Saturday, June 12, 2010

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Road Trip Time Lapse
Originally uploaded by Neil Dorgan
When I was a kid, my parents would take my sister and I on road trips. To pass the time, we would play a game that we came to call, Who Am I? The object of the game was simple: you had a person, place or thing in your mind and it was the goal of those playing to ask the proper questions in order to reveal the answer. With the right sort of questions, the game would be over in few short minutes. The wrong sort of questions, though, could lead you down a perilous path and you could be guessing for hours. The game kept us amused, made every trip seem shorter than it was and most importantly, gave us the opportunity, as a family, to be playful with one another, something a lot of kids my age didn’t get the chance to do with their parents.

I have wondered, often, why my mother had us play that game so many years ago. Partially, I believe, it was to pass the time but mostly, it was to keep us from doing what alot kids will do when they are forced into a confined space: get in fights and start poking fingers at each other over the smallest of perceived slights.

This week, my immediate family found itself in a similar spot. No, not forced into the backseat of a brown Pontiac Perisienne that reeked of bologna on white, but forced to redefine itself in the face of a difficult circumstance. My Nana - matriarch of a strong family, player of cribbage, lover of the Blue Jays, love of all jokes practical and all-round saint - died after a long and fruitful life.

Her death shook us all to the core.

But instead of pointing fingers and railing at the universe, we made a decision, one similar to the one my parents made each and every time we got into that car and headed out on a long journey. We decided to play, Who am I, and define who we were as a family.

And guess what?

My name is Laura Francis. I am a member of the mighty Robinson clan. And it is my honour.