Road Less Traveled

August 13, 1896
Penelope Sumter

Automobiles are slow; painfully, dreadfully, boringly, astoundingly, SLOW!!! Now that I got that out of the way, let me just say now and forever, I would much rather take a train for long trips. The only downside to trains is it does limit your immediate destinations, but so do gas stations.

Wilbur had it all planned out. He intended for us to run out of gasoline every so often and then spend half a day trying to locate a gasoline station. I cannot figure out how anyone expects such a fuel consuming machine will ever replace horses. When was the last time a horse ran out of gasoline? If they every really expect these things to catch on they will have to solve the fuel problem.

Our first stop was on the side of the road several miles from anywhere. I offered to stay and guard the automobile but Wilbur insisted I walk with him. Fortunately, it was only about a half hour before a nice man with a wagon came along and offered us a ride to town. Even better, they had just got a gasoline station at the local thrift. Wilbur took a horse back to the automobile. I still think we were lucky not to come back to an empty vehicle, but Wilbur has it all planned out and he is not taking advice this week.

Usually, I like spending time with him but right about now, he is reminding me far too much of James. I love James and all but he can be a royal pain in the ass, literally. Wilbur is supposed to be so much more relaxed and easy going, this whole adventure thing is right in keeping with that, but his grumpy attitude is not. I am guessing he is not happy about being sent away with me. I am not so foolish as to believe it is because of me he is unhappy. I know better, father has wrapped punishment in the guise of a gift and expected Wilbur to pretend not to notice.

I have not always thought this way, but perhaps exile is not the horrid punishment it seems. The separation from the past can open up new doorways to new opportunities. I think Wilbur might just find that the distance is what he really needs from father more than anything else. I cannot say that to him of course, but I believe it to be true. They are too different from each other not only in personality but in the things in which they believe.

Wilbur is far more like our great-grandfather or at least how I imagine he would have been. Father is too wrapped up in his world of politics and business. He strives to control everything and everyone around him. I can make suppositions as to why he does this but I think it would not be safe to record such thoughts, even here in what should be a private space. My brother is an honorable man and he has a good and kind spirit.

Such men are rarely fortunate in pursuit of gold but in pursuit of life, I think they reign. If only my brother could put aside whatever wounding words were spat at him before our departure, he would surely agree with me. The road ahead is perilous and unknown but the sun is rising and a new day is on the horizon.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Melanie, thank you,
Warm hugs,