There is a stretch of road between Tulsa and Bartlesville that I know very well. I’ve driven this highway almost a thousand times over the course of my years at OKWU. (Okay, not really a thousand but a lot, so many times in fact, it feels like almost a thousand.)
Okay, probably not every cow, but I really do know most of it by heart.
I know that when you reach Ramona and you have to slow down to 65 miles an hour it takes exactly 18 minutes to get to Bartlesville after you speed back up. That is, if you drive exactly 74 miles an hour – possible for me only with cruise control. (Because I can’t stay a constant speed, not because I have a lead foot.)
From the Wal-Mart distribution plant just around the next corner it takes 15 minutes and once you reach the speed reduction signs just outside of Bartlesville it takes approximately 8 minutes. I can never quite get this one exact because the stoplights vary as does the in-city traffic.
I have my favorite spots of the road picked out as well.
The big brick house off to the west hidden between trees. Oh to live in that house!
The cross road where my cousin almost died in a car wreck. Not a favorite, exactly, but this spot always makes me think of him and stop and pray for a moment. Well, not stop because that would be dangerous in the middle of a highway!
Then, my favorite spot, off to the right just before Bartlesville. It’s a little pond surrounded by a slightly disheveled but never-the-less precious fence. The pond is especially beautiful in the winter when it is covered with a thin layer of ice and when the sunset reflects off it. And it always has a cow or two with a nose stuck in the water.
This road is the road that leads me home.
I’m either traveling from school back to my real home or from home to the place I’ve called home for the last four years.
This road and I have shared tears and prayers and lots of both.
I’ve had some of my best conversations with God while driving on this road.
(Oh, that reminds me, don’t tell my dad that sometimes I drive and cry. He might lecture me on the dangers of this. It is generally entirely accidental and I try not to do these two things at the same time, but sometimes I just can’t help it.)
The sun had just started to set and the 80-degree weather felt wonderful blowing through my windows.
I had the music playing, a mix of country and worship (of course), and my favorite purchased-in-England sunglasses on.
It could not have been a more perfect drive, peaceful and joyful.
But this trip was different then most. Usually I roll down the windows and sing at the top of my lungs to the radio. But today, it was almost as if I was taking in every second, every turn, tree, house, and cow, and committing them all to memory.
This isn’t that last time I will make this journey but it was one of my favorites.
I’m sure you will hear about it when I do drive it for the last time as an OKWU student but I think I will always think of it how it was today – perfect.