Amy Roberts: One easy resolution
January 6, 2015
Last week, my email inboxes and Facebook feed were inundated with inspiring (and often annoying) messages of hope, reflection and good riddance. People toasted to the changing of the calendar year, ever optimistic and full of resolve to make sure 2015 turned out better for them than 2014.
There were promises of what would be done differently this year — from eating organic foods to not yelling at the kids so much. I saw lots of "live every day to the fullest" types of vague promises. Goals were set, pacts were made and resolutions were written in the digital world’s equivalent of a stone tablet. Which got me thinking about my New Year’s resolutions.
I typically don’t make these. Frankly, I can decide on any given day of the year to be a better person or stop doing something that isn’t good for me. The way I see it, a random Monday in April is just as good a day as January 1st to drag myself to the gym or gossip less.
So generally speaking, I dismiss the idea of making a resolution. But then I spent two weeks in close quarters with my family in Nebraska and a combined 25 hours in a car on both sides of that experience. And if nothing else, driving across a state so flat you can watch your dog run away for three days provides you with ample time to reflect.
I’m not really sure why I ever considered this a good idea. I haven’t made that drive since I moved to Park City all those years ago, and it’s not like several cities or interesting topography have sprouted up along I-80 since then. But I needed to use up some vacation days, wanted to help my sister with her new baby and figured now was as good as time as any to take a road trip with the dogs. Plus, truth be told, I asked for a couple large items for Christmas this year, and they would never have fit in my checked luggage. So anyway, selfishly and regrettably, I chose to drive.
And I’ll tell you this much, whomever said, "Getting there is half the fun," never drove through western Nebraska.
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I stopped at a gas station in a town called Cozad. They had the old fashioned pumps — the kind that don’t accept a credit card. You actually have to go into the store and speak to someone and hand them your form of payment. And at this particular store in Cozad, deer jerky is an acceptable form of currency. You can pay for your gas in cash, credit or dehydrated Bambi meat.
Even more surprising, the guy who owns the general store will offer you a freshly shot Canadian goose for the bargain price of $15.99. He killed it himself and for another $2, he’ll throw in his top-secret, yet somehow also world-famous recipe for goose stew.
I politely declined both offers. But did buy a year’s supply of Twizzlers. Which lasted me until the Wyoming boarder. Prior to this trip, I had no idea I could eat my entire body weight in red licorice.
I also had no idea what it was like to seriously question my likelihood of survival. Somewhere in Wyoming, we hit a snowstorm with winds so fierce semi-trucks were flopped over like seals on a beach. It was a complete whiteout and one of my dogs chose that exact moment to get carsick. I couldn’t even see an exit to try to pull over. Then my gaslight started blinking and the digital lady whose voice lives in my navigation system started yelling at me I had less than 5 miles to go before I ran out of gas.
As we plodded along at 10 miles an hour, knuckles as white as the falling snow, I made all sorts of promises in exchange for making it safely to a gas station. Promises I know I’ll likely never keep. Really, the chances that I will go to church or not swear like a sailor anymore are quite slim. But there is one resolution I made during that hairy stretch of I-80 I will certainly keep — I will never again drive to Nebraska, ever.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.