RoadTrip America

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The Ride of Our Lives: Roadside Lessons of an American Family, by Mike Leonard

5 hours on 4 CDs

The Ride of Our Lives

Noted NBC feature newsman Mike Leonard has rewarded us with a most heartwarming story of his personal life as he shares his adventures of taking his 82-year-old mother and 87-year-old father on a trip to refresh their memories of places they had known and to show them parts of the United States they had never seen. As Mike and three of his adult children and one daughter-in-law travel in two motor homes across the USA, the hilarious antics and remarks of Mike's parents Jack and Marge provide as much entertainment as the scenic countryside.

I constantly found myself laughing at the repartee between Jack, the optimist, and Marge, the pessimist. How these two polar opposites managed to stay married for over 60 years becomes apparent to Mike, his children and the listener as the journey progresses. This is a book that celebrates family and all of the joys and frustrations that come with living with and loving the people who make up our families. Instead of seeing his parents' idiosyncrasies as annoyances, Mike finds humor in them and translates them into an appreciation of what they've added to his and his children's lives.

In addition to the poignant and humorous look at family, this audio book describes some of America's unique and quirky roadside experiences, such as the bed-and-breakfast in Bayou country where the sign at the door says, "Pick a room. Take a key. We'll see you for breakfast." Mike's view of America makes the listener want to set out an adventure to discover the treasures he's found.

I highly recommend this book, even if the touching and heartwarming climax brings tears to your eyes as it did mine. Although Mike Leonard undertook this journey to give a precious gift to his parents, he gained so much more in knowledge, insight and awareness of his role as father, husband, son and fellow traveler, and we owe thanks to him for sharing his memorable moments with us.

John Mormon

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