Part of the
pleasure in coming home is remembering a trip. I thought of the odd
things I didn’t write about, mostly things that didn’t fit anywhere
else. Toothpaste is one of them. Does toothpaste go bad? My
dentist gives patients a tiny tube at every six-month visit. I had
three of them in my bag. It was late, and I was tired, so I presumed
the paste looked gray because I was looking at a bit of gray sealing
film. A day or so later I saw the paste itself was not white or blue
or striped. I shrugged and used it anyway, figuring if it was
lethal, I’d already be dead.
John plays a license plate game when driving. He has done this as long as I can remember. He glances at a vehicle he is passing and notes the state it comes from. When the children were little, he said the name out loud and occasionally had a map for them to color in each state he found. I should ask if it helped them with geography. The game begins when we pull out of the driveway and ends when we come home. He found all but four of the lower 48 states on this trip. We have seen Alaska plates occasionally and one from Hawaii only once. Would it be classified as distracted driving? Maybe not, because John is far-sighted, and he has memorized the distinctive colors. He also knows which states have tags on the back only and those with tags on front and back. When he sees gold and dark blue in the rear mirror, he says, “Here comes a New Yorker.”
The most amazing
thing about this game is that he keeps it all in his head! If I were
playing, I’d write the list in alphabetical order and wouldn’t know
which states were missing. After driving for several hours, I’ll ask
what he has found. He’ll say he has all the northern states from
Maine to California or all those from New England. On this trip he
had everything east of the Mississippi River except three in the
northeast. By that, you can tell he has a permanent map in his head.
The states he spotted probably glowed in living color. How can one
head hold all that information as he drives for thousands of miles?
John sees more
while driving than I do while concentrating on looking out of the
window. He saw a hearse pulling a boat! Tennesseans take fishing
and boating seriously, so I’m wondering if yesterday there was a
casket in a boat for one last ride around the lake.
There is always
one motel room that was the worst. This trip, it was the last one.
The outside looked fine, and the desk clerk seemed normal. We had
our suspicions when we got out of the elevator and smelled air
freshener. Surely the room would be okay. We opened the door and
were hit by the overpowering smell of odd flowers. You know how
suspicious people in the movies search for a bug that records their
voices? We looked for the air freshener with the same intensity. We
think it was in the air conditioner, so we turned it off. Luckily we
didn’t bake through the night.
During the last
trip, I complained about toilets designed for short six-year-olds.
This time we had a bathroom designed for a basketball player, one
with six-foot arms. The toilet paper holder was on the opposite wall
from the toilet! What was the designer thinking? Walking across the
bathroom to get toilet paper is not normal.
The bathroom high
point was a newly installed sink. I wash hose every night, and I can
tell you that 90% of the time the stopper won’t work in a motel room.
I’ve seen a stopper so crooked that it couldn’t fit in the hole.
Most lead you to believe you can trust them for five minutes, and
they suck the water out in ten seconds. I’m surprised they don’t
slurp and burp. Well, this good one was like newer tub stoppers, the
kind you step on to close. No, I didn’t use my foot in the sink. I
pressed it with my hand, and it would have held water for 24 hours!
Stoppers in heaven are going to work like that.
heaven, coming home was heavenly. It was way past lunchtime, so John
took David and me out to lunch at Bogart’s. David and I flopped in
chairs in front of the TV, while John packed for his early-morning
departure to the train club. We chatted while watching some show
about rehabbing mansions. I walked through our non-mansion house,
and I was pleased with the neatness of it (!!!), the height of the
ceilings, and the spaciousness and lightness of the rooms. Dark
colors are “in” for motel décor, and my reaction was
appreciation for light and space to move about. How blessed we are
to live here!