Jersey and/or New Jersey must be embedded in my mind: last week I raved about seeing The Jersey Four   perform the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons’ sensational song book.  This week I am going to pull you into the feelings of fear and anxiety that took hold of me on a trip to New Jersey.

It was shortly after Art had passed away and I was on my way to spend the weekend with my sister, Roe, and her two golden retrievers.  I was looking forward to spending quality time with her and taking a break from life and sadness here in New York. It was late afternoon and I had an almost two-hour ride ahead of me.  My Chrysler 300  was waxed and shining, gassed up and packed: suitcase, a few doggie toys for Sprocket and Sierra and a fresh cup of coffee.  I could stack three CDs at a time—can’t do that in new cars of today—so I loaded my favorites:  Eagles, Bee Gees and complete set of Phantom of the Opera.  There was plenty of music for the round trip.  I was all set!

Being a Friday afternoon, the traffic on the Turnpike was heavy but moving well.  I was wheeling right along toward the New Brunswick exit, singing along with the Eagles’ “Lyin’ Eyes.”  Of course you know what happened next:  Yep, I sped right past the exit!!  

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I don’t remember the next exit—I’d never gone further than the New Brunswick exit where I’d then travel to Spotswood where Roe lived.  It took me a while to get off the Turnpike and after a few turns, I was in total darkness, the only light coming from my headlights and absolutely no road signage.  I called Roe from the car phone and shakily announced my situation:  “It is so dark here, I see a building with no lights, no other houses or stores and plenty of totally black, spooky woods.  Where am I, Roe?”

“Tee Tee, I have no idea where you are!  How did you get there?”

“I was so busy singing with the Eagles that I whizzed right by the exit!  I’m going to turn around and go up this road to my left and see if there is any civilization.”

“Be careful, Tee Tee.  I don’t like this!”  Neither did I, little sister.

As I carefully drove up the road, my heart was pounding and I had difficulty catching my breath; what if someone came out of the darkness and began  following me or even tried to break into my car; what if my car broke down...I was frightened out of my mind! Believe me, I was a strong candidate for an anxiety attack.

Suddenly I saw light ahead and came to a fork in the road.  Appearing like a gift from the Travel God was a sign:  “Jamesberg.”  Roe had lived there before moving to Spotswood.  I relayed the information and the name of the road.  

“Okay, I know where you are and I’ll get you to my place—I’ll have a fresh pot of coffee waiting!”  I think I settled for something stronger when I finally arrived!

“Tee Tee, you never do stuff like this!”

“Oh, you are so right!  Just blame it on the Eagles!”