Slim Jims and Beef Jerky

How far is it? When do we leave? Will it take all day?

These are the questions we often get when starting out on one of those road trips. The never-ending ribbon of asphalt that seems to go on and on. Soon the road that was straight becomes nothing but curves and hills. And just as you near the no passing zone, you’re stuck behind “Hilda” a joy-riding gal, barely peaking over the steering wheel of  her 1970 Crown Victory, cruising at a strong 35 mph.  I had turtles passing me and waving.

On this trip, like all my others,I tell myself I’m not going to stop until we get fuel. But my bladder and the fuel tank are not the same size, so I stop and refuel and get something else to drink and eat.  The added consumption of foot long hot dogs with chili and onions will be sure to give enough indigestion to stay awake. But if your luck runs the same way mine does, that indigestion can turn into severe cramps followed by- oh you guessed it – a surprise attack! Is that a gas pain or something else?  And I  just passed a sign that said road construction next 11 miles!

I broke into a cold sweat. Traffic has now come to a snail’s pace.  I begin to strategize. How far is it to that grove of trees- and can I make it back before traffic starts moving again?

My sweet wife Shannon says, ” You have got be kidding! You’re not really thinking aobut doing that!  Panic has set in and I’m having labor pains.Traffic is now like  a stampede of rushing shoppers on black Friday at Wal-Mart at 5 AM. Scratch that idea. It’s too late, I have to think of a better idea and quick before something happens.  I rolled down the window to get a fresh breeze and put on some loud music to dull the pain.

There in the distance I saw a sign, maybe it is a rest area, an island in this sea of confusion of traffic and paving equipment. I have now reached a cruising speed of 55 mph- not fast enough! I need warp speed, you know that kind Captain Kirk would holler at Scotty when he was in a bind. Speaking of a bind, maybe those cheese and crackers would help. Cheese and peanut butter are supposed to hold the world together.

“Shannon, pass me them crackers and be quick about it!” She says in her little sweet voice, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Biting my lip now, ” Get me that peanut butter, my gosh and be quick about it!”

Now it’s  just a quarter of a mile to the sign that I hope says Rest Area Next Exit. Funny how in the midst of confusion what looks like Rest Area from a distance, is actually No Facilities.  Are you kidding?! This isn’t fair. By now, those labor pains have turned into contractions and there coming quick!

“Hold on,” she says trying to encourage me, “Think of something relaxing. You know, like sitting on the beach watching the waves come in.” You have got be out of your mind! There is only one thing I want to sit on and it’s not a beach.

But wait- there in the distance I see it. A glimmer of hope. A truck stop,!  Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause! That old Ford of mine comes in on two wheels and the wagon I’m hauling is trying to pass us before we get stopped. I break and run like school children at recess. “Out my way,” I shout, “This is an emergency!”

Can you tell me why they put those bathrooms at the most farthest point from any entrance door in the building? I ran over a display rack of Slim Jims and Beef jerky but I did dodge the lady with the stroller.

Through the door that said Bulls and there it was- the handicap stall.  The Cadillac of all porcelain Gods.

Well let’s pick up this story some short 10 minutes later. I came out of the truck stop, weaker and with trophies: a GPS, a 44 ounce root beer and that display rack of Slim Jims and Beef Jerky. It wasn’t my fault, the store manager said if you break it you buy it. The look I got from Shannon was that of confusion and disbelief, “You have got be kidding me.” I told her me and that old Ford both have to be refueled after that kind of trip. And as for the GPS I bought, well worth it. I had the clerk in the store program all the rest stops for the next 500 miles.


2 thoughts on “Slim Jims and Beef Jerky

  1. Oh no, how many times have I been where you are. It’s amazing how things work better/worse with age, hmmmm, just depends on your view of the situation!! Aren’t we lucky we married such good gals to guide us through a tough spot!!

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