Happy 55 to the man who loves to drive

My husband turns 55 today, the perfect age for a man who loves crazy long road trips, respects all posted speed limits and monitors the stop signs outside our house with such Barney Fife-like intensity he scares drivers who dare to roll through.

“Did you see that?” he’ll ask me as he shakes his fist at passing cars and I try not to make eye contact with the neighbors. “That guy didn’t even slow down. Hey Buddy! That’s a stop sign! Slow down!”

I came home one day and found a “SLOW DOWN!!!” yard sign parked right next to my “You are Beautiful” sign.

“Is that really necessary?” I asked. “It’s harshing my yard vibe.”

I’ve been road tripping with Vince since 1985, the year we drove from Marquette University to Cincinnati and then on to Colver, Pennsylvania so my college boyfriend could meet all of my grandparents. I highly recommend the grueling grandparent gauntlet as a vetting process for a perspective spouse of any gender.

Since then, he and I have made more road trips together than Charles Kuralt. We’ve circled Lake Michigan on two separate car trips, made the annual Spring Break pilgrimage to Gulf Shores, Alabama (a direct shot from Appleton to the beach) several years in a row, driven to Portland, Oregon and back twice, traveled to Washington D.C. for a weekend visit, and repeated our Cincinnati and Pennsylvania treks more times than I can count.

Vince woke up one morning when we lived in Milwaukee and our two oldest kids were babies and said, “Let’s drive to Canada this weekend.” So, with no plans at all, we packed those little munchkins up and rolled out.

Have you heard the story of how Vince once drove us from Appleton to Mount Rushmore in 11 hours? No? Then you haven’t met Vince. It’s his favorite road trip story. “We left in the morning and got there in time for dinner,” he loves to say. Our children all have hyper-developed bladder control thanks to their father’s obsession with “making good time”.

At 55, Vince still strives to make good time, and also to make times good.

We both know very well that the joy of life is in the journey, in the family you buckle in and the friends you make along the way.

If you see Vince today, wish him a Happy birthday. And, if you plan to stop by our house to do so in person, for the love of all things holy, please come to a full and complete stop at the corner before you make that turn.He obeys all posted speed limits except, perhaps, on a memorable day in June of 2005 when we all had breakfast in Appleton and dinner at the base of Mount Rushmore. #legend

We started the weekend of Vince’s 55th birthday with a trek through the woods.
We’re smiling here, but it was a little grueling to hike through thigh-high snow.
Vince made good time and an even better foot trail.
I will never take for granted the privilege of being the first to carve a path in the snow, nor the joy of forging it with Vince.

15 thoughts on “Happy 55 to the man who loves to drive

  1. I am eleven years ahead of Vince, but share his quirks. When considered for a position as a delivery driver at Home Depot, when asked about my driving habits, I responded:”I drive like a grandfather!”
    I obey speed limits, plan my trips, allow enough time to arrive on schedule, use my turn indicators and leave room for folks to slide out of parking lots.
    Not a bad thing!
    Happy Birthday and many more!

  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY VINCE . I got 20 on you. hope you have as much fun as i did getting here. Appleton looks as snow covered as Colver. Been looking for that DAMN GROUND HOG since he didn’t see his shadow. I did see one on the road today but he was stiff as a board . KARMA always come back to get ya.Hope you & your family had a great day. NIck.

  3. Love this post so much, Laura! I think my kids probably have hyper-developed bladder control, too. Or, perhaps the opposite? I drive like Vince, and I don’t like to stop for food or bathroom breaks. I like to relax when I get where I’m going. Happy Belated to Vince!

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