Last week, we found out that my uncle was in the hospital after a series of strokes. We dropped everything and went as soon as we could, so here is a look at seriously edited "highlights" of the latest road trip with my parents:
The overcast day turned into full fledged biblical proportion rainfall about the time we hit West Virginia. Then it turned into a massive hail storm as we went through Charleston. Ever driven on an interstate in a hail storm? I don't recommend it.
The last stretch of the trip down to Jacksonville- following our directions, we got off I-40 onto Back Road X and drove 15 or so miles before being routed onto another stretch. My mother cheerfully piped up “Oh, this must be the new highway they were working on!” Having been watching the signs, I dourly informed her that we’d just done a 15 mile side trip to be dumped back onto I-40 approximately 3 miles from where we left it in the first place.
We found our hotel and my father went straight into the room and claimed the bed closest to the TV…leaving US to unload the car. He did finally get up and grudgingly hold the room door open so we could lug in all the bags. As usual, my parents packed more luggage than the circus. They claimed every bit of storage space in the room except the little drawer that held the Gideon bible and yellow pages. I spent the weekend getting dressed out of my suitcase, which I had to haul up and down off the top of the wardrobe cabinet.
Tommy agreed to check the house and collect the mail for me since I forgot to ask a neighbor to do it. He then spent the weekend sending me texts about the stray cat in my yard (Are you sure it’s not yours? She keeps acting like I should feed her) and telling me that my neighbors came out to gawk every time he pulled up to the house.
My parents kept fighting for the larger share of the bed and blankets. Daddy finally said to Mom, “Why don’t you go sleep with your daughter?” (mind you, I was all of 3 feet away from them) Mom said “Are you crazy? Look at her!” Apparently I was stretched diagonally across the bed and spinning like a top. Daddy said later that I tossed and turned so much he thought I looked like an old fashioned egg beater. All I can say is thank heaven for my ear plugs & sleep mask. Somebody would have died without them.
Sunday, I took my dad to the Piggly Wiggly to look for his favorite country bacon & sausage. Some old church lady was there giving him the evil eye and glaring at me. I finally got tired of it, so I said “hey Dad, I’m going to look at the coffee aisle.” Turns out she thought he was a lecherous old coot and I was his younger bit of fluff. When I got back, she was flirting with him and told me how cute my daddy was. I said “my mom thinks so” and dragged ‘cutie pie’ off.
Aunt Myrt & their pastor tried to play matchmaker for me, telling me about some ‘boy’ in their congregation that I should get to know. Uncle John lifted his head and yelled “That boy is 46 years old, never kept a job, and still lives with his momma! Baby girl can do WAY better than that!”
I think there were a few more moments worth sharing, but I’m going blank right now. Anyway, Uncle John is holding on. We wanted to stay longer, but I had to come back to work, and he didn't want us to see him like that. Then, on the way out of town, my sister called to say her husband had suffered another heart attack. We detoured to Wilmington to see them, and then made the long drive home. I got home at about 4 this morning. I fell asleep around 8. Had to be at work at 2:30, so you can imagine my delight when the alarm went off....