needful: red licorice, teriyaki jerky and cold water. On these we can survive, hoping we don't break down in Memphis and have to take to the streets, sing for our supper, or dance with a twister. A girl could go gray waiting for the help that never comes, no Valjean to lift the wagon, no bishop offering candlesticks, and finally it becomes self-evident we are our own ringleaders, no whips to crack, fingers to snap.


My dad put the gypsy in me long ago, sandwiched in sleeping bags in the back of a station wagon. I'm reminded my husband made this journey alone once, stopping at Weeki Wachee and Cafe Risqué, something about mermaids.


Whoever said the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step should be shot.


I've got this.


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"driving cross-country alone. . .well, not alone exactly. . .with a dog and a bird."

Heck, you could start a Circus with that alone!! :D

Good luck and remember, Rest Areas can be fun or a disaster waiting...:D


I'd Tink Pick ya too, but I don't feel like logging into Facebook!! So we'll just pretend....TINK PICKED!! :D
Drive with care and stop along the way. Will you stop in New Mexico? I am going to Santa Fe, one of our mutual favorite cities, to visit my bestie of forty six years this weekend. We are going to cruise the plaza like we did when we were teenagers and have a nice lunch at The Shed then do a little shopping at Doodlet's. My friend is a professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts and I look forward to a grand tour of the campus including a stop at their new digital dome. Bon voyage!
I think you will be fine. I like road trips also. They are great fun and you see so much more than if you fly. Good luck on your vacation and have fun.
Lovely...and travel so well...thanks for displaying the strength you have here. Bless you. R.
I have no doubt you are equal to the rask ... in all respects; physically, mentally and emotionally. Your greatest asset is your ability (and willingness) to grow. Keep your wheels on the pavement and your eyes on the road; the rest will tkae care of itself. Have a great jouney! Stay safe!

Yes, indeed. You got it. You and your co-pilots will conquer the road, and Larry watches over...

“I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.”
~Jack Kerouac
P.S. Cafe Risque? Holy smokes! I hear the steaks are good...
Yep! You've got it! Go Kathy!

I love a road trip and if I'm travelling alone, I sing. Out loud. REALLY, REALLY LOUD! Nothing like letting loose when no-one else can see or hear!

Have FUN! : )
I am jealousing! I've always wanted to do this, but it looks as if this is not the summer. Keep us posted and drive carefully.
At least with two pets for companions, nobody breaks out into show tunes as in "When Harry Met Sally."
I've done several such trips alone (different routes). They were tremendous experiences. But one does have to be ready for the unknown, which can include the good and the bad. Ask your husband's spirit to come along for the ride. And keep your eyes and mind open. Good luck and happy trails.
It's often about the journeying rather than the destination, isn't it? The cultural references--pop and "high"--are witty yet just right, and the self-deprecating humor that issues finally into the confident "I've got this" is arresting. Hope your journey is without incident--at least of the untoward kind.
I bet your husband will be watching out for you along the way. There will be little things you notice that he would have wanted you to have.
Kathy, I do a cross country trip every year but in a bus. I wish I was there with you because it would be fun.
We could do a duet in Memphis.
be careful and sending huge hugs
Good luck on this journey, but I don't think you need it, you are a strong and capable woman. If, at some point in your travels, you find yourself near Doniphan, Mo. (just outside Poplar Bluff) you better stop by and sit on my front porch and share a cup of coffee with me and Mel.
I have a good feeling about this trip. You know what else is good to take along with the red licorice? The Collected Works of David Sedaris on cd, himself reading.
Don't forget your AARP Card and your pistol.
Travel safe Kathy, I know this will be a tough one, and probably one you will always remember. Take care.
Well, I am nobody, but I am proud of you! Be safe and have a good journey.
Modern version of "Travels with Charlie!" This sounds wonderful, soul searching, adventurous and exciting as all get out! You go girl and keep us posted on your journey, please! Marvelous to be heading out on the open road this summer. Delicious! Hope the bird doesn't get car sick.
And your beloved will be there to guide you and cheer you on. Applaud you for keeping true to the tradition you shared and for the drive in your belly that urges you on. And on.
very nice piece of writing, kathy.
i recommend a gps thingy, like tomtom or garvin.
Safe travels, Kathy, and I think this trip will provide you with plenty of writing material. Enjoy!
Crossing south to north? east to west??
I can imagine this will be so different for you without the Navigator, I'm guessing you'll feel him in familiar spots along the way...I hope so if that would be comforting.
Safe journeys! Enjoy the sights along the way...I tend to love my fellow Americans the most when I'm on the road, we are all mostly really good folks out here : )
I love driving this country alone.....my cooler next me, munch, munch, look at that!!! have fun......
You do got this girl! Might I add just one more thing to your list of red licorice, teriyaki jerky and cold water? AAA. Now you're golden!
There are so many folks who wish you could swing their way..me included. A traveling history lesson and stream of consciousness never hurt anyone...unless they fed the bears in Yellowstone.
There is no doubt that you can do this.
Kathy, this is gorgeous...I just went across country for the first time, period. It was not what I expected, but I had no expectations. I should have probably known that without my very heart sitting next to me, the results would be mixed. Next, Tibet. Not alone. With love around me. I wish you the best of adventures on this trip, Kathy. You are a courageous soul, a force to be reckoned with. xox
Nothing finer then a great American roadtrip. Every experience becomes a grand memory. Godspeed.
An adventure often does a person so much good. I wish you luck and happy and safe travels.
Have fun, Kathy! A dog and a bird sound like great company. Bring your Ipod too if you have one.
I wish you a safe journey with every good thing for you on the way. r
I'm jealous! I want to go on a road trip so badly. I hope you have a good time. Be safe.
Kathy, I'm sure you have mapped out the whole thing, including where you'll sleep with dog and bird. Agree with all the comments that Navigator will be with you. And I hope you feel that. R WO
A safe trip to you. I hope to read more.