Just came back from a road trip with Jack. We went to Vestal to see my Dad, visited the Baseball Hall of Fame, Buffalo to see my friend the Chief, then two days in Toronto for Yankees vs Blue Jays. Spectacular.
That also meant 20+ hours in the car together. And Shani’s first question is always, “What did you talk about?” And the answer is a little complex given where Jack is with his life and his priorities. Let me explain…
|Jack is deeply interested in…||Partying with his friends|
|Are we going to talk about that?||No.|
|Jack is deeply interested in…||Girls|
|Are we going to talk about that?||No.|
|Jack is deeply interested in…||Classic Rock|
|Are we going to talk about that?||Yes. He revels in music; he wants to talk about it constantly. Every song he slyly pops the volume up 2 notches even in the middle of a conversation.|
|Does Shani want to hear about those conversations?||Hell no.|
|Jack is deeply interested in…||Baseball.|
|Are we going to talk about that?||GOD yes. We rave about the Yanks, discuss trade possibilities, reminisce about other parks we’ve visited. This is non-stop.|
|Does Shani want to hear about those conversations?||Obviously not.|
But all of this leaves me with not much to report back about the conversations we had. We didn’t have any deep talks about life, about who he is and how he feels about things. It’s just not what we talk about in this moment of our relationship.
However, the trip certainly was not without meaningful conversation.
I had a long conversation with my Dad about his life and his outlook as he enters his 80s. We talked about how lucky he was to have found Mary. We talked about his wishes as he ages. We also spent a solid 25 minutes talking about what game shows he likes to watch and what the rules of each game were. And we played a lot of cribbage.
We stayed with my best friend of 40+ years, The Chief. After we went out to dinner, he gave me a tour of his house and we ended up standing in his front yard for almost an hour catching up. He finally went and grabbed a couple lawn chairs and we spent another couple hours out there reminiscing about the summer camp we went to in junior high, division of labor between our wives, and God knows what else.
And for both those conversations, Jack was there either as part of the conversation or hanging out on the fringe and observing.
And wherever Jack and I are in our lives and our current list of conversational topics, we still spent 4 amazing days in each other’s presence. And we had an absolute blast. We got to stand beneath Jackie Robinson’s Hall of Fame plaque and sit in Nolan Ryan’s locker. We split a dozen wings and a beef on weck at Bar Bill in Buffalo. We went to two ballgames in Roger’s Center and saw an absolutely amazing comeback win that had the crowd absolutely bonkers with roaring for their team.
And of course, we drove our asses off. We’ve become staggeringly good travel partners. We both pack ludicrously light. We can sleep just about anywhere. And our combined capacity of driving is mindboggling. In a single day we can start with breakfast at my Dad’s house, drive to Cooperstown (1.5 hours), revel in the Baseball Hall of Fame, have lunch on Otsego Lake with my dad and Mary, drive to Buffalo (4 hours), dinner out with Chief and his family, then spend the evening at Chief’s place out on the lawn. And the whole thing somehow feels leisurely – no rush at all. I find time to read and write in my journal. Jack watches a movie on his computer. We get plenty of sleep. It’s almost other-worldly, like we step into some kind of time tube when we travel. Road Wizards.
I also need to call out the true MVP of the trip: Grandma Mary. On top of her general wonderfulness feeding us, hosting us, and being lots of fun to spend time with. On top of marrying my dad (which is a remarkable blessing). As we were about to leave Buffalo and head for Toronto, I realized I’d left my work bag and passports in Vestal. Mary hopped in the car and met us at a Burger Kind halfway, which was the difference between making and missing our first ballgame. So generous and wonderful.
For the record, this put us at 18 out of 30 ballparks. We’ll be at 20 by end of year.
Check it out.