Queen of the Road

Doreen Orion

Queen of the Road

“Of course I had to take a break from nature for the duty every Princess must perform once in her lifetime – the pilgrimage to Mecca, which in my kingdom is known as the Mall of America.

Roaming it was a workout all in itself – the highest form, in fact, as it combined the truly great indoors with...shopping! Tim, however, was a bit put off by the crowds and dowdiness of it all (neither of which I noticed). While I bought some blouses, he headed over to Ikea, a place he'd heard tell of, but had never actually been in. Once inside and fully grasping what it was all about, his Project Nerd sensibilities became highly offended at the notion of giving people the false sense of his sacrosanct, do-it-yourself ethos, when all they were really doing was connecting the dots.”

Queen of the Road, the literary selection this month, is a funny and offbeat tale written by Doreen Orion, the self-proclaimed Princess in the passage above. She and her husband, Tim, are psychiatrists who decide to hit the road, traveling cross-country for a year in a converted bus (at the suggestion of Tim). Along with their two cats, one poodle, Doreen's 100 pairs of shoes, and the bus with 'a will of its own' this intrepid duo travel 22,000 miles through 47 states, encountering everything from flood to fire to armed robbery. Each chapter begins amusingly with the recipe for a custom-made cocktail, all with humorous names, of course!

“I love this area of the country, the Finger Lakes, although I never really got the whole 'Finger' part. I mean, if you look at a map, there are actually eleven of them, even though only seven are commonly admitted into the fingerhood. Who has seven, or, for that matter, eleven finger? Perhaps the area was once struck by a radioactive meteor, leading early cartographers to accurately reflect, through honorary nomenclature, the supplemental digits on their subsequent mutated generations. Or perhaps these communities, smug in their abundant natural beauty, are giving the finger(s) to the rest of the state? Whatever the rationale, I heart New York's Finger Lakes.”

In another passage, Ms. Orion writes:

“Although during our entire visit thus far I could not understand why anyone would want to live in Van Buren, that night I found myself charmed. As we sat out on the deck, surrounded by tall, graceful trees, night fell and hummingbirds gave way to fireflies. A deer and her fawn lingered at the edge of the yard. But it was not until I was enveloped by the easy company of longtime friends that I could understand how people might want to settle here.”

Always entertaining and often hilarious, Queen of the Road is a wonderful memoir, and thoroughly enjoyable. Be sure to read all about it!

Copyright 2009, S. Halversen.
All Rights Reserved.