Op-Ed

Two for the Road on Christmas

Jack Russell terrier

Jack Russell terrier

LOS ANGELES, Dec 24, 2008 / FW/ — I’ve always wanted to drive Route 66 and this was as a good time as any to do it. Picking up the historic highway in Amarillo, TX, my plan is to be in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve.

Leaving Dallas Dec 15 gave me about 9 days on the road wherein I could actually enjoy the drive and the countryside. Traveling the southwestern states of New Mexico and Arizona, there were a few warm days that I could actually travel with the soft top of my convertible down. The wind on my face, my hair protected by a scarf, and wearing big sunglasses, I wondered if this was how Princess Grace felt when she used to drive the road between Nice and Monaco.

Out here in Route 66, a road that no longer appears on the map, but very much a part of American pop culture, life’s pace is slower. Same as big city folks, people talk about the President-elect and the deepening recession but they are blissfully unaware of high street fashion. Over here, Ralph Lauren rules while Chanel is a name on the perfume counter.

Jack Russell terrier

Jack Russell terrier

Staying in small motels in small towns, my life felt it was in slow motion. Traveling with my little Jack Russell, walking her in unfamiliar places was a big adventure for both of us. My Jack Russell and I are both city girls, used to walking on sidewalks and cement. The bucolic feeling of walking on trails wherein we can feel the earth on our feet is peaceful.

It was during one of these walks, in a very small town that I chanced upon a VHS copy of ‘Two for the Road’ starring Audrey Hepburn. The movie itself was about a couple who are deciding what to do with their relationship; I felt that the title ‘Two for the Road’ was perfect for my Jack Russell and me.

Early this year, a personal tragedy left me alone and bereft with sadness. Given to me as a gift by a friend while she was still a puppy, my little Jack Russell became my friend and companion as I tried to bounce back. She reminded me of two ads – one by Citibank and one by Target.

The Citibank billboard said, ‘Money cannot buy happiness, except maybe at the pet store.’ The one by Target has a woman waking up with her white dog, the background voice over saying ‘I’ll always be here when you wake up.’

As I entered Los Angeles and took the Pomona 60 freeway, my little Jack Russell was asleep in the passenger seat. Every so often, she would raise her head and check on me if I was alright. I started humming the lyrics of Two for the Road; and as if my Jack Russell understood, she perked her ears and gave me a smile.

Two for the road,
we’ll travel through the years,
collecting precious memories,
selecting souvenirs
and living life the way we please

[SARA CONDE]

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