This week I had the privilege of reading a brand new book that just hit the shelves. Our friends, Shawn & Maile Smucker, are two incredibly talented story-tellers and writers. They not only dream big dreams, but they live them out, and have beautifully and poignantly shared their latest adventure with us. I literally felt as if I was another passenger, traveling across the country alongside them and their four children. I was mesmerized by the scenery and people they encountered along the way. As I read, each chapter felt like another delicious bite of a feast that I didn’t want to end. Here is a short excerpt to whet your appetite:
Saturday night we cruised north on I-75. We had spent a few beautiful days at Reed Bingham State Park in Georgia (where Maile’s imaginary mugging took place), and a wonderful afternoon with friends just outside of Atlanta. By the time we left, it was growing dark – our destination was a truck stop close to the Tennessee border. The highway was a sea of red, and rain streaked the brake lights across the bus’s massive windshield in arcs and splashes. But the traffic charged forward, sweeping us along with it.
In the distance, the lights of Atlanta’s skyscrapers rose above the trees like the center of a newly formed galaxy.
The kids played in the back of the bus, long past their normal bed time. Maile sat beside me at the front of the bus, her feet up on the dash. We talked about how years change people. How life has made us a little more tired, a little more mature, a touch more cynical, a little less selfish.
Then we entered the city, the lights rising around us. It’s a fascinating feeling, driving through such tall buildings late on a rainy, Saturday night. The lights reflected off the wet highway, battered the windshield. Passing cars glared into my side view mirrors, then flashed past, making disgruntled sounds in the rain. When I opened the small sliding window beside the driver’s seat, the smell of wet, hot macadam rushed in to where we sat, filling the bus with an early summer.
Lightning flashed. Or was that a streetlight blinking out?
Then a quiet rustling through the curtain beside me. In the far reaches of my peripheral vision, out at the edge of a different galaxy, 2-year-old Sam had quietly walked to the front, pushed through the curtain that separated us from the back, and sat on the step beside my seat. He looked up through those huge pieces of glass, up through the rain, up at the forty- story office buildings with lights just blinking out.
Like a cricket in the forest looking up at the moon. Was there anything smaller than him in that entire city, looking up at its expanse? For a moment, he seemed like the center of it all.
Then, in a whisper, he said one word:
A few times my heart beat faster, as I mentally went through some of their stories. Other times I wiped my eyes on my sleeve and kept reading through the blur. An adventure like they experienced tugs at me in a way that’s hard to describe. I encourage you to pull up a seat on their big blue bus named Willie, and get lost in their 10,000 mile adventure.
Shawn Smucker is the author of How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp and Building a Life Out of Words. He lives in Lancaster County, PA with his wife Maile and their four children. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook, and he blogs (almost) daily at shawnsmucker.com. Maile blogs at mailesmucker.blogspot.com.