Saturday, November 6, 2010

Not So Happy Campers (Part 2)

Allen reluctantly pulled out of the park and turned the car toward Georgetown, where we planned to break the drive at his uncle and aunt’s house.  We knew they would have supper for us, but all that walking and shivering had worked up an appetite, so we stopped earlier at a small-town pizza place to refuel.  It wasn’t quite 5 pm, so the buffet was empty and the staff light, but we were too tired to care.  After all, Sunday evenings during football season in rural Texas are probably not prime hours for dining out.

We hit the road again after a welcome hot meal and arrived at Uncle Alvin’s before dark.  No one was home, but we knew where to find the key and let ourselves in.  A note lay on the kitchen table saying he and Aunt Joanna had gone to a program at church and would see us before eight o’clock.  That freed us to attend to the next order of business, hot showers.

Clean and pajama-clad, we fixed hot tea and settled in to watch television and try to stay awake until they returned.  We waited, channel-surfed, checked the time, and waited some more.  When they still weren’t home at 8:30, we composed our own apologetic note for the table and went to bed.

The next morning we arose at oh-dark a.m. to pack the car and complete the remaining 200 miles of our journey in time to get Allen to work by 9 a.m.. Yet another gracious note on the kitchen table said our hosts were so sorry they missed us the night before but understood how tired we must have been.  They would make coffee for us and see us off.

The house was still dark and quiet, so we found the coffee and made it ourselves.  Then we loaded the car.  Then we drank the coffee.  Still there were no signs that Uncle Alvin and Aunt Joanna were awake.

We were quickly losing whatever margin we had on the travel timetable.  Allen decided we really, really needed to leave.  I scrawled another guilty note and we departed.

At least we would have the consolation of McDonald’s breakfast on the way out of town, or so we thought.  The signs weren’t lit yet, but the interior was.  If memory serves, we approached the drive-through anyway and called out, “Hello! Are you there?” until it became clear that no one was.  Or perhaps they were laughing at us too hard to reply.

That’s odd.  Even the fast-food employees were running late today?  You know it’s Monday when. . .  At least there was a 24-hour Whataburger nearby.  We obtained breakfast and more coffee there and transitioned to the highway.

I don’t remember whether we listened to music or talked or just silently processed the weekend, but somewhere around Waco my lights finally came on.  When I smacked my palm, hard, against my forehead, Allen said, “What? Did you forget something? It’s ok; they’ll mail it to us later.”

“Um, yes, honey, we forgot something.”

“This must have been the weekend to change the clocks back.”

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