Sheltered Diaries: Sometimes, You Just Need a Drive

After a week or so of county-sanctioned togetherness at home, our family was getting surly. We had, for the most part, been staring at the same faces and the same walls, and we loved each other, but we were at the point where we needed a change of pace.

But we also needed to be safe. So what to do?

In our case, we instituted the Sunday drive. Every Sunday afternoon, we hop in the car and drive for a couple of hours, round trip. We might pack a few snacks, or pick up lunch at a drive-through while we’re out, but the destination is decided by a three-person vote, and the goal is to just see something different than our 1961 midcentury ranch home.

Our inaugural drive was double duty – we wanted to check on Tiny’s grandparents, and we knew the drive to Tarrant County to see them would provide us a nice, long, break from the house. We drove up, parked and rolled down our windows, and Gramma and Granpa stood on the sidewalk about 8 feet away while we chatted for about half an hour, then we drove home.

The difference in our attitudes was impressive. The next weekend, we didn’t go anywhere. Monday hit, and it was not pleasant. There may have been four mutinies by lunch, 10 slammed doors, one request for everyone to just “calm all the way down or get out,” and one case of “this is horrible how are we going to continue to do this indefinitely,” not that I was counting or anything.

The difference, we realized, was that two-hour vehicular airing. So this Sunday, at Tiny’s request, we drove to Texas Motor Speedway and back. Pre-coronavirus, this would not have been anyone’s idea of a fun excursion. In our new reality, it was one rollercoaster loop away from a four-star destination.

Our rules are simple: You must be able go there and back within three hours, it must not require getting out of the car, and playlist requests are due on Saturday. Everyone makes suggestions, and then we vote if there is more than one option, knowing that the “loser” destination can always be up again the next weekend.

What does your family do to beat cabin fever safely? Let us know in the comments!

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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