I had been perfectly well all semester UNTIL the Sunday before we left.
Got a bad cold. No fever, no infection but enough congestion to choke a horse and bad enough that over the counter stuff just wasn’t cutting it. Went to physician on Tuesday, he confirmed my diagnosis of a cold – gave me higher powered OTC stuff and said I’d be fine by Saturday.
And I believed him.
Well, Dr. D and I gave our finals, turned in our grades, packed our suitcases and waited. It was Thursday the 9th. Our flight was at 10:15 on Saturday the 11th.
Later that evening we journeyed over to Big Cal’s and Mini Maureen’s to take them a piece of luggage that they were schlepping down there for us. You see, they had decided to road trip it in the new big F150 extended cab pickup. I didn’t worry too much. They enjoyed car travel, could see a part of the country that they hadn’t been too in a while, and more importantly, HAUL LUGGAGE. I was good. I only took them a large duffle that had a video camera and Christmas goodies in it. Deanster asked them to take a tripod and some additional camera equipment.
Big C took us out to the garage to show us the truck. The bed housed exactly 3 items – which completely filled it.
“This” said Big Cal, pointing to giant lidded Rubbermaid container “is full of groceries.”
I looked at Dr. D who was smiling and nodding in appreciation and understanding at my father. I was confused.
First, Mini Maureen does not often choose to cook. Don’t get me wrong, when she does it is wonderful, but it just isn’t something she enjoys. Second, Mini Maureen does not camp. An exceptionally nice Ramada Inn is about as low on the hotel chain ladder as she is want to go. Third, my parents do not have any special dietary needs I am aware of that would cause them to buy out the local Tom Thumb before they left.
Now, I’m panicky and paranoid…is there another hurricane predicted? Are there no local WalMarts to go to in Orlando for last minute necessities? So I ask, “What kind of groceries, Dad?” “Oh, you know, stuff I like… peanut butter and crackers, ‘squirt cheese,’ pecan sandies cookies.”
Well, I hate that I had to out you on the net, but Big C, you are a junk food junkie! For those of you who don’t understand the term ‘squirt cheese,’ it is a processed cheese food (food may be a strong word here) housed in an aerosol can.
You know… he’s made it this far…we think it is because he has ingested so many preservatives.
“Okay,” I say, “What’s in this?” I point to second giant lidded Rubbermaid container which is wedged between the first giant lidded Rubbermaid container and the industrial sized ice chest.
“Socks and underwear.”
Big C had all of their non-sockandunderware clothing hanging from a rack across the back seat of the extended cab.
“Daddy,” I said, “Are you ever coming back?”
He really got into this aspect of their trip. He has a laptop (that he built a special custom platform for so that it sits level and at the correct height in the truck) and a GPS program so that he can continually monitor their progress and exactly pinpoint where they are. He has been retired for about 2 years and has really gotten into technology and computer skills.
Hugs all around and we tell them not to hit warp speed and get to Orlando before Sunday because they don’t have reservations until then.
(T Minus 24 hours) Friday, Dec 10th.
Phone rings at 8 am. It’s Big C…
“I’m on my way to Florida and you're not, nyah, nyah, nyah!”
I think he is excited.
Phone rings at 11 am. It’s Mini…
“Had coffee with your Aunt and Uncle earlier in Bossier City. Headed south.
Phone rings at 5:30 pm. It’s Mini…
“Guess where I am?”
I’m thinking somewhere in Louisiana, right?
“I’m in the floorboard.”
“Mother, why are you in the floorboard?”
“Well, we are on the bridge at New Orleans crossing the Mississippi.”
Okay, I totally understand. I, too, have a phobia that borders on hysteria about high bridges. If Dr. D and I cross the mighty Mississippi at Memphis, he MUST drive. I can do it at St. Louis, (not Eads Bridge, but the other one) but not Memphis. The thought of the bridge at New Orleans makes me want to hurl.
“You’ll be over soon,” I say sympathetically.
“Nope, we are stuck – some big fire…”
Did she say fire??? On the bridge??? My parents are STUCK on a bridge over the Mississippi and something is on FIRE. Wait…I should keep listening…
“…it’s on the shore line, Dad can see it. We just aren’t moving, except when big boats go under and it vibrates a little. That’s why I’m in the floorboard.” She giggles. It’s a nervous little giggle but I can tell she’s fine and enjoying the drama of it all.
I continue to get reports until they settle for the night somewhere in Mississippi.
I blow my nose, take more Robitussin and try to sleep until morning.
Next chapter - 3, 2, 1 - we have ignition!!