The Sunday Drive. When I was a child, a Sunday drive meant the ‘back-end’ of the station wagon. It meant lying down on the hard floor and gazing out of the window with pencil thin Pine trees disappearing into a blue sky. It meant rambunctious boys giggling and punching. Brothers (scoff!). On the Sunday drive, I could drown them out and tune in on the sounds from the AM radio. Oldies. Every once in a blue moon, the whole car would break into an impromptu chorus (A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh. In the jungle, the mighty jungle...). I suppose there are some benefits to being part of a large brood.
For our parents, the Sunday drive was a refuge from the messiness of the week at home. It meant a time to put the week behind them, to look forward to the open road and the possibilities of what is to come. It was a time to dream of what could be. The Sunday drive was a time for the map to a carefree life. A time for planning your landscape. Scouting color combinations for the next time you paint your house. “Oh, look at that second story deck!” “Those are just the lights we need!” For us kids, well we mostly went begrudgingly. And if I’m being totally honest, much of the time, those Pine trees became a droning blur, sometimes just lulling me to sleep on the smooth Carolina road.
The Sunday drive is the perfect time to get a glimpse into other neighborhoods. Around here, it might be Weaverville in the morning with the clouds coming over the mountains, or Fairview in the evenings with the sun settling over the rolling hills. Maybe it will lead you down a small country road in McDowell County to a roadside farm stand. You might grab a bag of boiled peanuts from an old fella selling out of the back of his pickup truck on your way down to Saluda, or through a back country road filled with Apple Orchards in Hendersonville. Maybe you’ll take a drive through horse country in Tryon or out to Leicester for farm views. You may find yourself in West Asheville or Kenilworth admiring the eclectic styles of these mountain homes. It’s possible that you’ll drive through Montford or North Asheville for a glimpse of grandeur, or maybe Town Mountain Road will have you feeling like you’re traveling on horseback through an old winding private mountain road from a time way past.
My favorite time of the day to drive through neighborhoods is at dusk, when families are settling down for dinner and their windows are all glowing with a warm light. You can imagine their dinners-grand or cozy, their rituals-simple or elegantly presented. Maybe you’ll dream of when you will raise a family there or retire in a home just like this one or that one. Maybe you’ll drive through Montreat or Black Mountain and find your perfect mountain vacation home tucked away on the creek or in the thicket of Mountain Laurel. Maybe downtown Asheville has a condo perfectly placed for people watching and shopping. That’s the thing about a Sunday drive; the possibilities are as endless as your dreams.
Some of our favorite Sunday drives include the Parkway in Fall. I challenge anyone to find a better drive. Every year, we take our “Parkway Picnic”. We “drive like a tourist” up to an overlook, park, put out our picnic blanket and ooh and ahh over the views of the leaves. The golds, browns, reds, and greens...a tapestry of our home and of our year. Each year, I weave the tale of when my husband and I started dating and the time of my first motorcycle ride with him on the parkway in Fall. Our son, still young and enthusiastic for mom’s reminiscent tales, gets giddy and asks for more or giggles and agrees with one part or another. “It was like a dream or even a Fairy Tale,” I begin. “The breeze made the yellow leaves pour down on us like an Autumn shower as we made our way up the curves of the mountain. A group of turkeys crossed in front of us, making us take a pause. In that single moment, everything swirled around us like a magical wind, making time stand still and dance with energy at the same time!” It gets him every time. For now. I imagine one day, in his teenage years, his eyes will roll, and a bored sigh will escape his lips, but for now, we revel in these memories and hopefully weave them into his heart-this tapestry of small moments on The Sunday Drive.