Back in April, the Hubs and I flew to Dallas for a few days to knock the Cowboys stadium tour off his bucket list. You can read a little bit about that and how I managed to keep my so-not-a-sports-fan brain occupied while he ogled his way through the three-million-square-foot facility. (I’m surprised we didn’t have to hook him up to an electrolyte drip afterward from drool-induced dehydration.)
The following day, we went downtown for a walking/driving tour of the area, specifically covering the events on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I have a hard time pretending to be a sports fan, but I can be a temporary fan of history during immersive experiences with veteran guides and keep my snark and attitude in check. Not a fan of the tours where the guide memorized a speech and if you ask a question or they get distracted, they must start again from the top of the script. Those are a little tedious.
Luckily, our guide was an older-ish local who remembers the barometric pressure of Dallas during this significant event. Preston even had ties to some of the peripheral players of that time. Very cool. And my marker of a great experience is this: Would I do the JFK tour again? Yes, absolutely. Would I tour the stadium again? No, but I’m glad to have seen it. The Hubs would pitch a tent on the 50-yard line and live there; to each their own.
But don’t ask me about all the details (temporary fan, remember?). Most didn’t get processed correctly—it’s hard to keep track of Little Miss Muse on trips like this, and corralling her takes all kinds of mental energy.
But I do remember a few key details of our tour:
- The John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza and the scrutiny it fell under because it wasn’t “beautiful.” (More on that in a future post.)
- People are insane.
- “The car’s moving,” and the goosebumps that phrase resurrected on my arms.
Regarding No. 2, while we meandered from block to block, listening to our guide explain in minute detail an immensely complicated series of events of November 22, 1963, we came to the spots where the shots flew into the motorcade.
The city has marked X’s on Elm Street—a road that is still in use with high-speed traffic, mind you. And folks on both sides of the road—some in tour groups and some solo-ing—were jumping into traffic to take selfies on the X’s. So, if you ask me what our guide was talking about during those moments, I can’t tell you because I was distracted by the phenomenon and a little aghast.
I shook my head and figured natural selection would surely kick in at some point and, well. I should be careful. My snark is showing…
Regarding No. 3, our guy detailed, in near-second intervals, how the motorcade proceeded, when the shots were fired, etc. We would walk maybe twenty feet, and he’d stop us to explain in real-time what happened that day. Haunting.
Then he’d point further down the walkway and declare as we moved another twenty feet, “The car’s moving.”
Over and over.
Section by section of road.
“Car’s still moving.”
Preston’s storytelling hooked me to the point of goosebumps. Little Miss even settled herself in the seriousness of the moment. Imagine the sheer terror and confusion inside that limo that day. And the car kept going. Another X. Seconds, each one feeling like an eternity…
Another twenty feet.
“Car’s still moving.”
On and on…
After much sorrow and grief, our nation healed from that day, but it was never the same again. And it took a long time to “get out of the car” and find our feet.
Now, months removed from this tour, I can close my eyes, and I’m back in Dallas, standing on Elm Street with views of Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll, thinking about that day in 1963. Seeing Preston pointing down the road…
“The car’s moving.”
It’s been a rough year for lots of folks, certainly not on the level of a presidential assassination, but personal battles of a lifetime, their proverbial cars rolling on despite hits that won’t stop.
Section of life by section of life.
Confusion. Terror. Sorrow. Grief.
But here’s the thing (and here the analogy breaks down, but hang with me): At some point, the hits stop coming.
The car will stop.
We’ll get out, find our feet.
Those high-octane emotions will subside, and, with time, the stories will emerge. Stories of conquering and growth and survival…
Goosebump-resurrecting victories, even.