The black heels I had worn the eight hours to and from our friend's memorial service were discarded, pushed to the back seat, and in their place were a supple pair of woolly slip-ons. As incongruous as my dark dress, black cardigan, and chignon were with these house shoes, they did not draw undue attention from the other refugees inside, many of whom had on similar attire.
My daughter and I headed for the restrooms while my husband yawned and stretched his arms at the jerky counter that lined an entire wall. Every flavor imagined for jerky in all of the history of the meat eating world presented itself in this carnivore's paradise.
Once inside the bathroom stall, I wriggled out of as much as I could that was constricting while remaining mostly decent. I stuffed the discards into my purse before heading back out.
The aroma of cinnamon roasted cashews and peanuts drew us over to the station where nut chefs poured finished product into large, warm paper cones.
In the next aisle, a man with a day's stubble on his face animatedly waved his arms and talked with someone in Spanish on a cell phone. "I'm driving as fast as I can, woman! I'll be home by morning!"
A plump woman holding the hand of a sleepy eyed girl already in pajamas perused the smorgasbord of homemade fudge available at another sprawling counter. "It's not for me," she explained to the teen-aged clerk. "You see, I'm taking it home for..."
We moved to one of the checkouts staffed by unfailingly cheery workers. "And how has your day been? Do you have long to travel?" she chirped as we smiled. Back out into the parking lot, a large caravan of trucks pulling horse trailers had circled their quarry and the drivers, some still with spurs on, gingerly stretched their denim clad legs.
A man with silver hair and a tanned, lined face, pumped gas into the tank of a Lexus while a curly haired woman in the passenger seat pulled at her purse with her door half open. She quietly moved behind him and suddenly squeezed her arms around his back. Surprised, he turned, laughed, and gave her a quick kiss before she walked into the store. He grinned and watched her until she disappeared inside.
My husband was just putting the gas cap back into place by the time I had finished arranging things in the front seat. Parked next to us was a luxury horse trailer, replete with air conditioning, a small satellite receiver, and slide outs, more costly than our first home.
The velvety muzzle of a palomino mare poked out the open side door of the trailer. I put my hand close and she sniffed and then nickered softly, deep down in her throat. As I stepped back into the car, she shook her head, tossing her blonde mane from side to side, signifying her impatience at the whole waiting process.
"You and me both, girl," I smiled to myself as we pulled out onto the highway again, headed to our casa.
And no matter who you are, or how far away you've landed, there's a little piece inside that's always working to get back home.
Buc-ee's is a legendary place to stop in Texas when drivers need a break from the road. They are famous for their astonishing array of food, their clean restrooms, and the sheer size of the stores.
Here is a link: Buc-ee's