May 11, 2009
Mother's Day on the Freeway
My family loves sports, so it was fitting that my husband got me tickets to Saturday's Phillies baseball game for Mother's Day. My husband bought the tickets several months ago and to mark the special occasion, paid extra for seats with backs.
My kids and I spent the entire week planning the outing. The morning of the game, we filled our cooler with sandwiches, drinks, and special snacks. We were so eager to get to the game, in fact, that we left the house without our tickets. Thirty minutes down the road, my husband realized the error and we all returned home to retrieve the tickets from our kitchen counter.
The second time we pulled onto the expressway, we were greeted by every person in the universe, who also happened to be driving into Philadelphia at the exact time on the exact same two-lane freeway built in 1700. Construction delays, ramp closings, and the spectacle of a man urinating on the shoulder made the eight mile trip last THREE hours. By the time we pulled into the stadium parking lot, it was the top of the 8th inning. The crowd was beginning to trickle out of the stands.
"I won! I won!" I screamed, reaching into the almost empty snack bag. At the one hour and forty-five minute mark, it was decided that the last piece of licorice would go to the family member who correctly guessed the inning of our arrival.
My husband did a quick u-turn and got back onto the freeway.
"I'm sorry," he apologized to three hysterical kids. "Happy Mother's Day," he said in my direction.
I began to tear up, not because we missed the game, but because I missed what might be my only chance to sit in a stadium seat that can be accurately described as a chair.
In the end, my husband made it up to me by letting us eat our lunch at a dirty park in the middle of the city. We shared the picnic area with a middle-aged woman who had a fixed stare and a bloody piece of gauze taped to the middle of her forehead. I was in the process of asking the woman if she wanted a sandwich when another woman emerged from the bushes wearing slippers and a plastic rain poncho. Without a word, the duo linked arms and shuffled into a lane of oncoming traffic. We closed our eyes and braced for the inevitable. When we opened them a few seconds later, the pair was on the other side of the street and making their way into a McDonald's restaurant.
What did YOU do for Mother's Day?