People don’t remember that twenty years ago the first minivans had two bench seats. And just one sliding door. And no TV screens. Worse yet, the speed limits were slower. Road trips, coast-to-coast family vacations took longer. It was quite miserable having to spend time with your family.
Only then came bucket seats. And CD players. And space. And younger brothers. Soon, everyone sat in their own seat.
But there were occasionally short moments, usually right after a sack lunch at a rest area, when the trip would become bearable. And in those moments, the family played car games that involved talking to each other. Single words became phrases and phrases became conversations. Conversations, of course, became love. And love blossomed into memories.
A simple, yet fun, way to prolong the sugar high was a game where players had to name cities which began with the last letter of the previous city. Bismark, led to Kansas City, which led to Yorkshire, to Edmonton and so on and so forth.
Anyone who has played this game can remember that after a few rounds, everyone seemed always to get stuck on cities that ended in “y”. Not the youngest brother. Receiving New York City, he quickly returned Yukon. Oklahoma City became Yonkers, and Sioux City led to Yorba Linda. Wait, what? Yorba Linda? How did Sam know Yorba Linda?
As one, father, mother, sister, and brother all turned back to see how he was doing it.
Looking up towards the silence, young Sam feigned ignorance to the rules of the game as he closed the giant road atlas and its alphabetical index.
That reminds me. The first minivans didn’t have GPS either.