The Englishman was determined that we empty out my storage unit which was located 24 miles away at Lake Oconee. There wasn’t much left, but it would take three trips in my faded green gas guzzling pickup truck. The first two trips were uneventful and we returned Sunday afternoon to finish the job. After loading a sideboard and a wardrobe into the back of the truck, we precariously loaded the queen sized mattress and box spring on either side, securing them in place with a solitary yellow tow rope. I looked doubtfully up at the teepee shape the mattresses formed over the other pieces of furniture. The Englishman assured me that it would be fine and revved up the engine. As we pulled onto the main road, the truck crept up to twenty-five miles per hour and a long line of cars followed. In a display of rare generosity, The Englishman pulled over to allow seven vehicles to pass while we brainstormed our route home. Driving over 25mph was out of the question as it created gusts of wind that tested the strength of the single strap holding our piece de resistance in place. We chose our path, realizing that home would be an hour away at the rate of speed we were driving.

It was a beautiful fall afternoon and we rolled the windows down to enjoy the fresh air. At 25mph, my hair did not obscure my vision or become tangled. At 25, we saw an eagle perched in a tree and had plenty of time to watch it as we drove slowly by. At 25 we were able to hear the goats bleating in a farm field. It sounded like laughter to me and I imagined the goats conversing about the strange truck creeping along the road. At 25, we could hear the sound of running hooves as the teenaged cows outran us to reach the newly placed hay at the other end of the field. At 25, I was able to spot an overly decorated yard with brightly colored flowers, statues and concrete benches and still had time to question the absence of garden gnomes. At 25, we could clearly see the hidden driveways tucked between the pine trees. At 25, we gave hope to dogs, which before our approach were snoozing lazily in patches of sun and were now on red alert, racing the truck along their property lines. At 25, the squirrels that darted across the road were fearless. The Englishman slowed at the low railroad bridge and we strained to read the faded letters on the top that indicated its maximum height. Eight feet? Nine? He inched forward and I cringed until we safely passed beneath the underpass to the other side. At 25, we could smell the fall flowers and freshly cut grass. At 25, I could read the yard signs advertising “Fire Wood”, “Cucumbers” and “Farm Fresh Eggs” and I even had time to make note of the phone numbers. As we pulled into the security of our driveway, I was a bit sad that our journey was complete and I wondered if I would ever have another opportunity to slow it down and just drive 25.