The Dumas Kid

Last week Carolann and I enjoyed our first long road trip in several years. We drove from Dallas to West Yellowstone, Montana, and stayed off freeways except for one short stretch of I-80 across southern Wyoming. Otherwise we took back roads through the Heartland and I highly recommend it. It refreshes the spirit. You’ll meet wonderful people whose regional natures will IMG_20140707_111126amaze you, different as they are from one place to the next.

Texans and Oklahomans tend to be more gregarious than Kansans and Wyomingites, who are friendly but wary.

Coloradans are happy to meet you, happy to serve and happy to see you leave.

Taking days rather than hours to get from here to there renews your sense of awe in the sheer size of our country that travel by air destroys. You have to suffer through several hundred miles of sagebrush and alkali to appreciate it, if your attitude will allow.

And, there’s another advantage that you’ll learn to appreciate though it might drive you slightly crazy for the first day:

Nearly the entire distance is void of a usable data signal for smart phones and digital tablets. That, too, will soon be a thing of the past in the name of technical advancement.

For now though, in great chunks of the American West, Facebook will have to wait. Words With Friends becomes Words With Spouse.

With no option but to actuaIMG_20140706_101927lly talk with each other Carolann and I had a wonderful time made even more enjoyable by the presence of our not quite 12 year-old grandson, Isaiah.

As we drove north from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Amarillo and on, across the desolate Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, our adventure took us through the town of Dumas, Texas. As we passed the city limit sign the boy read it aloud:

“DOO-mas,” he said.

“That’s not right,” I told him. “You’re mispronouncing it but it’s not your fault. The town used to have a ‘b’ in the middle of its name. It’s called ‘Dumbass,'” I said seriously.

Isaiah thought that was very funny. He giggled for a long time. We all did. Then, for the rest of the trip we called eachIMG_20140708_034243 other “DOO-mas” from time to time.

This is the stuff a kid remembers for his entire life. It’s what makes parenting and grandparenting especially rewarding. A quip and a laugh in an innocent moment is a moment enshrined for decades.

None of us will remember the frustrating times he fussed and pouted about having to take a bath or go to bed. And though we’ll always treasure the pictures of Isaiah and his Nana in front of Yellowstone Falls and of him holding a long fork with a flaming marshmallow for a campfire s’more burning out of control, it’s the shared laughs that fill our hearts for the rest of our lives.

No matter how old he and we get, Isaiah will now and always be the Dumas Kid and we will always love each other more for it.

Author: Dave

Dave Williams is a radio news/talk personality originally from Sacramento, now living in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Carolann. They have two sons and grandsons living in L.A.

5 thoughts on “The Dumas Kid”

  1. DW – your writing always hits a nerve in me. I think its the memories of youth, and love of family – that most of us have. Nice stuff, bud.

  2. Dave, you eloquently tapped into some of my most heartfelt memories: travels with my parents when I was a kid. Together, we drove the length of U.S. 66 a total of 13 times between 1956 and 1960 — the result of my Dad’s restlessness and indecision about whether to remain in our hometown, New York, or to settle in California. Despite the fact that my folks made those coast-to-coast journeys out of a strong sense of purpose, they always found time to pull over for some enjoyable roadside diversions. We enjoyed some great adventures that I remember to this day. For me, those 3,000-mile treks on Route 66 and U.S. 40 were anything but boring. I did not think of asking “are we there yet?” I did not want those journeys together to end.

  3. Beautifully written. Gives a mom like me pause as I try to create memories for my boys. The photos you took looked breathtaking. What a wonderful trip for all of you.

  4. Beautifully written…as always. Wonderful observations of the truth behind our best memories. I was fortunate enough to have taken two long road trips around the U.S. when I was a kid. Those memories are among the greatest gifts I received from my parents. They were so important that I made a point of replicating them with my own children. Sadly, I see no effort from them to repeat the experience for my grandchildren. It’s the quick long-distance air flight for them. Too bad, it’s just not the same as experiencing this great country from the road.

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