From 2000 to 2009, hubs and I were blessed to be able to take my parents on several lengthy driving vacations.

Over the course of those ten years, we took them to five of the ten Canadian provinces, one of the three Canadian territories, and thirty two of the fifty US States.

Both of my parents were from a small Canadian prairie town of about 500 people and neither had traveled far or much over the course of their lives. We made it our mission to show them as much as we could in Canada and the USA.

A part of our goal was to not only show them as much as possible but to give them as many unique, memorable, and meaningful experiences as possible.

While driving through Mississippi, hubs stopped alongside a cotton field. He said he wanted to take a couple of cotton bolls home to show our grandchildren, but I knew that was only a guise. Mom and Dad hopped right out of the car to pick some cotton. My Dad talked about that experience many times over the coming years, often stating that he’d bet he was the only person from our home town to ever do that. My Mom is an accomplished guitar player and singer. One of her favourite songs to play was always “Cotton Fields”. Each time she’d play and sing it after that trip, she and Dad would smile at us and wink.

The rewards of these trips were many and have continued on to this day.

“Experience reveals your biases. And it reveals the holes in your thinking. And it informs you and enables you to become a much more complete and frankly, compassionate human being.”

Heather E. Heying