Doggonit, Give Me Some Directions that Make Sense

            I’m not good with directions.  In fact, I’d have to improve considerably to even be bad.  Useless terms like left, right, North, South, East, and West annoy me.  If people actually expect me to get somewhere, they need to be more specific.  “Turn off the interstate at exit 5.  Go the opposite direction you’ve been going and go three streets past Brookshire’s.   Drive just a minute or so and you’ll see a restaurant with the big cow in the parking lot.  Don’t turn there.  Drive to the next red light and turn on the street that turns between the WaWa and that hardware store with the inflatable lumberjack.  Watch for the ugly house with the silk flowers in the bucket of that tacky wishing well.  Pass it up, but now you need to start driving pretty slow.  You’ll see a big, old white house with a deep porch and all those ferns, kind of like the one Grandma lived in at Houston, the one where the woman living upstairs tossed her dirty mop water out on my head when I was sitting on the sidewalk playing. Boy, did Grandma have something to say to her!  Remember, it was just across the street from that big, old funeral home.   I just love those old houses, but I’ll bet they are expensive to heat.  About six houses down on the other side, there’s a little, blue house. I believe it used to be gray. If you look hard, you’ll see an old rusted out 1950 GMC like Aunt Ada and Uncle Junior used to drive, up on blocks way off to the side of the shed.  Remember how they used to toodle around with all those mean boys bouncing like popcorn in the back?  Anyway, our house is the yellow one with the big shade trees just across from it.  You can’t miss it. There’s a bottle tree out front.”

            Now I can’t miss with those directions.

New World Every Day

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Road trips are always a thrill, more so when I travel without my hubby.
  Born with no sense of direction whatsoever, fortunately I have a great sense of adventure and discovery.  Navigation devices help a little, but one does have to plug in all the right addresses and poor typing skills and dyslexia can make that a challenge.  Now that I think on it, I should get a medal whenever I arrive.

This past week, we ventured far afield.  While we visited relatives in Kansas, I took an afternoon off to visit an acquaintance.  Bud didn’t really want me to go off alone, but what can happen in twenty-five miles in rural Kansas.  Just so he’d be shamed, I drove straight to my destination and sent him a smug text.  I had a lovely visit and sent him a text to let him know I’d be arriving back in forty minutes.  A quasar must have hit the GPS.  While the trip over had been mostly via interstate, only one wrong turn confused the GPS.  You’d think they’d have gotten the bugs out of those things by now.  After a few turns and considerable dirt-road sight-seeing, I decided to check my progress.  Thinking maybe the devices was defective, I decided to try to put the address in again, forgetting the house number.   That didn’t worry me too much.  Surely there couldn’t be too man Lone Star Roads.  I drove and drove.  Finally, Bud fired a text at me, wanting to know when I’d get back.  “It shouldn’t be too long.  I am on Lonestar Road and just saw a sign saying I am back in Linn County.”

He whacked out.  “You dingbat!  Linn County is forty miles from here.  You are an hour in the wrong direction.  Pull over at the next crossroads and call back and tell me where you are.  By the way, how much gas do you have?”

“Uh oh.  The orange light is on and it says I have a range of forty miles.  Why did you let the truck get so low?”

“You had a half-a-tank when you left!  Where the Hell have you been?”

“I told you I was on Lone Star Road for a long time!”  I didn’t mention all the other places.  I hate to worry him about stuff like that.  He gets excited.

“Pull over and park!  Pull over and park and call me back.  I’ll come find you!”

“Okay, but maybe you should bring some gas!”  Now I was worried.

A few country miles later, I parked in front of the Cadmus Grange Building.  They were having a meeting at six-thirty, so I might make some new friends if he didn’t get there in a couple of hours, but hoped I wouldn’t have to wait that long.  It’s amazing how cold fourteen degrees can be, even if it’s a sunny day.  I decided to take some pictures.  I am glad I did since I may never get lost again.

Bud conferred with his relatives and as fate would have it, one of them had to pass that way on the way to visit us at Aunt Beulah’s.  He was kind enough to bring a can of gas and guide me there.  True enough, I was forty miles from my goal.  Who would have thought Lone Star Road extended across two or three counties?

Doggonit, Give Me Some Directions that Make Sense

            I’m not good with directions.  In fact, I’d have to improve considerably to even be bad.  Useless terms like left, right, North, South, East, and West annoy me.  If people actually expect me to get somewhere, they need to be more specific.  “Turn off the interstate at exit 5.  Go the opposite direction you’ve been going and go three streets past Brookshire’s.   Drive just a minute or so and you’ll see a restaurant with the big cow in the parking lot.  Don’t turn there.  Drive to the next red light and turn on the street that turns between the WaWa and that hardware store with the inflatable lumberjack.  Watch for the ugly house with the silk flowers in the bucket of that tacky wishing well.  Pass it up, but now you need to start driving pretty slow.  You’ll see a big, old white house with a deep porch and all those ferns, kind of like the one Grandma lived in at Houston, the one where the woman living upstairs tossed her dirty mop water out on my head when I was sitting on the sidewalk playing. Boy, did Grandma have something to say to her!  Remember, it was just across the street from that big, old funeral home.   I just love those old houses, but I’ll bet they are expensive to heat.  About six houses down on the other side, there’s a little, blue house. I believe it used to be gray. If you look hard, you’ll see an old rusted out 1950 GMC like Aunt Ada and Uncle Junior used to drive, up on blocks way off to the side of the shed.  Remember how they used to toodle around with all those mean boys bouncing like popcorn in the back?  Anyway, our house is the yellow one with the big shade trees just across from it.  You can’t miss it. There’s a bottle tree out front.”

            Now I can’t miss with those directions.

More Travels with Mother

hotmama.https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/the-low-down-on-lunch-with-mother/
Travels With Mother (Part 2)

The Most Fun You’ll Never Have, Kathleen’s Amazing Bathroom Tour!

It’s Not What You Tank!

 

God was with us.  We got to our destination, Hot Springs, Arkansas without a lot more drama.  We checked into our room, a nice suite with two king-sized beds and an extra bed for the fifth in our party.  For some reason, though it was 104 degrees, we freshened up a bit before going out to see the town, allowing us to start out with a less vintage sweat.  Within minutes, we were rank.  Not to be deterred by a little thing like heat exhaustion, we explored every shop on Main Street, till Mother found a little shop selling belly-dancing costumes. She wouldn’t be budged.  Now, as I’ve said before, Mother is tight.  She had no intention of making such a frivolous purchase, but had to admire herself in one. Every inch of the stifling shop was crammed with exotic outfits with no space devoted to dressing rooms. The proprietor obviously didn’t expect belly-dancers to be overly modest. Not to be denied, Mother just slipped her favorite on over her clothes, despite the heavy customer traffic. She is a little old church lady, after all.  I would never have expected so much business in a store selling belly-dancing costumes. 

Mother had us hold her things while she tottered and struggled into her racy choice, bumping customers at every turn.  They had to have thought her mind was gone and we should have looked out for her better, or that we were in geriatric sex-trade, pimping her out to some perverted creature with a fetish for demented, antique belly-dancers.  Neither choice made us look good.  Eventually, she pranced a bit and had us take a picture or two for her Sunday School Class, before being convinced to leave.  The store clerk was not amused by any of this, but I figured if she thought she was big enough to straighten Mother out, she could go for it.  I know when I am whipped. 

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An amused motorcycle guy and his girlfriend were taking all this in and invited Mother to meet their friends waiting on their bikes just outside. I think the burly guys exact words were, “She reminds me so much of my mama!” With him as Mother’s escort, we escaped the wrath of the store owner who was obviously thought it was past time we left.

Mother charmed his friends.  Her new friend invited her for a ride, which she refused, but she did climb behind him on his bike to get her picture made.  Regretfully, he helped her off, after telling her, “Ma’am, you don’t have to go home with these girls if you don’t want to.  We coaxed her away after she exchanged phone numbers and addresses with them, insisting they all come visit.  
Later that evening, we made it back to our hotel, only to find the air-conditioning and bathroom both out of order in our room.  Mother took charge, went to see the manager, and got us transferred to the only room they had left, the Presidential Suite, complete with a hot-spring bath.  I suspect the manager thought, “She reminds me of my mama.”  For once, a bathroom drama with Mother worked in our favor.

We enjoyed the rest of our visit.  On the way home, my sister Connie hung her purse strap on a toilet handle and broke the toilet in a station.  She takes after Mother.

 

Travels With Mother (Part 5)

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/the-low-down-on-lunch-with-mother/
https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/01/06/travels-with-mother-part-2/

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/the-most-fun-youll-never-have-kathleens-amazing-bathroom-tour/

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/its-not-what-you-tank/

 

 

 

Continuation

Once we’d gone enough miles it was unlikely we would be apprehended with bathroom destruction with malice aforethought, I pulled into a nice looking station/store.  This one looked like it was progressive enough to have excellent bathroom facilities, which we sorely in needed by now, since Mother was the only one who got to use the restroom at the last stop.  For neck she generously, encouraged her daughters to go first, which we lived to regret. I’d have loved to have laid the blame at her door for what we found. Marilyn, my youngest sister, rushed in to relieve her agonized bladder.  In three seconds, she rushed out, “Oh, my gosh!  You’ve got to see this!” 

She obviously hadn’t had time to take care of any business. As mother of two teen-aged girls, the manager of a call-center, and youngest of five children, it takes something special to rattle her.

Like an idiot, I followed her in.  Someone, a very healthy eater by the way, had obviously paid a visit. The nauseating smell of fermented feces greeted us as we entered the bathroom.  It was horrendous, but I’ve been known to raise a stink myself.

Upon opening the stall, I saw a perfect liquefied poop sunburst splattered above the toilet.  Obviously, someone in great distress had blown a gasket as just as they stooped to settle in for a satisfying moment of quality time alone.  The toilet fixtures, the wall behind the toilet, the floor, and the stall wall were covered artistically with a thoroughly natural medium.  It doesn’t bear thinking of the condition of that poor unfortunate perpetrator of the masterpiece as she exited the store! We scurried out to tell the disgusted clerk what we’d found, only to find numerous visitors had already enlightened her.  That’s when we learned about the worst job in the world.  An industrial service was on its way.

Once more, courting legal problems, we decided to stand guard for each other and use the Men’s Room. Normally, I would have been disgusted, but compared to what we’d just seen, it smelled like a rose.

To be continued.

Superman and Grits

Cathy and Linda0001

 

This is me pictured with my cousin Cathy on a visit to their family in Baton Rouge. On this memorable trip, I was first introduced to grits.  It was instant love.  A year or two later Cathy told me Superman had killed himself.  I was sincerely devastated.  If Superman couldn’t deal, what hope was there for the rest of us?

 

Cookie and Uncle Riley (Part II repost)

Cookie and Uncle Riley

Cookie and Uncle Riley

This is a repost of one of my earlier stories, my mother’s recounting of a trip with eccentric relatives.  My mother, Kathleen Swain did the illustration.

People came and went. The waitress cleared the other tables and pointedly checked on Mother a few times, staring at the uneaten breakfasts and serving her enough coffee refills to float a battleship. She dawdled as long as she dared, hoping her nemeses would come back to retrieve her before the arrest. She occupied her time well, alternating between Continue reading