Recommended wine for today’s entry: Oak Grove chardonnay. A recent everyday-drinking favorite of mine that I think my friend Jody turned me onto, I got to Virginia and found that my mom has made it a sipping favorite too! It’s still a little hard to find, but if it’s getting enough chatter, it should be more widely available soon.
Here are some snippets of my recent 1,100-mile, six-day trek through the Southeastern United States. It was a fun and safe trip, but it wasn’t without some excitement.
- At the Clemson University alumni center, awaiting the start of the tour, my daughter and I were in the restroom and I discovered that her shirt was orange-ish and mine was purple. Clemson’s colors! Then, when I couldn’t see who else had come into the restroom, I pontificated about how stupid we looked– and how no one but an absolute geek would wear a school’s colors on the campus tour. But they weren’t my daughter’s feet I was talking to. They belonged to one of the other moms. A mom wearing a — you guessed it — purple shirt.
- There was a whiteboard at our hotel that offered a happy little welcome greeting to all the incoming guests. So of course we waited in the lobby for Kanye West’s arrival, but he didn’t come through that way. He and his entourage must have been smuggled in the side door. Wow. Who’d have thought he’d be staying at the Holiday Inn Express? Must be the allure of the hearty free breakfasts.
- My brother got a speeding ticket when he came to pick us up for his son’s baseball game and spent the rest of the trip grumbling about the podunk town’s police department.
- Coming back from one of the baseball games, looking for I-85, I got turned around in the most rural part of rural South Carolina. So at a stop sign, when a really hairy man in a giant black truck pulled up next to me and was gazing lovingly at my daughter, I put down my daughter’s window to ask directions. He smiled even bigger. I asked if he knew the best way to I-85. He hesitated a full minute, then, as if the words finally digested, he held up a finger. “Oh! I’m a-headed to 85. Jes foller me.” Hmmm….I thought, knowing a bit about human character from a lifetime of Nancy Drew books …I’m a little suspicious. Why did it take him so long to realize that’s where he was headed? Scary, right? So I followed him. But I had a plan. I told my daughter to put the truck’s license plate number into her phone, then, if the hairy, creepy guy pulled anything funny, she was to throw the phone out the car window, but not too far, so that investigators would find it. Brilliant, huh? But my paranoid 19-year-old was way ahead of me. By the time I started to outline my strategy, she had already sent a text to my husband (he was still in Kentucky at this point). She had not only sent the license plate, but a description of the truck and the guy too. Yeah? Buncha dumb blondes, my fanny! Anyway, the guy led us to I-85, then he got off after a couple exits and headed for an Applebees, where he was probably meeting his mama for the early bird special. Crisis averted.
- When we got to my mom’s in Virginia, my brother-in-law took us out on the boat for a little spin around the lake before they got in the car to head out of town. (They’d already been there a couple days.) Well, he got a ticket, too. We ended up spending about 20 minutes with Andy and Barney hopped up on the power afforded them by a badge and an outboard. My daughters and I were starting to feel like VERY bad luck.
- Then there was a little incident where I was choking on a wad of noodles at a restaurant so I excused myself politely, unknowingly using the last gasp of air I had to speak the words. I hustled to the restroom, tried the knob. Locked. There were only two tables filled in the restaurant, and someone was in there already. Figures. I walked outside, thumping myself on the chest hard enough to leave little bruises the next day. Then I started to really panic, went back inside and tried the door again. Locked. Frantic, I ran outside, around a corner and (this is a little gross, so if you’re squeamish, look away and scroll down) … stuck my finger in my throat. It wasn’t real throw up, it was just a clump of fettucini that got itself twisted into the shape of my larynx or whatever the anatomy is in those parts. Then I hustled back around the corner to the front door and went to the restroom to wash up, gulping the blessed air. Still locked. So I waited (because now I was getting angry and I really wanted to wash my hands). Finally a woman with a baby comes out and gives me the most smug look you can imagine. Once I returned to the table, either because no one seemed to have noticed that I was gone for a really long time or because I have the culture and poise of a pro wrestler’s valet, I took my family to see the remnants of my near-death experience. That’s when I found out that I threw up in the chef’s courtyard, next to the kitchen door. And my mother was more than a little mortified, but if you’re a loyal reader, you remember that my mom once carried a dog turd around an upper-crust mansion.
- Fortunately, the ride home was uneventful. No tickets, even with my husband now following us — two cars, no tickets. So maybe we weren’t the black hole!
I can’t decide if I should do a scrapbook first or see if Chevy Chase is interested in the film rights.