This weekend I made a momentous decision. I will never drive anywhere alone with my Mother-in-law. We have a history that always involves us getting lost and I am sure it’s her fault.
It was a beautiful day. We drove my daughter Briana to Vancouver so we could help her hang pictures in her new home.
About four o’clock Briana was thrilled with the results of our hard work and we said goodbye.
“Now mom, you can find your way out of here right? Just turn left on the next two streets. When you hit Padden Parkway turn left again and drive until you see the signs for 205 north.”
“That was easy.” I said to mom as I turned onto Padden Parkway. We should be home in about 40 minutes. A few blocks later, I pointed to the sign, NORTH.
“This must be it.” I turned.
In about ten minutes, I began to wonder if I was on the right road. I called Bri.
“Briana, shouldn’t I be at the freeway now?”
“Mom, where are you?”
“I just passed some strawberry fields, and a WinCo. Oh cool, there’s a ‘pick your own blueberries’ sign.”
“Mother, I don’t have any idea where you are but that is not the right road? Where did you turn?’
“I saw a sign that said north, I was supposed to go north so I turned.”
“I knew you were bad, mom but I didn’t know you were this bad. I should have driven you out. You need to turn around and get the 205 north. You’re probably headed into Battleground.”
I assured her we could probably catch the freeway in Battleground so I kept going. Sure enough, I finally saw a sign that indicated the I-5 somewhere up ahead. After about 10 minutes, my mother-in-law was losing confidence so I got directions from a gas station.
“Be sure to stay in the left lane, it will loop you in a wide circle and put you on the freeway going north.”
“What a friendly town,” I said as I got back into the car. I had heard that people gave you the wrong directions sometimes as a joke; I never suspected a thing.
A few minutes later, I drove past a freeway entrance.
“Did that say north?”
Of course, Mom hadn’t seen the sign at all; a moment later, I saw an arrow that indicated the circle that would loop us onto the freeway. It didn’t say south so it must lead home.
Several miles down the road, I noticed my mother-in law was very quiet. “What are you thinking?”
“I am thinking we are going the wrong way.”
I laughed and assured her we would be home soon.
My mind must have been on autopilot because a few minutes later I started across a bridge that looked like the one that goes into Portland. That was impossible. Portland was 10 minutes south of Vancouver and we were supposed to be 40 minutes north of there. I blinked a couple of times and took in my surrounding.
“How the heck did we get into Portland?”
Mom finally came to life and spoke. ‘I wondered why you were driving past all those Vancouver signs but you were driving so I thought I better not say anything. Didn’t you see them?”
Well, wasn’t that wonderful. Of course, I hadn’t seen them or I would have turned around a long time ago.
Here we were, Friday night at 5:30 on the 4th of July weekend and she chooses now of all times to remain silent. Any other time, when I was actually going the right direction, she could offer all kinds of advice but no, not today. We would be stuck in rush hour holiday traffic for hours.
I finally found a ramp so we could turn around. At 6:30, we were almost back in Vancouver when my cell phone rang. It was Rick.
“Jane, where are you? We are supposed to be in Portland. I thought you would be home to get dressed by now.”
Could this day get any better? Like Mother, like son. What; was I a mind reader?
We got home about 7:30 and I was NOT going back to Portland.