Jersey love: joywalk/joyride.

joy·ride [joi-rahyd] 

1. a pleasure ride in an automobile, especially when the vehicle is driven recklessly or used without the owner's permission.
2. a brief, emotionally exciting interlude.

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As much as I would love to say that we were daredevils living out definition #1, we did have permission to take my mom's red Jeep for a joyride.  We left our daughter happily playing on the lawn with Mimi so we could finally have a few moments to ourselves and cruise in the 75 degree sunshine through the hills of Basking Ridge, New Vernon, and Mendham.

After purchasing a special wrench from the local hardware store and wrangling the strength of four adults, we finally managed to remove the hard top from the Jeep.  And then we set out.  Sweet FREEEEEEDOM!

We didn't have a particular destination in mind - we just drove in the general direction of hills and horse farms and old mills and streams down deserted quiet winding roads.  We had heard of a restaurant in "The Hills" section of Basking Ridge that we'd wanted to try called Fresh.  We decided to go check it out.

When we saw this on the restaurant window, we knew it was exactly what we were looking for...

It was bright and cheery inside...


...but we got our food to-go so we could eat it under the bare sky.  We shared their Vietnamese chicken salad and a housemade chicken salad sandwich on a soft, sweet brioche bun.  But the crowning beauty of our meal?  Oh, just this unbelievable ice cream sandwich - vanilla soft-serve ice cream rolled in Oreo crumbles and served between two chewy sugar cookies.  These are the kinds of things you eat on vacation {droooool}. 

Sticky hands, ice cream in my tummy, sunshine on my face, alone time with my love...a perfect date it was.

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Then, the next day, it rained.  Rain?  What's that again?? Coming from the extreme drought in Texas, it had been so long since we'd seen it - not just a few droplets, but giant, soaking golf-ball sized rain that makes imprints on the blacktop. 

And afterwards, it was lush and golden outside, and we knew a walk was in order.  If there's such a thing as a joyride, why not a joywalk?  We owed it to Texas to rejoice in the rain, to revel in it, and to pray for the same kindness to fall back home.