Anna’s Ticket

I have a good friend named Anna.  Anna and I met while I was working at my previous job.  I worked in the accounting department and Anna worked in sales.  It just so happened that Anna was a beautician too and I started going to Anna’s to get my hair cut every so often.  Anna’s husband’s name is Brad and they have two children.  They have a beautiful house in the country and Anna’s shop is in section of their house.  Anna does a great job cutting my hair, and she is so fast.  Before I started going to Anna’s, I went to another hairdresser named Tommy.  Tommy was good, but he was slow as Christmas.  Even though I had an appointment, I would still have to wait at least thirty minutes before he would start cutting my hair.  It usually took him at least an hour just to trim my hair.  So, you can imagine how happy I was to find someone faster and just as good, if not better than Tommy to cut my hair.

Anyway, since I quit my accounting job, I rarely see Anna except when I get my hair cut.  I called Anna the other day and asked her to “pencil me in” for a trim and she did.  I went to Anna’s yesterday and, just as expected, she was waiting on me and I sat down in the chair, and she started cutting my hair.  As she was cutting my hair we were talking and I remembered that she had gotten a traffic ticket two months ago.  You see, Anna was caught doing 71 in a 55 and the state trooper gave her a ticket.  When Anna was telling me about it two months ago, she said she was trying to get out of paying the ticket and that she thought she would only have to go to traffic school.  Typically, I just pay the fine and be done with it because I never wanted to go to court nor sit in traffic school for four hours.  But, Anna didn’t want points taken off her licenses and didn’t want her insurance to go up, so she preferred traffic school. So, yesterday while I was at her house, I asked Anna, “So, have you been to traffic school yet?”  Anna looked surprised and she looked at me and said, “Girl, you didn’t hear?”  I asked, “Hear what?”  Anna said, “Oh you have got to hear this!”  So Anna’s story went something like this.

Anna had told me that she thought she could get out of paying the ticket and just go to traffic school.  Well, Brad had a friend, Tim, that told Anna to give him the ticket and that he knew someone and he would take care of it.  So, she did.  Anna had a court date set and was a little worried that she would still have to go to court, so she called Tim and asked him if he was sure the ticket had been taken care of.  He assured her that it was and there was nothing else for her to do.  She was happy that she didn’t have to pay the fine nor attend traffic school.  The court date came and went and a few weeks later, she received a telephone call at work.  It was her husband, Brad.  He said, “Anna.  Is there any reason why the cops would be looking for you?”  Anna was a bit shocked and said, “No. Why?”  Brad said, “Well the sheriff was just here looking for you.  He wouldn’t tell me why he wanted to see you; just that he had some papers for you.”  Anna said, “Oh crap!  I bet it’s over that speeding ticket.  Tim said he took care of it.”  After Anna hung up the phone, she kept looking out the window near her desk, just waiting and watching for the sheriff to pull up.  And, sure enough, after about 30 minutes the sheriff parked his vehicle in front of the building and walked into the front lobby and asked to speak with Anna.  Anna knew he had come to give her papers, so she had walked to the lobby before the receptionist had a chance to page her.

The sheriff said, “Anna?”  Anna said, “Yep.  That’d be me.”  He said, “You’re under arrest for contempt of court.  Place your hands behind your back.”, and proceeded to put handcuffs on Anna.  By then, all the people in the front office had found out that Anna was being arrested and a few of them came to the lobby to try to help Anna out.  But it was no use. The sheriff began to frisk Anna and once convinced she wasn’t carrying any weapons, he escorted her to the patrol car and placed her in the back seat.  Since the ticket was issued in another county, the sheriff had to transport Anna to the county line where they would be met by another sheriff from that county.  Anna said it was the most humiliating thing she had ever gone through.  First being arrested at work; being handcuffed in front of her co-workers and then be transferred from one sheriff’s car to another and being frisked by the police on the busiest highway in the area at the busiest time of the day.  She said cars were slowing down and looking at her and trying to figure out what was going on.  As soon as she arrived at the county jail, she did get to make a phone call.  She called Brad and said, “Get your butt up here and get me out before they slap an orange suit on me!”  Brad was there in just a few minutes and posted bail for Anna and took her home.

Another court date was set for Anna and she appeared before the judge.  When the judge asked, “Why did you fail to appear in court on December 19th?”  Anna responded by saying, “Well sir, I had a friend that said he had taken care of it.”  With a smirk the judge leaned forward and said, “So, you had a friend huh?”  The judge could see that Anna was almost in tears, so the judge applied the bail money toward the ticket and let Anna go.

The entire time Anna was telling me about her “run in with the law”, I was cracking up.  I couldn’t imagine going through all of that for a speeding ticket.  Anna went on to tell me that a rumor had surfaced about her arrest and she thought she knew the person who had started the rumor.  It was Brad’s grandmother.  Brad’s grandmother had told one of Anna’s clients that, “Anna went and got one of those DUIs and got put in jail.”  After a few more minutes, Anna had finished cutting my hair, and before I left, I asked Anna what she would do if she got another ticket.  Anna looked dead serious when she replied, “Pay the damn thing!”, and I just died laughing! 😛


Rileah – Once Is Never Enough

If you read my story, “Fall Softly”, then you should know that I had a near death experience right before Christmas.  Had it not been for my remembering the words of wisdom from my dad, I probably would be dead right now.  Luckily, I survived the accident with only a few bruises and a mild concussion.  Now, I don’t know if the concussion had anything to do with my judgment the day I told LP what I wanted for Christmas or not.   We were talking about Christmas, and I know I am hard to buy for because I really don’t want anything.  Well, a million bucks; a trip to Paris and maybe a job as a journalist writing my own column for the New York Times, but other than that, I couldn’t think of one thing I wanted.  So, while we were talking, I thought for a couple of minutes and I looked at LP and I said, “I want a puppy.”  LP and others had been mentioning me getting a dog after my Hugs passed away, but I kept insisting that I wasn’t ready for another dog.  However, I had been “dogless” for seven months, and for some odd reason, on that particular day I decided that the time was right.

LP got on the internet and found a few places that had puppies for sell.  There were several types of puppies to choose from.  I could have had a Yorkie, a Chihuahua, an Australian Shepherd, a Bulldog, a Beagle, a Dachshund, a Poodle, a Labrador Retriever, a Schnauzer, a German Shepard, or a Golden Retriever.  My sister had a Chihuahua, and although the dog was cute, it barked all the time and I don’t like that.  Dad had two Poodles and they were yappier than the Chihuahua.  My brother has Yorkies, and they bark a lot too.  My last two dogs were Labrador Retrievers, so I didn’t want another Lab because no other dog could replace either one of them.  So I decided that I wanted a Golden Retriever.  That day we drove seventy miles, in the snow to pick out my Christmas present.  There were three puppies left to choose from, and, I don’t know why, but I chose the most active puppy.  The lady selling the pups said they called the one I pick out “Feisty” because she likes to play all the time.  I smiled and said, “The feistier, the better.  It just proves she has spunk and personality.”

We had a week before we could take the puppy home with us because she had to get her six week shots.  So, while we waited to get the puppy, we prepared our home for our new Golden Retriever.  Since she was so young, we decided to keep her in the house until she got bigger and until it got warmer outside.  We have a large fenced in backyard and two dog houses, so when she got older and the weather got warmer, we figured she could stay outside most of the time and only come when we were home and at night to sleep.  We ordered a large crate from a company we found on the internet.  Then we went to the store and picked up toys, a collar, a leash, puppy treats and puppy food.  Then we waited and waited.  I didn’t think the week would ever pass by.  Then finally, on Christmas Eve, we went to get my puppy.  On the way home with her, we decided to name her Rileah because she was so riled up.  I call her “My Rileah Girl”, and she is the cutest puppy I believe I have ever seen.  Although she is very smart, she is also very hardheaded.  LP says she’s just like me.

Anyway, it had been a very long time since I have had a puppy.  Both of my Labs had lived to be thirteen years old, so my puppy memories had faded over the years.  It didn’t take me too long to remember what it’s like to have a puppy around the house.  A puppy likes to bite, chew, jump, and drag everything they possibly can to a central location that is usually right under your feet.  I don’t know how my times I have stepped on one of her squeaky toys thinking I had stepped on one of the cats’ tails making them squeal.  After four weeks of doing this, you would think I would know it’s a toy I am stepping on, not a cat, but I still jump every time.

It only took two days of living with Rileah until I figured out that I needed to “Rileah proof” the house.  I took up all the rugs on the floor, moved furniture around to hide electrical cords, moved my plants, moved our pictures, moved the computer tower, tucked the skirt hanging from my grandma’s rocking chair under the cushion – you name it, I have moved it, I have hidden it or I have completely disposed of it.  One tip for anyone getting a puppy – never leave shoes in a puppy’s reach; nor coats, nor toes, nor feet, nor fingers or arms.  I have said, “No!” some many times during the past four weeks, I wake myself up during a deep sleep saying, “No!”

Another thing I had forgotten about having a puppy is the fact that they have to “do their business” quite often.  If you don’t know what that means, I will be very blunt.  Puppies had to pee and poop a lot, and they have to do it all day and all night.  Just about every two hours, the puppy needs to go outside.  And “outside” during this time of the year is not pleasant.  For the first two weeks of having Rileah, the temperature outside was in the teens during the daytime and in the single digits at night.  But, fortunately for me, Rileah will pee just as soon as she puts her little paws on the snow or on the grass.  However, pooping is a different story.  I don’t know about other puppies, but it takes Rileah at least fifteen minutes to find the perfect spot to poop.  And people say, “Puppies have accidents.” when a puppy poops on the floor.  I don’t believe it’s an accident.  Have you ever watched a puppy try to find a place to poop.  It doesn’t look like an accident to me; it looks very strategic and intentional.

Anyway, for the first two weeks, Rileahs “bathroom” schedule went something like this:

1:00 a.m. outside

3:30 a.m. outside

6:00 a.m. outside

7:30 a.m. outside

8:30 a.m. outside

11:30 a.m. outside

1:30 p.m. outside

3:30 p.m. outside

5:30 p.m. outside

7:00 p.m. outside

9:00 p.m. outside

11:30 p.m. outside

Believe me, I am not exaggerating; you can ask LP.  One morning at 3:30, I took Rileah outside and it was freezing cold.  I had on my pajamas, my house shoes and a hooded jacket and Rileah kept walking around trying to find that perfect place.  I kept saying, “Come on Rileah!  Hurry up; it’s cold out here.”  Rileah was sniffing  and sniffing and just when I thought she found her perfect spot, she walked off and went over to the side of the house.   Finally, she found a good spot and took care of her business.  I said, “Good girl!  That’s a good Rileah Girl!”  Then I tugged on the leash and headed back toward the door and she stopped again.  Believe it or not, she had “to go” again.    I said, “Come on Rileah.  It’s 3:30 in the morning; I’m freezing, and I’m out here in my pjs and this hood over my head, people are going to think I’m a burglar.  Hurry up!!!”   Just as Rileah got finished, my neighbor’s light came on and I tugged on Rileah’s leash and said, “Run!”  We ran back into the house and without stopping, I put Rileah in her crate and I went back to bed.  I laid in bed a few minutes thinking about Rileah, smiling as I went back to sleep.

I didn’t get much sleep those first two weeks, but, fortunately, Rileah can “hold it” about six hours now.  LP and I were talking about Rileah the other night and I said, “It’s the oddest thing that when she goes, she always poops twice.  She’ll do it once and then walk about three or four feet away and do it again.”  LP said, “Yes, I’ve noticed that too.”  Then we started bragging about how quickly she has learned to “go” outside and that she has learned to sit and to lay down.  And so far, she has only had an “accident” in the house once.

It was the night I was baking Quiche.  To me, Quiche stinks when it’s baking, so I just assumed the unpleasant odor was coming from the oven.  I was standing at the kitchen sink and the smell got stronger.  I thought, “Damn.  That Quiche stinks more than I can remember.”  I turned to walk over to the oven and I noticed something about an inch from my left foot.  Yep, it was a pile of poop.  I looked at Rileah and said, “Rilieah!  I just let you back in!  You’re supposed to poop outside!”  Then I as turned to grab the paper towels and the Windex, I saw another pile of poop at my right foot.  I said, “Rileah – outside!”  I let Rileah out and I came back into the kitchen to literally clean up the mess.   As I was scooping up those two piles of poop, I shook my head and thought, “Once is never enough for my Rileah Girl!” 😛

Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?

If you read my last story, then you know I like to play practical jokes.  Most of the time, I dream up these ideas when I am bored and want something fun to do.  I want to see what type of reaction I get, and, of course, I want to see if I can actually pull it off.  Sometime I don’t even have to think about a joke, the opportunity just presents itself.  And, anyone who knows me knows I will never let a good opportunity pass me by.

It was Friday morning around nine o’clock, and my coworker, Jen, and I were in Janice’s office.  Janice was the international in-house sales representative and I was the international credit manager.  Jen was trying to get a truck scheduled for an afternoon pickup, and she and I were talking to Janice about what we would be shipping that day.  Paulette was Janice’s assistant and we all called her Ms. P.  Ms. P only worked part-time and her hours were from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  It just happened that day Ms. P was running late for work, or at least she thought she was running late.

As I said, Jen and I were in Janice’s office and the telephone rang.  I couldn’t help overhearing the phone conversation and when Janice hung up, I asked, “Is everything alright?”  Janice said, “Yes.  That was Ms. P and she said was running late.  She’s on her way now.”  I looked at the clock and saw that it was only five after nine and I said, “It’s only a little after nine.  She’s not supposed to be here until ten; right?”  Janice said, “Yes, that’s right.”  Knowing that Ms. P only lived about five miles from work, I said, “She’s not going to be late, she going to be very early.”  Then I said, “Hum!”  Jen looked at me as if she read my mind and said, “Are you thinking what I think you’re thinking?”  I said, “If it has to do with the time of day, then yes.”  Jen smiled and said, “Let’s do it!”  I booted up Ms. P’s computer and while I was waiting for it to power up, I took the clock down from the wall and move the time up an hour.  In the meantime, Jen changed the time on Ms. P’s telephone and then she ran down the hallway to the front lobby and set that wall clock up an hour.  Once the computer was booted up, I changed the time from ten after nine to ten after ten.  While we waited for Ms. P to show up, we let the other people working in the front office know what was going on.

About nine fifteen, Ms. P walked into the front lobby where we had an employee sign in sheet.  While she was signing in, I walked through the lobby pretending to be going to the mailroom.  I looked at Ms. P and I said, “Good morning.  Running a little bit late, aren’t you?”  She said, “Yes.  I let my dog, Dixie, outside this morning and she didn’t want to come back into the house.  The Little devil!”  The vice president, Tracy, who also knew what was going on, came into the lobby and he said, “Ms. P, you’re late.”  Now, Ms. P was very quiet and never did anything wrong, so she was a bit nervous that the vice president knew she was late for work.  She said, “I know.  I let Dixie out this morning and I couldn’t get her back inside.  I’ll work over this afternoon to make up my time.”  Tracy almost laughed when he said, “Okay, but don’t let it happen again.”  Then Jen came into the lobby and said, “Ahhh Ms. P, you’re late!”  By this time, Ms. P was quite embarrassed and she blushed and said, “I know.”, then she walked off.  I watch Ms. P walk down the long hallway to her office and I was wondering how long we should let it go on before we told her that it was really only nine fifteen.

I went back to work and forgot all about playing the joke on Ms. P.  It wasn’t until eleven o’clock before I remembered it.  I looked up from my computer and Ms. P was standing at my door and I smiled and said, “Hey Ms. P.  What’s going on?”  Ms. P said, “I was wondering if you were ready to go to lunch.”  I looked at my clock and I said, “It’s a little bit early for lunch, don’t you think?”  Ms. P said, “No.  It’s noon.”  Then I remembered the joke.  I didn’t want to go to lunch at eleven o’clock because that would make for such a long afternoon, so I said, “Well, I’m in the middle of something right now, but when I get finished with this, I’ll be ready.  Besides, it’s only eleven o’clock.”  Ms. P said, “No it’s not.  It’s noon.”  I said, “No, Ms. P., it’s eleven o’clock.”  Then I pointed to my wall clock and said, “See.”  Ms. P looked confused as she looked at the clock.  Then she turned to me and said, “You need to check the batteries in your clock because it’s an hour slow.  It’s noon.”  I started laughing and just when I was about to explain what Jen and I had done, my phone rang.  When I was picking up the receiver, Ms. P said, “You can come and get me when you’re ready for lunch.”  I said, “Okay.”, and Ms. P went back to her office.  After I finished my phone conversation, I started thinking that we should tell Ms. P about the joke.  I picked up the phone and buzzed Jen’s office.

When Jen picked up the phone, I told her that we should tell Ms. P about our joke.  I said, “I think we’ve had enough fun.  She still doesn’t know what time it really is, and she’s ready to go to lunch.”  Jen laughed, and she agreed that we should let Ms. P know what we had done.  Jen and I met at Ms. P’s office door.  When Ms. P saw us, she grabbed her purse and said, “Let’s go eat, I am starving.”  I looked at Jen; then I looked at Ms. P and I said, “It’s only a little after eleven.”  Ms. P looked at the wall clock and said, “No it’s not.  It’s ten after twelve.”  Jen started laughing and I said, “No, it’s ten after eleven.”  Ms. P said, “No.  It’s ten after twelve!”  Jen jumped in the conversation and said, “Ms. P, that clock is wrong.”  Ms. P looked down at the clock on her telephone and, of course, it was showing ten after twelve, so she looked at Jen and said, “No.  It’s after twelve!”  I said, “No.  We changed the time on the clock and the phone.”  Then Ms. P looked at her computer monitor and said, “What kind of joke are you two trying to pull on me?  It’s ten after twelve.  Now quit being silly and let’s go to lunch.”  I said, “Seriously, it’s only eleven.  Jen and I played a joke on you this morning.  You called Janice a little after nine, not ten.  So, Jen and I set all the clocks up so you would think you were late.  But, don’t you get it?  You were almost an hour early for work.  You need to change your time on the sign in sheet, or your paycheck will be shorted an hour.”  It took some convincing from both Jen and I, but Ms. P finally believed us, so she went up front and changed her time on the sign in sheet to nine fifteen.

When Ms. P was walking down the hallway back to her office, she ran into Tracy.  When Tracy saw her, he shook his head and said, “Ms. P, I can’t believe you were late this morning.”  Ms. P asked Tracy, “What time is it right now?”  Tracy looked at his watch, and then he smiled and said, “It’s about quarter after twelve.”  Tracy walked off, and Ms. P turned around and went back up front and changed her sign in time back to ten fifteen.  Jen and I were still trying to convince Ms. P that we had played a joke on her earlier by setting all the clocks up an hour.  We finally told her that Tracy was in on the joke.  She turned around and walked back down the long hallway to the lobby to change her sign in time again.  Then on the way back down the hall, she stopped by the HR lady’s office and said, “Sherry, what time is it?”  Sherry smiled and said, “It’s a quarter after twelve.”  Ms. P turned around and walked back down the hallway and changed her time again.”  Ms. P made five trips up and down the hallway to change her time on that sign in sheet, and this was becoming more fun than Jen and I had ever expected.

This went on for almost thirty minutes and by this time, Ms. P was totally confused over the time of day and Jen and I were still trying to convince her that it was only eleven something.  Finally, at eleven forty-five, we decided to go to lunch.  As I was signing out for lunch, I noticed the ink scribbling and a hole in the sheet from where Ms. P’s had changed her sign in time so much.   I started laughing and I looked at Ms. P and said, “What time did you get here this morning?  I can’t read it because there’s a hole in the sheet!”  Ms. P gave me a mean look and said, “You know what time I got here; you little devil you!”  About that time, everybody started laughing and then I started singing, “Does anybody really know what time it is?”  😛

Low Hanging Fruit

Like most people, I enjoy a good laugh.  Sometimes there is nothing amusing going on, so you have to be creative and make an otherwise boring situation into a delightfully entertaining moment.  If you have been following my stories, then you know that I am an accountant.  If you don’t know, accounting is a fairly boring profession.  You spend the majority of your time looking at numbers, reports and general ledger accounts.  Sometimes you are so intensely involved with a project, you forget what is going on around you.  Then, sometimes, you find that if you don’t get up from your chair and walk around, you are going to fall asleep.  Whenever I felt the urge to fall asleep, I would usually find something to do to wake me and everyone else up.  This “something to do” is playing a practical joke on someone.  Sometimes I pulled off the joke by myself, but I typically always had a willing assistant to help me pull it off.

It was on a Monday when I thought of an idea to scam the Plant Manager and the Human Resources Director.  However, if it had not been for my friend Jen, I would have never thought about it.  During lunch, me and a couple of my coworkers were eating and talking about our weekend activities.  Val and I were talking and then all the sudden, from out of the blue, Jen starts laughing.  Val and I looked at Jen and I said, “What?  What’s so funny?”  Jen was laughing so hard tears were coming out of her eyes and she couldn’t stop laughing long enough to tell us.”  Both Val and I kept asking, “What?  What are you laughing about?  What’s so funny?”  Finally Jen stopped long enough to say, “The ad in the paper!!”  Then she started laughing again, “What ad?” I asked.  It took her about ten minutes, but she finally quit laughing and she was able to tell us about the help wanted ad our company had put in the local newspaper.  The ad went something like this: “Local manufacturing company in need of highly motivated production workers.  Great benefits with plenty of low hanging fruit ripe for the picking.”  Then I said, “Low hanging fruit?”  Jen said, “Yes!  Better go pick some of that fruit CJ before it’s all gone.”  Then Val and I both started laughing.  We talked about the low hanging fruit all during lunch and later that afternoon, I had an idea.

Now, I am not sure that the usage of “Low hanging fruit ripe for the picking” is used in the northern states, but the southern people do not use that expression to represent an opportunity other than to literally pick fruit.  Our new plant manager was from Wisconsin and we all knew that he is the one who placed the ad in the paper.  He was always trying to belittle southern people and made fun of us every chance he got, so it was now time for payback.  Anyway, I was sitting in my office that afternoon and I was getting a bit sleepy from staring at numbers, so my mind drifted back to our conversation at lunch time.  I thought about “Low hanging fruit” and I shook my head and thought, “Must be a northern thing.”  Just as I was about to focus my attention on the numbers again, an idea came to mind.  I opened up Microsoft Word and started typing.

Just as I was finished typing, Jen came into my office.  As soon as I saw her I started laughing.  She asked me, “What?  What’s so funny?”  I motioned for her to come over and look at my computer screen.  After she read what was on the screen, she laughed and said, “That’s funny; what are you going to do with it?”  I said, I’m going to get an application and fill it out and then I’m going to mail it.  Jen died laughing.  The letter went something like this:

“Dear Sir,

My name is Robert Calvin White.  My famili called me Cooter when I were a kid so now ereybody call me Cooter now.  You’d can call me Cooter too.  I finished scholl when I was ate.  My daddy told me lerning is not what put food on the tabel.  I am smart and hard at workin.  As my mamma she nose.  My daddy nose to but he never say so so do not as him.

I work in coal mine for five year but that dont put food on the tabel ither.  I went to Gerogia to pike peaches.  Now pikin fruit put food on the tabel. I like too pike peaches and I am very good fruit piker.  I move here to Kentucky and do not have many fruit to pike.  I do pike strawberys but I ate more than I pike.  I pike appels and I pike cherrys to.  Mamma say you need low fruit piker I say I want that job.  Low fruit piking like berrys is someting I really good at.  I am sewer to.  I made my mama a dress.  I good sewer I am.  As my mamma she nose my daddy nose to but he dont like me to sew.  He says sewin is fer girls and I shore aint no girl.  As my mamma she nose daddy nose to.  Go ahed as him he will say so to I aint no girl.

I can start pikin tomorrow.  I donot have a telefone so come get me at my house.  I live on Apple Lane next to the big water towar and my house is the second trailor on the rite.  I will wait fer you here.  Just honk yor horn when you get here.

Yors truly,

Cooter “

Once the letter was finished, Jen and I filled out an application.  We made up all the information and we took turns filling out the application.  Since I am left-handed, I used my right hand to write and vice versa for Jen.  Then I went to the supply closet in the plant and found a piece old Christmas stationary and an envelope.  I tossed them on the floor and placed my foot on the piece of paper and smeared it on the dirty cement floor.  Jen worked on “dirtying up” the envelope.  Once I was satisfied the stationary and envelope were dirty enough, Jen and I went back to my office and addressed the envelope.  Jen took the letter with her that day when she left work and dropped it in the mail in the next city so it wouldn’t be post marked from our little town.  Then we waited and waited – for three days.

Each day, after the receptionist return from the morning mail pickup, I would go look through the mail to see if the letter had arrived.  On the third day, the letter had finally made it to our company.  We had addressed it to the HR person, Sherry, and I was eager for her to open it and I started to take the letter to her, but then I thought that would be too obvious, so I waited.  Jen shared an office with the plant manager, Chris, and later that afternoon, she called me.  She said, “They got the letter.”  She said she overheard Sherry and the Chris talking about the applications.  I asked what was said and Jen said, “I didn’t hear that part I just heard Sherry tell Chris we got some applicants today.”

Later that day, I happened past Sherry’s door and looked in.  Sherry was sitting at her desk so I stuck my head in and said, “Hey!  How’s your day going?”  She smiled and said, “Good.  How is your day going?”  I said, “Pretty good.  I was wondering, have we hired anyone for the job opening in the plant yet?”  She shook her head no, and then she smiled and said, “We did get a few applications though.  One of them was really bizarre.”  I asked, “What do you mean?”  She started telling my about how dirty the letter was and that it was printed on Christmas stationary.  Then she told me the guy was a fruit picker and he must think we are looking for fruit pickers.”  I said, “Well, that’s kind of what the ad said.  Did you read the ad?”  She said, “No, I didn’t.  It was sent to the paper while I was on vacation.”  I started laughing and said, “You might want to read it.  Maybe you will see why the poor guy was confused.”  She pulled the ad up on the internet and she started laughing.  She looked at me and said, “Well no wonder the guy thinks we are looking for someone to pick our peaches.”  I asked, “Did Chris read the letter?”  She said, “I’m not sure; let’s go see.”

We went to Chris’ office and waited for him to get off the phone.  Once he was finished with his phone conversation, Sherry asked him, “Did you read Cooter’s letter?”  He looked puzzled and asked, “Who is Cooter?”  Sherry started laughing and said, “He is one of the applicants we got today.  I gave them to you earlier.”  He said, “Oh.  No, I haven’t had a chance yet.”  She said, “Well, let me know if you want me to go pick him up tomorrow.”  Chris was curious, so he started going through the stack of letters on his desk.  When Sherry saw Cooter’s letter, she pointed it out and said, “That’s it.  The dirty looking one.”  About that time, Jen walked into the office.  Chris took the letter from the envelope and unfolded it.  As he read the letter, I could see his stern look turn into a “What the hell?” look and I almost died laughing, but I managed to keep a straight face.  When he was finished reading, he laughed and said, “Is this a joke?  What’s all that crap about picking fruit?”  Sherry said, “That’s what the ad said.  It said we had plenty of low hanging fruit, and according to Cooter, the lower the better.”  Jen and I were acting like we had no idea what the letter said, so we begged Chris to let us read it.  He gave us the letter and simultaneously we read the letter out loud so others in the office would hear what it said.  Soon we had three customer service girls in there with us and then the receptionist came in the office too.  They all wanted to read Cooter’s letter because none of them believe what it said.

For two entire days, the office gossip was about Cooter the fruit picker.  And believe me, we all took the opportunity to pick on Chris and his northern dialect.  Finally the president became aware of Cooter.  After she read the letter, she said, “That’s sounds like something CJ would do.”  Luckily, Jen was with me when the president approached me about the letter.  I admitted to writing the letter and the entire time I was confessing, Jen was cracking up.  I think the only reason I didn’t get into trouble is because the joke kept the office staff laughing for a whole week.  When everyone found out that Cooter’s letter was a joke, they all wanted a copy of it so they could show it to their friends – even the president wanted a copy of it.  I haven’t thought about Cooter in a long time, but I bet if he was real, he would be out there today – somewhere picking that low hanging fruit.  😛

Smile, You’re on Candid Camera!

I liked school and I liked most of my classes.  I loved any kind of math and all my English classes, but I hated science.  I never was interested in protons and neutrons and I could care less about what causes photosynthesis.  I liked most of my teachers too; however, I did have a few who, in my opinion should have never been teachers.  One in particular was my fifth grade English teacher.  This man was a southern Baptist preacher and his southern drawl so heavy and thick, I had a difficult time understanding what he was saying half of the time.  I think the only thing that save me and helped me pass that year was the fact that he took a three-month sabbatical.  I am not sure where he went or what he was doing, but I was happy to see a substitute teacher replace him.  Well, actually the first substitute teacher to replace him only last through the first day.

Our first substitute teacher was Mrs. McCanne, and even though she only taught us one day, I will never forget her for as long as I live.  I will never forget that morning when she walked into the classroom.  She was an older woman, but not too old; I suppose she was in her late fifties.  She wore a loose-fitting pale purple dress that had darker purple flower prints on it, and she had a white sweater wrapped around her shoulders.  Mrs. McCanne wore thick lens glasses that were held in place by reddish color frames.  Her hair was wavy and blackish brown and hung almost to her shoulders.  She was carrying a stack of folders and books, and her brown bulky purse hung over her right shoulder.  Never saying a word, she placed all her supplies on her desk; put her purse away and walked slowly to the blackboard.  She wrote her name on the board and then turned to face the class.

I studied her face and the way she was dressed and her eye glasses, and I could have sworn that I had met her before.  As and listened to her introduce herself, “Good morning class. My name is Mrs. McCanne and I will be your teacher until Mr. Hale returns.  We will pick up where you left off and continue with the classwork and tests as scheduled.”  She immediately started teaching us how to diagram sentences.  For fifteen minutes, I kept staring at her thinking that I knew her from somewhere.  I knew that face and I knew that voice; I was sure of it.  I thought and thought about it; “Where have I seen this woman before?”  And then, all the sudden, from out of the blue, I figured out who she was and I started giggling uncontrollably.  I laughed and laughed and about the time I would quit laughing, she would say something I would start laughing all over again.  Even though none of the other kids knew why I was laughing, they were laughing too.  Curious about what was so funny, the girl sitting next to me whispered, “What is so funny?”   I said, “Mrs. McCanne is no ordinary teacher and this is no ordinary school day.  That is Carol Burnett up there and we are on Candid Camera.  By this time, all the kids sitting around me were listening to what I was saying and they were all excited about being on television.

I am not joking – this woman looked just like Carol Burnett when she puts on one of her outfits she wears on her show.  Her voice was just like one of Carol Burnett’s characters and the things she was saying may not have been so funny, but nevertheless, we were all laughing.  There was no doubt in my mind that she was Carol Burnett.  And we had to be on Candid Camera; why else would Carol Burnett be in our classroom?   Soon the entire fifth grade was aware of the fact that Carol Burnett was teaching English and students were walking past the doorway and stopping and looking in just hoping to get a glimpse of her.  And pretty soon after that, the sixth graders found out, then the seventh graders.  Then the principle came to the classroom.  I cannot remember exactly what he said, but it was something to this effect, “Good morning girls and boys.  I see you have met Mrs. McCanne.  She has been teaching for several years and she comes highly recommended.  I hear some of you think she may be Carol Burnett.  Let me assure you that she has no connection with Carol Burnett or The Carol Burnett Show.  She is a teacher and that’s all.”  Then he left the room.  Well, we all knew that if you’re on Candid Camera they don’t want you to know what’s going on.  And we all knew that the principle was hiding Mrs. McCanne’s true identity so when Allen Funt walked in and said, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!” we would all be surprised.

I loved Carol Burnett and I watched her show with my mom every Monday night.  All the other kids loved her too and being the great fans we were, it didn’t take much to make us laugh.  Every time she made a facial expression, we would laugh.  Every time she walked around the room, we would laugh.  Every time she said anything the whole class would burst out laughing.  Some of us were laughing so hard we were crying.  Yep, thanks to me figuring out who she was, we all had the most fun we had ever had in English class.  No one ever told us she was Carol Burnett, but we never saw her again, so she must have been.  Allen Funt never came in and said, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!” either.  Another teacher came in the next day to replace Mrs. McCanne and she stayed until Mr. Hale returned.  In the meantime, my classmates and I waited and waited for them to show our classroom on Candid Camera or on the Carol Burnett Show.  They never did. 😛

Fall Softly

With the holiday and everything else going on, I haven’t been able to write anything in a couple of weeks.   Although I had a wonderful Christmas, it was the first Christmas I didn’t spend with my dad.  However, I believe he is always here with me, watching after me.  I had an accident recently and his words of wisdom popped into my head and helped me to avoid a tragic ending to my life.  You see, as Dad became older, every now and then, he would lose his balance and fall.  Each time he told me about his fall, I would say, “Dad, are okay?  How did you fall?”  And each time he would chuckle and say, “Yes, I am fine.  Over the years, I have learned to fall softly.”  The first time he told me this, I asked, “How can anyone fall softly?”  He told me: “When I lose my balance or footing, I wrap my hands around my head to protect it and roll my body up into a ball.  That way when you hit the ground, you won’t break anything; you’ll just roll.”  I remember thinking how funny that comment was and I never took it seriously.  But, I knew whatever he did work because he never hurt himself when he fell.

Anyway, I started a new project right before Christmas.  I know that two weeks before Christmas is no time to start a remodeling project, but when I get something in my head, I just have to do it. So, two weeks before Christmas, I decided that I was going to redo the kitchen.  One morning before LP went to work, I said, “Today is the day.  I’m going to start taking this ugly wallpaper down and paint.”  Then I pointed to the wall adjoining the living room and said, “I’m going to tear down that wall too.”  LP said, “Well, before you start tearing down any walls, you better call someone who knows what they are doing to help you.  Knowing you, the entire house will fall down.”   LP told me goodbye and good luck with the wall paper and walked out the backdoor and headed off to work.  I sat at the kitchen table finishing my morning Diet Mountain Dew and thought about what LP had said.  And, I agreed; with my luck, I would tear out the main support wall and the house would come crumbling down.  So, I called my buddy George to see if he could help me.

George is a really nice guy and he had done a couple of other jobs for us in the past, and we were always pleased with his work.  So, I found his phone number and gave him a call.  When he answered, I said, “George, this is CJ.  I need your help.”  George said, “Ah oh, that’s never good to hear; what are you into now?”  I started laughing and told George that I wanted to remove the wall adjoining the kitchen and the living room and I wasn’t sure I could do it by myself.   He laughed and then asked, “How soon do you want it done?”  I said, “Today.”  George was busy that day, but promised he would come by the next afternoon.  After I finished talking to George and explaining what I wanted, I went the utility closet and grabbed an empty spray bottle and a jug of fabric softener.  I put some fabric softener in the spray bottle and filled the rest of the bottle up with hot water.  Then I proceeded to spray the mixture on the outdated wallpaper.

I started with the wall closest to the one that would be torn down.  I let the mixture sit on the wall for about a minute, and then started trying to peel the paper off with my fingernails.  The paper wouldn’t come off.  So, I sprayed the edge of the wallpaper closest to the ceiling.  After twenty minutes and one broken fingernail, I was able to remove a small portion about the size of quarter.  By that time, I knew it was time to call in reinforcement, so I got a putty knife out of the tool chest.  I continued spraying the wall and started letting it soak for about thirty minutes before trying to peel and scrap it off.  After about three hours of working on the eight foot by three foot section, I was finished.  Well, finished with that section anyway.  Then I started on the next section.  I would spray a while, then I would scrap and peel a while.  I worked on getting that wallpaper off for damn near five hours and I was getting very frustrated.  I thought to myself, “Whoever has put wallpaper up has never had to take it down.”   And I came to the conclusion that whoever had put this particular wallpaper up, had attached it with Super Glue.  After six hours, I was getting very tired, or should I say “disgusted”, so I decided to quit for the day.  I put everything away and cleaned up the mess, and then I sat down at the kitchen table to evaluate my progress.

I was one-third of the way finished removing the wallpaper, and I was looking around thinking about where I should start the next day.  Then I noticed that there was a little section above the kitchen’s double windows that I had missed.  I said, “Crap!”   I didn’t want to get the step-ladder back out, so I pulled a kitchen chair over to the window.  As I started to stand on the seat of the chair and I could tell that the chair was propped on something because it wasn’t level.  I looked down at the floor and saw that I had placed one of the chair legs on the decorative wooden air vent.  I thought, “I better move the chair because LP is always telling me not to put anything on these vents.”  Then I looked at the strip of wallpaper and thought, “Ah it won’t take but a second.”  I stood in the seat of the chair and just as I pulled the paper off with my fingernails, I heard a cracking noise.

I felt one leg of the chair drop about four inches and it startled me and I tried to keep my balance.  My right foot slid forward when the chair leg dropped another couple of inches.  Now, I have never been surfing in the ocean before, but I believe what was happening to me at that moment in time was just like trying to “Hang 10”.  I was trying my best to balance on that chair to keep from crashing through the kitchen window or smashing my head on the kitchen countertop.  While I was moving back and forth using my arms and legs as balancing tools, I heard another crack and I knew the inevitable was about to happen.  To me, this entire incident appeared to be happening in slow motion.  What probably took less than thirty seconds, seemed to take thirty minutes.

All sorts of things were running through my mind as I was waving my arms and trying not to fall.  I remember thinking that chair leg had broken.  Then I thought, “I’ve gained a couple of pounds, but I’m not heavy enough to break a chair.”  And then I thought, “Damn air vent!  I knew better!”  First I started falling forward and I saw that I would flip over the back of the chair, so I quickly lean back to balance, and the chair dropped for the last time.  At that moment, I had no choice in the matter because I was falling backwards right toward the hard kitchen counter.  On my way down, I remember looking out the kitchen window and screaming a four letter word that starts with the letter “S” and thinking, “This is going hurt!”  I closed my eyes and braced myself for the impact.  And right then, I heard my dad say, “Fall softly!”  It was too late to grab my head to protect it, but I did manage to curl up as tight as I could.  I felt the first impact on my right thigh; then on the lower left side of my head and then my elbow.  I hit so hard I thought, “Holy crap!  I am dead!”

It seemed like an eternity before I came to my senses and realize that I wasn’t dead.  I believe this was the first time in my life that I had ever been knocked senseless.  I laid on the floor for a long time before I could move and I kept saying, “I’m okay; I’m okay.  Just take it slow and easy.  I’m okay.”  Before I moved too much, I checked to make sure I could move my toes and my fingers.  Then I moved my arms and then my legs.  Then I felt of my aching head to determine whether it was bleeding or not.  It wasn’t, but I was very light-headed and dizzy.  I thought, “I am so stupid sometimes!”  After I made sure I didn’t have any broken bones and made sure that I wasn’t bleeding, I slowly sat up.  I performed a quick test to make sure I didn’t have amnesia or any kind of brain damage:  I stated my full name, my address and phone number three or four times.  Once I had gathered myself, I looked over my shoulder to see what I had hit my head on because I was certain that it wasn’t the countertop.   When I saw the blow to my head had come from the Rubbermaid trashcan, I thought, “I sure am glad we didn’t buy that stainless steel trashcan we’ve been looking at.”

I did manage to remove the rest of the wallpaper, and George came the next day as he had promised and removed that one wall for me.  LP helped with the spackling and sanding of the walls, and once all the prep work was done, I painted the walls purple.  The kitchen looks so much better now, and I am very proud that I was able to finish my project before Christmas.  My head was tender to touch for six or seven days, and I had a huge bruise on my thigh that just recently went away.  A couple of days after my accident, LP was picking at me and said, “CJ, it’s a miracle that you didn’t kill yourself.  I guess you should have taken lessons from your daddy and learned how to fall softly.”  I snarled and shot a mean look at LP and said, “Well, believe me, for someone who hasn’t had much practice falling, I fell as softly as I could.”  Then we both just died laughing.  😛

Lucky in Pea Ridge, Kentucky

After serving twenty-one years in the U.S. Air Force, my brother retired and moved back to Kentucky.  Unlike me and my sister, he wanted to move out to the country and live on farmland.  So, he bought a nice house and some land in this little place called Pea Ridge, Kentucky.  And believe me, Pea Ridge, Kentucky is pretty much in the middle of nowhere; there is nothing there.  In order to get to his house, you had to take a two lane highway for about twenty miles and then turn off on a country back road and drive another five miles.  Although his place was beautiful, I never could figure out why anyone would want to live so far away from everything.  I remember one year, he and his wife were throwing a “pre” Christmas party.  Family members and a few friends were invited and, of course, I planned to attend.

At that time, my mother was living in a care facility because earlier that year she had had a very bad stroke.  The stroke damaged the right side of her brain, leaving her unable to move the left side of her body.  We placed her in a the best care facility we could find, so she could receive the physical therapy that she needed  and we were hoping that one day she would be well enough to come home.  I visited her two or three times a week and would have lunch or supper with her.  Then I would read to her and sometimes I just tell her some of my stories.  I always managed to make her laugh and her laughter and her smiles always made me laugh and smile too.  Each time I would visit her, I would coach her through some of her exercises and she seemed to improve slightly every day, but I knew it would be a long time before she would be able to walk or to use her left arm and hand.  Mom, enjoyed being outside so every chance I got, I made sure she went outside to enjoy the birds, the flowers and the trees.  Occasionally, when the weather was nice, I would have the staff at the care facility help me get her into my car and we would go riding around.  Anyway, my brother and his wife were having this “pre” Christmas party and I decided that I would take Mom to the party.  I told Mom my plans and she was looking forward to going.

The day before the party, it snowed like crazy and it snowed all day.  I was getting concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get to the party because I knew that the country roads to Pea Ridge weren’t traveled very much, and I knew they would be covered with snow and ice.  When I got home from work that day, I called my brother and asked if they were still having the party.  He said, “Yes.”  Then I asked, “How are the roads down there?  They’re pretty slick here.  I’m not sure I can get down there.”  He assured me the roads were drivable and he told me just to take it slow and easy and I wouldn’t have a problem.  After I was finished talking to my brother, I hung up the phone and sat there for a few minutes thinking, “I can’t believe that their roads aren’t bad; ours are terrible.  And we have tons of traffic here, and they might have ten cars go down their road in an entire week.  I still wasn’t convinced that the roads were clear enough for my vehicle to get to their house and back home, so I called my sister.  When she answered the phone, I said, “Hey Margo.  Are you still planning on going to the party?  Bro said the roads weren’t that bad down there, but I’m not sure that I believe that; our roads are terrible.  How are the roads at your house?  My sister said her roads were bad too, but she said she would put her jeep into four-wheel drive so she shouldn’t have a problem.  After we finished talking, I sat at the kitchen table staring out the window studying the snow and wondering if I should go to the party or stay home.

About thirty minutes later, I had made my decision to stay at home.  I called Mom and told her that I thought the roads were too bad, so I had decided that it would be best if we both stayed inside where it was safe and warm.   Although she said she understood, she sounded very disappointed.   I told Mom that I would try to see her the next day and then I hung up.  She had been looking forward to this party for two weeks and now she couldn’t go because I wasn’t going.  I felt so bad and I was really depressed when my friend, Lynn, showed up.  As soon as Lynn saw me she knew something was wrong.  She looked at me and asked, “CJ, are you alright?  Is there something wrong?”  Now, I don’t cry very often, but big tears came into my eyes and I shook my head, “yes” and Lynn said, “Tell me!  What’s wrong?” Trying desperately not to cry, I put my hand on my forehead and rubbed my fingers through my hair and even though I was choked up, I managed to mumble, “I can’t take Mom to the party and she sounded so disappointed.  I really want to take her, but I don’t think my car will make it down those country roads.  I just barely made it home from work.”   Lynn came over and gave me a hug and she said, “It’ll be alright.”  I looked at her and said, “I don’t see how.” She said, “We’ll think of something.”  Then I turned my face toward the window to try to hide my tears.  Lynn sat down at the kitchen table with me and after about ten minutes of silence, I stood up and walked over to the counter and grabbed a cigarette and lit it.  Lynn was looking out the window when she said, “I’ll take you and your mom to the party.  What time do we need to leave?”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  I looked at Lynn and asked, “Would you really do that for me?”  Lynn said, “Yeah, I would.  You’re my best friend, and your mom’s pretty special too, so think of it as an early Christmas present.”  I was happy that Lynn had offered, but I also wanted to make sure that she knew what she was getting into so I asked, “Are you sure?  Do you think your car will make it down that snowy, narrow, county road?  There’ a lot of hills and curves too you know.”   Lynn said, “My car is front wheel drive and it’s made it down country roads before in snow.”  So, it was settled.  Mom and I had a ride to the party.  I called Mom back and told her the good news and told her that Lynn and I would pick her up the next morning.

We picked up Mom at eight o’clock that morning and we headed to Pea Ridge, Kentucky.  It had quit snowing, but the flurries from the day before had accumulated into about six inches of snow.  I must admit that it was smooth sailing until we reached the Todd County line.  Once we reached the county line, the two lane highway that had been clear had suddenly become snow packed and very slick.  Lynn’s speed went from 60 miles per hour down to 35 miles per hour.  The only evidence of other vehicles was the narrow path of tire tracks that lay before us in the road.  I could see that Lynn was nervous, and I was thinking, “CJ.  What the hell did you get us into?”  I kept wishing we had just stayed home, but we were over half way there and if the road didn’t get any worse, we would be fine.  Lynn turned off on the narrow country road that led to my brother’s house and in just five miles we would be finally be there.  Over the hills and around the curves we went.  By the time we reached my brother’s house, I was a nervous wreck.  And I know that Lynn was just as happy to get out of that car as I was.

The party was fun and we all had a good time.  There was lots of food and good conversation, and most importantly, Mom got to share the day with us.  Even though it was fun, the entire time we were there, I kept thinking about getting back in the car and I was dreading the ride home.  It was about two thirty that afternoon and I could see both Mom and Lynn were getting tired, so I told everybody that we had better be going.  Mom was in her wheelchair and while Lynn pulled the car up closer to the door, I wheeled Mom outside.  My brother and Lynn put Mom into the passenger seat and I jumped into the back seat.  As we drove off, we waved bye to everyone.  Lynn was driving down the narrow road and I was telling her how much I appreciated her doing this for us.  Then we came upon the steepest and most curvy part of the road and Lynn said, “This is the only spot that I am worried about.”  I said, “Yeah, me too.  We make it up this hill and the rest will be a piece of cake.”  Lynn gave the car gas to pick up more speed and we crossed the bridge and headed up the hill.  Just when I thought we were going to make it, the car started sliding sideways.  Lynn was wrestling with the steering wheel trying to keep the car on the road, I and was sitting in the back seat feeling helpless.  Apparently, the morning sun had melted the snow on the road and when the sun had shifted in the sky, the shade covered the road and a sheet of ice had formed.  The ice was making it impossible for Lynn to steer, but we inched our way up the hill.  We were moving forward, but at the same time, we were moving closer and closer to the left edge of the road.   When we got about three feet from the edge, I said, “Lynn, you need to get back on your side of the road.”  Lynn said, “I’m trying, but the road’s covered in ice and I can’t get back over.”    About half way up the hill, the car came to a complete stop.  I could feel the wheels spinning, but we weren’t moving.  Lynn put the car into reverse so she could back down the hill a few feet, but the cars started sliding clockwise until the car was sitting side ways in the left lane.  We didn’t stop sliding until the back wheel was off the road.  Lynn put the car in park and we both got out and looked around.  The tail end of the car was only inches from a four-foot drop off, and Lynn and I both knew that if we got stuck in that drop off, we would be there for a long time.

I got back into the car and grabbed my cell phone, but I couldn’t get a signal.  Lynn got her phone out, but she couldn’t get a signal either.  It was freezing cold outside and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere, on the wrong side of the road without a phone.  We sat in the car for a few minutes to warm up and then Lynn and I got back out of the car.  I looked up the hill and tried to see around the curve, but it was no use.  I kept thinking, “If someone comes around that curve and starts down the hill, we are in big trouble.”  Neither Lynn nor I knew what we were going to do, and we were both so afraid another car would come sliding down that hill and crash into us.  Mom couldn’t walk and there was no way Lynn and I could get her out of the car and to safety.  Lynn said she would keep trying to get a signal on her cell phone and I got back into the car and checked on Mom.

I sat in the car with Mom for a few minutes and she seemed to be fine.  Actually, I don’t think she had a clue of how serious of a situation we had gotten ourselves into.  Mom knew we were stuck, but she didn’t know how bad it was, and that was fine with me because honestly, I didn’t want her to be scared.  Lynn and I took turns sitting in the car talking to Mom.  We had been there for about thirty minutes and I knew that it was only a matter of time before another vehicle came around that curve and down the hill.  I told Lynn, “You stay here with Mom and keep trying to get a signal on your phone, and I’m going to the top of the hill and around the curve to stop any traffic that might be coming this way.  I had just made it to the top of the hill when I heard Lynn yell, “CJ! I got a signal.”  I turned around and started back down the hill and Lynn met me halfway.  Lynn said, “I got a signal and called your brother.  The phone kept cutting out, so I don’t know how much he understood before I got cut off.”   I told Lynn to stay with Mom and I was going back up the hill.

Did I say it was freezing cold that day?  Well it was and being in such hurry and such a panic, I left my coat in the car.  However, I did have my gloves on.  I am not sure why I had gloves on and no coat, but I thought “Well, at least my hands are warm.”  Have you ever noticed that when the ground is covered with snow, you can hear everything.  Well, you can, so I heard every car going down the main highway and just when I would think the vehicle was headed in my direction, the sound would fade away.   By the time I had finished walking, I had almost walked all the way to the main road.  Even though I had not seen Lynn for thirty minutes or so, I knew my brother had found them because I could hear lots of voices coming from that direction.  It wasn’t long after I began hearing voices that I heard a vehicle approaching me from behind.  I turned around to look and in the distance I saw my brother’s truck and right behind it was Lynn’s car.    My brother pulled up beside me and grinned and said, “The roads were a little bit worse than I thought.”  I got in his truck and road to the main road with him.  Once Lynn reached the main road, I got in the car with her and Mom.  My brother turned around on the main road and headed back to his house and we headed back to the care facility.

I don’t remember talking at all on the way to the care facility.  Actually, I believe Mom fell asleep.  Once we got Mom back safely, Lynn and I headed home.  I told Lynn that I was sorry and that I should have used good judgment and stayed at home.  Lynn said, “It’s fine.  We are all okay.  So it’s no big deal.”   I commented that I was scared to death that a car was going to plow into us.  Lynn said she was scared too, but we both knew Mom wasn’t worried one bit.  We talked about everything for a few minutes and then I asked Lynn, “So, what did you Mom do while I was at the top of the hill?”  Lynn said, “We talked a little bit.”  Lynn giggled and said, “Yes.  It was quite interesting.”  Then she giggled again.   Wondering what was so funny, I asked, “What did you talk about.  What’s so funny?”  Lynn said, “Oh nothing really, just some of the comment your mom made.”  Now I was really curious so I asked, “What comments?  Tell me!”  Lynn said, “Well, after you had gone up the hill and I had made the phone call, I got back into the car and your mom asked me why we were just sitting there.”  Mom said, “Lynn, were not moving.  Why aren’t we moving?”  Lynn said, “Edna, we’re stuck.  We got off on the side of the road and we can’t get out.  But don’t worry your son is on his way to get us out and he should be here any minute.”  Mom said, “Okay.”  After they sat there for a couple of more minutes, Mom said, “CJ.  You’re being so quiet; are you asleep?”  Lynn said, “CJ went to the top of the hill.”  Mom said, “Oh.  Okay.”  Then Mom said, “What’s at the top of the hill.”  Lynn said, “Nothing, she just wants to make sure nobody comes down the hill.”  Mom asked, “Why?”  Lynn replied, “Because if someone comes down the hill, they might hit us because we’re on the wrong side of the road.”  Mom said, “Well, move the car.”  Lynn said, “I can’t move the car because we’re stuck.”  Mom said, “Oh that’s right.”  Then after a couple of more minutes, Mom said, “Lynn, do you have any salt?”  Then I asked, “Why did she want salt?”  Lynn said, “Well CJ, it makes perfect sense.  We were stuck, so if we put salt on the road, the snow and ice would melt and we wouldn’t be stuck anymore.”  I laughed and said, “What did you say?”  Lynn said, “No, Edna, I don’t carry salt around with me.”  Mom said, “Well, maybe you should.”  Then a few minutes a later Mom asked, “Lynn, do you have any peppermint candy?”  Lynn said, “No, Edna, I don’t have any peppermint candy.”  Then a few minutes later Mom asked, “Lynn, do you have any chewing gum?”  Lynn said, “No, Edna, I don’t any chewing gum.”  Lynn said she figured Mom gave up asking her for things when Lynn told her, “No, Edna, I don’t have any fingernail clippers.”  By this time I realized that Mom had no idea how close we had come to a total disaster, and some how that made me feel better.  The more Lynn and I talked about our adventure in Pea Ridge, the more we found humor in it and the more we laughed about it.

This will be the second year that I won’t be spending the Christmas holiday with my mom.  But every once in a while, I remember that December day when we were stuck in the snow in the middle of nowhere.  Needless to say, it bitter-sweet memory for me, but it always makes me laugh.  I have visited my brother several times since then, but I have never, ever been back when there’s snow on the road.  I figure the next time I might not be so lucky.  And believe me, there’s nothing worse than being stuck in Pea Ridge, Kentucky.