Over a Few Rivers, Out of the Woods

“Off again,
On again,
Gone again,
Flanagan.”

Thus began our journey northwest from Tallahassee to meet our children and grandchildren for a family Christmas in Nashville, TN. With my mother-in-law, Saint Helen, along for the ride, Studly Doright and I set out on our eight hour trip on Thursday morning. We were in no great hurry, since the house we are renting wouldn’t be available until Friday afternoon.

Saint Helen and I took turns riding shotgun next to Studly in the front seat. I enjoyed my turn riding in the backseat, taking note of texting drivers and giving them dirty looks. Saint Helen is too nice for that task, though, but she and Studly enjoy visiting.

Just north of Montgomery, Alabama, we stopped at a Bass Pro Shop to stretch our legs and use the restroom facilities. If you’ve never visited a Bass Pro Shop, you’re missing out on a grand experience.


The stores are humongous. 


And chock full of everything an outdoorsman or woman could possibly need:


Boats and guns share space with crossbows and fishing gear, shoes and clothing. Most disturbing are the dead animals displayed in abundance:


This guy posed with me:



There is a shooting gallery with fake guns:


Rows and rows of the real thing:


An archery section:


An aquarium with live animals instead of those stuffed ones that were displayed hither and yon:


A general store and a fudge shop with real fudge for sale. No fake fudge here!

We spent an hour or so wandering around Bass Pro Shop before climbing back into the car. No stuffed animals were injured in the writing of this post. 

Tallahassee Auto Museum

Last Sunday Studly Doright and I took his mom, Saint Helen, to the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. Even though Studly and I have been in Tallahassee a little over three years, this was our first visit to the museum that sits just off Interstate 10 east of Tallahassee.

Elvis Mobile
Weird horse statue greets visitors

Here are just a few of the automobiles on display. The array was dizzying. 

Amphibious car–LBJ had one and loved to prank guests to his Texas ranch by driving into his lake.
Studebaker Avanti: The front looks like the rear.
Disturbing!
DeLorean
Studly and Saint Helen

Batman had his own section.


There were motorcycles in abundance:



Boats


Boat motors:


Tricycles and pedal cars:




Steinway Pianos:






Cash registers:


A vampire hunting kit (I really think I need one):


And lots of other goodies:


Hearse believed to be used to convey Lincoln’s body.

The museum, with its eclectic array of memorabilia, provided us with a couple of hours of entertainment. I think I’m still suffering from antique overload. 

Peace, people.

Mannequin Mania

Studly Doright, Saint Helen, and I toured the Tallahassee Automobile Museum on Sunday. Sure, there were tons of cars and a variety of other seemingly random collections (i.e. dolls, golf balls, pianos, knives, guns, outboard motors, toys, motorcycles, etc.), but I was drawn to the mannequins.

Creepy or cool?



Peace, people!

Hands

My hands are sixty years old, and not the least bit shy about letting everyone know. Several years ago, back when they were only fifty, my hands and I had lunch with two of my oldest and dearest friends. I hadn’t seen these ladies in quite some time, so we had much catching up to do.

We chatted with each other over plates of delicious Tex Mex cuisine at a restaurant in Dallas, alternately reminiscing about our shared histories and filling in the blanks where our paths had diverged. 

They’d both gotten their degrees four years after graduating from high school, marrying and having children only after they’d accomplished that educational milestone. My route was different. I’d married Studly, had two children, and then worked on earning my college diploma. By the time this luncheon took place I was already a grandmother, while they still had children at home. Different paths, many joys.

After the plates were cleared I noticed our three sets of hands on the table. Mine were clearly older than theirs. Where my friends’ hands were soft, smooth, and unmarred by age spots, mine were like a satellite image of a desert land, mottled and wrinkled, freckled and uneven.

I brought my friends’ attention to our hands. 

“Look at how much older my hands look than yours do!”

They looked at me like I was slightly nuts. Why would I call attention to such a thing? I even wondered that as I left the luncheon.

Maybe I like my old hands. They’re certainly the oldest looking part of me. Good genetics, for the most part, have kept the rest of my body and even my face, from reflecting my true age. I’m not terribly wrinkled yet, except for a few crinkles around my eyes and several decent laugh lines around my mouth. (I’m probably pissing off the gods of aging right now and will soon be inundated with wrinkles.)

But my hands show everything: Years of helping Studly Doright mow lawns in the summer Texas sun to help ends meet during some very lean years, years of being an assistant Little League softball and soccer coach, years of piloting a motorcycle without wearing gloves (stupid!).

Nowadays they’re more pampered. They receive occasional manicures and are treated nightly to a fairly expensive cream to keep them from further deterioration. But they still look old.

On the other hand, they might look sixty, but they are still nimble. They can tie shoelaces and dry tears, pat people on the back, and occasionally shoot someone the finger. My hands are terrific at picking pennies up and at wielding an ink pen. They text pretty well and can scroll through pages on the internet like hands half their age. 

I think I’ll take them shopping today. “C’mon, hands, we’ve got stuff to do. You, middle finger, show some restraint. That’s a good girl.”

Peace, people.people.

Looking Ahead

Post-election depression has put a real damper on my Christmas spirit. I’ve shopped and wrapped gifts, partaken of eggnog, and watched hours of Hallmark Channel movies, but I’m really just going through the motions. A future with Trump in the White House seems too horrible for contemplation. Alas, barring a last minute miracle, that stark reality seems to be in store. 

But I’m not a gloom and doom person at heart, so I’ve made a list of things that will definitely lift my spirits:

  1. Hugs from the grandchildren
  2. Large quantities of wine
  3. Hanging out with my kids
  4. More wine
  5. Having my mother-in-law, Saint Helen, with us for Christmas
  6. Did I mention wine?
  7. Studly Doright’s love and support
  8. And wine
  9. Cat kisses
  10. Cheers!


I feel better already.

End of the Middle

Deep inside the story, past the start of the beginning, but before the middle of the end

When the boy has met the girl, and kissed the girl, but not yet lost the girl, that’s my favorite part.

The waters are still calm and the wide open skies are blue. Conflict sits on a shelf by the door.

At the end of the middle, she is still his. There’s been no misunderstanding, no complicated,

Convoluted, comical slash and parry. Only long, hungry looks and a shared danish.