Out the door by six-o-clock on any other morning would be unthinkable. But early one June morning, as I climbed into a little Suzuki, things were different.
The rain and wind pelt and pummel the vehicle interchangeably, thrusting it forward on the black top country roads. Road shoulders are non-existent out here. Metal guards are a minimal barrier against the steep drops to the ravines below. The road rises and falls under the vehicle speeding 10, 15, 20 miles above the speed limit. I feel like I’m on a roller coaster. I have a love/hate relationship with roller coasters.
Today I am in love and will the Suzuki to DRIVE.
Our destination, a little country chapel, sits at the base of a hillside. The rain fell like a whimper into silence. Humidity rises off the ground in the way fog rises above the lazy Big Muddy some mornings, the air thick with the smell of hops from the brewery. Here though, the steam rising vaguely reminds me of the photos I’ve seen of the Appalachian Mountains.
I play at being a city mouse fancying the life of a country mouse, snapping photos of the mountains from the windows of the Suzuki. I have left my real camera behind, today of all days.
I am tramping down a gravel road, hauling a large bag over my shoulder. My hair has never been this primped and fussed over. Even the weather agrees I should loosen up; humidity hitting the cloud of aerosol surrounding my mountain of curls. In half an hour, I will be dressed and ready to go. In forty-five minutes, I will be glad-handing guests.
In an hour, I will be Mrs. Dennis Miller.
Before ducking inside the low-vaulted chamber, I look across the meadow, up the winding gravel road, trying to glimpse the little Suzuki. The sunlight bounces off the car hood, winking at me.