Roasting Peanuts in the Back Window


By Iebrueau at English wikipedia


Crossing the Mojave Desert

When I was really young, I’m guessing eight or nine, my family set out on a road trip to Twenynine Palms, California, to visit with my Uncle Chuck who was stationed at the Marine training facility there. We crossed all of New Mexico and Arizona along the way, including a really long stretch through the Mojave Desert. During the daytime. During the summer. Whew! It was hot.

We made a caravan with my mom’s parents to travel across the western half of the United States to do it. They drove a Chevrolet Caprice, I think, and we drove our recently-purchased, used, blue Chevrolet Impala with the 4-85 A/C.  That’s four windows, 85 mph, for you new folks.

We had a four-door sedan instead of the super-cool, two-door coupe shown above. But our Impala was that exact shade of blue. That V8 could fly, but we stayed at low altitude so as to not attract unwelcome attention. No, we didn’t wear seat belts. In fact, I’m not at all sure that the back seat came with any safety equipment. That was back in the day, but a woman has to keep a few secrets. We’ll leave the exact year out of this discussion.

My memories of the trip are vague. I remember it was HOT. My sister, Trish, and I played games, read books, asked are-we-there-yet, and generally had a great time bouncing around in the back of the car.

Roasting Peanuts in the Back Window

This was in the days of the occasional Dairy Queen before McDonalds became quite so ubiquitous. And besides, we were poor as church mice. Mom packed lots of food from home, and we ate bologna and cheese at rest stops. But we sure had fun.

we-miss-out-if-we-say-we-dont-have-enough-money-or-material-things-to-make-memoriesMost of my memories from that trip are cloudy with age, but one that is still crystal clear is my sister and I spreading peanuts on the back shelf beneath the back window (you can kinda see it in the photo). Remember, it was HOT. Hotter than a kiln. Hotter than a dutch oven nestling in the coals of a fire. But, regardless, Trish and I wanted our peanuts to be freshly roasted for optimal eating pleasure. I’m here to report that I’ve never had any peanuts that tasted better!

Making the Best of Less

The trip across the desert was important because we spent it with family. We learned about our country by watching it pass by our open windows. We met strangers when we stopped to help the stranded lady with the broken-down car beside the highway. We made do with what we had. We grew together because we took on a quest together.

It sounds like I got lost in the past, but I also got to thinking how we miss out if we say we don’t have enough money or material things to make memories. If you take the time  and make the best of less, you can create memories that will last. And you might learn a few lessons along the way.

So get out there and roast some peanuts in the back window!

Do you have memories of making the best of less?


A1047webTexas author, Kathrese McKee, writes epic adventures for young adults and anyone else who enjoys pirates and princesses combined with life’s difficult questions. She is committed to exciting stories, appropriate content, and quality craftsmanship.

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11 thoughts on “Roasting Peanuts in the Back Window

  1. PLEASE tell me the year you were crossing the Mojave Desert! I lived there for four horrendous months in 1967. While I’m assuming you were there a bit later, wouldn’t it be neat if you were traveling by while I was living on a mountainside trying to survive the culture shock?

    Liked by 2 people

    • My mom thinks it was early 70s, but I don’t think it was as late as that. No way. I think we were living in Amarillo at the time (third grade), but it wasn’t as early as 1967. The car was definitely a ’65 model, though. We bought it used, but I really loved that Impala.


  2. Such great advice about making memories. I remember similar family trips, packed a station wagon and later in a van, visiting family in Florida. Good times…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My grandparents had a ’64 Impala. I called it the Deming-Park-Feed-the-ducks car because Grandpa drove it on his days off. You can guess what my favorite activity was. 😏
    We did a lot of traveling in our Disge truck Club Cab & pickup camper. I was obsessed with playgrounds but my parents preferred National Parks where there wasn’t as much as a swing in sight. One place my sister and I turned a rotating trash can holder into a merry-go-round. I’ve teeter-tottered on numerous boards over logs, and my sister and I had a comedy routine that only required one of those raised charcoal grills at picnic/campsites and a jump rope. We took turns playing organ grinder & monkey. I so wanted a pioneer outfit. I made due with a blanket tied around my waist and an inflatable doll chair tied on as a bonnet.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Fun post Kathrese! Likely being the eldest in the group, I’d have to say that the best memories were had when we were also on road trips with the rest of the family. But our car was a very old Pontiac Parisienne. Most Sunday’s we’d just head out on mystery tours of BC. At least five kids would squish into the back seat and two in the front. Seat belts? ha ha, no…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, as the oldest of 5 kids in a definitely-not-wealthy family, I definitely remember us always making the best of less. When we’d go on road trips, 4 of us kids would cram in the back seat and my youngest brother sat on the arm rest between my parents. And I appreciated the fun and family time. I sometimes wonder if my daughter has the same appreciation…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hated sitting in the middle up front. There was always coffee and smoke and adult talk in the front seat while everyone else was having fun in the back. I wonder about my kids having fun on road trips too. One of our favorite things to do was listen to audio books together. We especially enjoyed “Hank the Cowdog” and anything by James Herriott. Now it’s one long music session. Thanks for sharing.


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