In early February, 2008, I was just getting into the thick of the spring semester of my junior year at UNC-Chapel Hill. Surprised that I only had one year left in college, and worried that I would be jobless and homeless when I graduated from the journalism school, I started looking into summer internships and jobs at local magazines and papers. About the time I was getting ready to turn in some applications, I got a call from my dad.
My grandmother (my dad’s mom) died in December of 2007. After more than 60 years of marriage, my grandfather was left alone for the first time.
Since I started college in Chapel Hill, it’s been harder to find time to drive back to Wilson to visit my dad and grandparents. Between school work, marching band and the fraternity, very few weekends are left open during the school year. My sister, Madison, a sophomore in high school, tries to get out to Wilson every other weekend, but sometimes even her schedule keeps her away for multiple weeks.
I didn’t get to see my grandmother that much in the months before she died. I got to visit her once in the hospital a few weeks before her death. That was the last time that I saw her.
Unfortunately, it often takes traumatic events to bring people together. In this case, I think my whole family realized how important it was for us to spend more time with each other. Our time is short and unpredictable.
“Paw-paw wants to take a road trip with you and Madison,” my dad said. I wasn’t really sure what to say. I had plans for the summer: I was supposed to be getting ready for my exciting career in journalism. This was the summer that I needed to be working on internships.
“Of course I can do it. I’d love to,” I said. There was no hesitation, no second thought, no confusion. Internships will still be there: jobs will still be there. I have my whole life to worry about my career and making money. This might be the only opportunity to see the country with Paw-Paw.
Spending a month with my sister and grandfather, bonding and learning about each other, is infinitely more important than padding a resume. The trip will be once-in-a-lifetime, and there is no way I am going to miss it.
I threw away my internship applications, got out of work for a month, and started planning for our trek across America. I read Jack Kerouac.
We looked at maps, talked about plans and learned how to work the On Star system in my granddad’s new black Cadillac.
Everything was ready. So began Inscoe Road Trip 2008.