We often take travel for granted, but I remember a time when travel was celebrated. So much so that not only did we dress up to travel, but we dressed up to pick someone up from the airport, train station or bus terminal.
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Not only was travel expensive, it was not always available to people of color, so we appreciated the opportunity to take part in the process. As a child, I remember my grandmother frantically frying chicken and making pickled beets then packing them into a cooler for a trip to visit family. I didn’t realize that in some areas, restaurants would not serve us, so we were forced to pack our own food for a road trip.
Once laws were passed that allowed us to be served in restaurants and to travel by any mode we could afford, a trip to anywhere was celebrated. We put on our Sunday best to get on the bus, plane, train and made sure we made any family member who greeted us proud. Rental cars were rarely used back in the day.
The last time I flew to Florida, I sat next to a man who had not showered in quite awhile. I thought back fondly to the days of pickled beets and a cooler full of fried chicken, until I realized that I was travelling in blue jeans.