Driving is not a ‘chore’

 I guess I’m fortunate to be one of the seven, not one of the three. I’m referring to the seven of every 10 drivers who say they like to drive, according to some poll or other I saw published recently.

The other three said they consider driving a “chore.” I think those drivers must have a different definition of “chore” then I learned as a kid.

On the farm, “chore” meant milking the cows, slopping the hogs or plucking chickens. Fortunately, my parents gave up farming and moved to Kansas City before I got much first-hand experience with “doing the chores.”

In my family, driving, even the 13 miles to town to get a cone at Bruce’s Dairy Maid, was a weekend treat. Getting in the car was something the family looked forward to.

In our house today, chores can mean mowing the yard or cleaning bathrooms. All things being equal, I’d rather drive.

I was thinking about that last weekend as we rolled along on a weekend trip to see my wife’s family in Independence, Ky., just south of Cincinnati.

A friend gave me that “you’ve got to be kidding” look when I said I was going to drive to Florence, Ala., Friday afternoon, work in the concession stand at the high school game, and then get up early Saturday and drive to Kentucky. We’d be there Saturday evening and Sunday, then reverse the process, getting back to Florence Monday night. At 5:30 Tuesday morning I’d hit the road to be at work at the Gazette.

It’s what we do because we have kids, grandkids and an assortment of parents, aunts, uncles and cousins in a blended family spread around the country.

With airfares what they are, buying three tickets isn’t really an option, even with gas prices high.

So we just get a map and head out. A nephew’s wedding in Colorado, visiting my sister and her husband in Kansas City, or our grown kids and their families in Pittsburgh and northern Virginia.  The only really limiting factor recently has been very little time off in a new job.

Making long trips on a tight time frame is just part of our lives. We put more than 25,000 miles a year on The Rocket, my old grey Acura, and Jenny’s Nissan Altima. And they both get 31 miles per gallon on the highway. I know that because every time I get a tank of gas, I divide in my head, certain that it’s worth knowing to the tenth of a mile. Jenny just rolls her eyes.

Although our cars can go long distances without a stop, we can’t. Whether it’s Fritos, Twizzlers or Pringles, drive time is snack time. We seldom go as much as two hours without a craving and a soft drink. 

And what makes it so much fun is the guilty pleasure in knowing we would never buy all those snacks to eat if we were at home.

I bet those three in 10 drivers don’t snack.


T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at publisher@newalbanygazette.com.