Instead of driving west into Utah, then up to Idaho, we drove north to Montana in a spontaneous change of plans wholly inspired by a coloring book, Bucky Thompson and the Redskins. As my dad now saw it, we were somehow bound to honor the unspecified deeds of a few or maybe several unnamed individuals of vague and generalized historical significance. When asked where we were driving or to whom we were supposed to feel indebted, my dad would only answer with, “You’ll see,” and a smile that anticipated what was no doubt going to be a big payoff.
Minutes turned into hours and hours turned into…well, more hours. Entertainment was desirable and necessary, but seemed perpetually elusive, like the face of an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon. 20 Questions, Slug Bug and a game of I Spy that ended with my sister, Michele, hitting me (she got mad because the only things I would ‘spy’ were things inside the car. “Stop picking ‘headrest’. Idiot.”) Eventually, we took to humming the theme songs of television shows.
By the time my dad and I started in on what my sister termed to be the ‘kajillionth stupid’ rendition in a row of the Bonanza theme, my dad suddenly announced, “Here we are!”