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Traveling with Lucille

Husband Allen and I made a road trip.  1290 miles, to and from Washington, DC, plus a few detours.  Some intentional, some not.  Just Allen, me, and Lucille.  Lucille was a helpful companion.  However, there were few breakdowns in communication, and we became frustrated with her.  Probably not as frustrated as she with us, yet Lucille never raised her voice.

Allen drove.  Lucille directed.  I tried to interpret Lucille’s directions or I stayed quiet.  (Many years ago, Mother told me that there are times when a wife can best help by being still and quiet.)  As we left Arlington National Cemetery, Lucille said that our hotel destination in Alexandria was 5.2 miles away.

Lucille:  On the round about, right turn at the second exit.  Three lanes of traffic swirled around a statue. “This one, right?”  Allen asked.  We’d just passed a street.  Did it say one way – no exit?  There wasn’t time to discuss if the upcoming street was the first or second exit.  We drove across the Arlington Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River and straight toward the Lincoln Memorial.

Lucille:  Keep right.  Continue on for four tenths of a mile then left turn.  A second crossing on the Arlington Bridge, in the opposite direction.  It was 6:00 p.m. Sunday.  Allen maneuvered our van across four lanes of traffic and made the turn.  Destination 7.4 miles.

Lucille: Slight left merge onto South Washington Boulevard.  Then an immediate right. “This left?”  Allen asked.  I agreed.  We were obviously on a side street.  Two cars, no tour buses.  Destination 8.6 miles.

Lucille:  In two tenths of a mile, left turn.  We passed the Imo Jima Memorial.  Allen had spotted it on a map before we left Arlington Cemetery and said that he’d like to see it, but we wouldn’t be driving close by.  I didn’t tell him that the memorial is impressive.  Destination 9.5 miles.

Lucille:  In one tenth of a mile, turn right.  We drove over heavy metal plates, the kind that’s used when a road is being repaired.  “This is no fun,” Allen said in short controlled syllables.  I agreed and said that Lucille would eventually get us to Alexandria.  “When?  Tomorrow?”  Allen asked as he turned the steering wheel.

Lucille:  Right turn ahead.  Then in eight tenths of a mile veer left onto George Washington Memorial Parkway.  Destination 9.1 miles.  At last, we were headed in the right direction.

Lucille:  Continue on George Washington Parkway.  “Which lane should we get in?”  Allen asked.  I waited for Lucille’s answer.  Surely she knew we were in the middle of five lanes of heavy traffic, traveling 70 miles per hour.  A few more turns, and finally, we heard the long-awaited announcement.

            Lucille: You have arrived at your destination.  I’m thankful Lucille traveled with us.  But she didn’t see the sights around the National Mall or the White House.  She rested inside our van in the hotel parking lot for a few days while Allen and I rode the Metro and the Hop On-Hop Off Trolley in our nation’s capital.  I don’t think Lucille would have liked the road construction detours or the one-way streets.


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