Dutch leaned into the curve he was about to take to the left and already his mind was preparing for the lean to the right as the curve to the left immediately led into a curve to the right. How many times, he began to ponder, had he negotiated these “S” curves as well as the ones he had just come through and the other two a couple of miles ahead. The curves, especially the ones going downhill on the approach to the river crossing as they were curving so sharply, took Dutch back so many years.
The slightly past middle-aged man with graying hair in his temples had first begun driving this stretch of highway on a daily commute to a new job while he was going through the most painful time he had ever been through in his life. Dutch had not wanted the divorce from his companion of twenty-five years. But he thought, there really is something to the old saying, “It takes two to tango.” Reflecting now some fifteen years later, Dutch could see things more clearly than in the past. The emotional fog of all the searing pain of separation, the endless quarrels, the false accusations to and fro, and the dreaded legal process of divorce having lifted, the man could see and even admit to himself his own faults and short-comings.
Leaning back to the left again as he approached yet another series of curves, Dutch continued his self-evaluation and mental inventory. All those curves reminded him of his circumstances so many years in the past. He remembered thinking one day as he commuted that travelling that highway with so many curves in differing directions was so much like his life during that time. Along with the curves were hill and valley after another hill and valley. Dutch remembered comparing the ride on the highway to the ride he was then going through in life. Like riding on a roller coaster, he had felt like he was being tossed to and fro, left then right, up and down, sometimes round and round.
Finally, the last long curve negotiated, Dutch smiled and thought now of the event to which he was driving. It was almost birthday party time for one of his little darlings. Now his mind was on a pretty blue-eyed granddaughter with silky blond hair. Just as the curvy road was now straighter, so was his life more so than in the past. The older, more mature man realized that he was happier now than he had been in decades. His home life was now calm and old qualms and quarrels had taken a back seat for everyone as beautiful grandchildren arrived.
Relaxing a bit now, the old curves having made Dutch remember the past had also caused him to appreciate his current time in life. He was filled with silly anticipation of all the grandpa hugs he was soon to receive from all his ‘little Georgia peaches’ that would be at the party. Smiling, Dutch thought of how glad he was to no longer feel the pain of years gone by. Then he thought, “I’m certainly glad I don’t have travel this doggone crazy road with all the hills and curves twice everyday anymore!”
-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013