Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Travelin' Man

     My tribe and I are prepared to start our cross country trek to the "Great White North" to see family in Wisconsin.  I've always felt a bit like a wanna be Gypsy of sorts, because I absolutely love to travel.  I've never really been able to go to all the places that I would like to see, but there is a certain yearning to travel.  I would love to see Rome, Greece, France, Spain, and pretty much any tropical location, but I get to see Wisconsin.  I have to say though, that I feel completely comfortable there and I consider the "Land of Cheese" my second home.  Now, if you know me, then you know how big that statement is.  For me to say that any place is my second home is huge, and I have great affection for Wisconsin and the people in it.  The Great State of Alabama has been and will always be my home, but Wisconsin is a close second.  We travel across the country normally at least once, sometimes twice a year.  We've almost got squished by a Semi in Nashville, had a flat tire in Gary, Indiana, and I almost had to shoot a couple of guys at a way-side in Chicago.  There are plenty of harrowing tales from our travels through Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.  I even accomplished the "Hat Trick" of traffic stops back many years ago by getting stopped by the police in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.  This idea of traveling put me in a traveling story mode, and I thought of a few that I would like to share.
     One of my first memories of travel that stuck with me was an incident that involved me and some family going to an Old Folks Home a couple hours away.  The exact location of this home is lost from my memory, but I do remember what happened on the way.  I was told to "Never tell" about this, but all that were involved are no longer with us, and they would probably think it was a funny story anyway.  The participants in this story were as follows: Granny, my dear mother Patsy, Aunt Lillie Mae, Aunt Josephine, and yours truly.  Yep, me and a bunch of women, I always got along better with women anyway.  We were going to see a family member, whose name I cannot remember, at the above mentioned old folks home.  On the way to our destination, the ladies in the vehicle (Granny's Cadillac) began to play with a CB radio that was in the car.  As you may know, truck drivers use the CB to communicate while traveling.  However, these conversations over the airways went a little sideways.  The ladies were having a blast with this back and forth with these truck drivers, and at times the comments got a little racy.  By the truck drivers, of course.  Eventually, and I'm not exactly sure how we got to this point, a truck driver came right by us.  The next thing I know my Aunt Lillie Mae stuck her leg out the window!  This was an extremely funny moment, because she was not the one that was communicating with these truck drivers.  My Aunt Josephine was the talker of the bunch, but Aunt Lillie Mae had the unfortunate "window seat" when the leg incident happened.  I remember thinking, "Wow, that escalated quickly."  It had something to do with, "Wanting to see some leg." The other ladies took to calling her "Go-Go Lil" for the rest of the trip.  I remember very well my mother telling me, "Don't tell your father or anyone else about this."  Well, Mama I put it under lock and key for about 35 years.  I haven't told this story to anyone, Until Now!  Sorry Mama, but it was really funny.  How those women lived!  I sure miss having them around.
     Speaking of traveling, yesterday Jesse asked me, "Dad have you ever wrecked a car?"  Well, this opened up a can of worms let me tell you.  I told him that I've tore quite a few cars to pieces over the years.  I totaled out three before I was 20 years old.  Yep, two of them were close to my house and were technically not my fault.  The third was an odd occurrence that is clouded in mystery, and happened in Blount County, Al.  I ended up wrapping my pick up truck around a tree in some guy's front yard.  How did this happen?  To quote Giorgio Tsoukolos of the History Channel's Ancient Alien TV series, "I'm not saying it was Aliens, but it was Aliens."  Actually, it was probably Evan Williams, and I can say that because the statute of limitations is up on this incident.  I left that part out when I told Jesse this story.  He went on to ask, "Did you ever crash a car when you were a police officer?"  The answer again was a definite, "Yes."  The one that sticks out in my mind was a rainy day and I passed a vehicle traveling in excess of 80 mph in a 50 mph zone.  I spun around and went after this vehicle, and as I approached and passed the crest of a hill, the car was right on the other side stopped.  I didn't see this vehicle until I was right on it, and I tried to stop before plowing into this nut case that had stopped in this horrible location.  I lost control of my vehicle, and slammed into a guard rail.  I was pretty upset, and I remember getting out of my patrol car with ticket book in hand.  I never liked to write tickets too much, but on this occasion it was going to be "Sweet!"  I got up to the vehicle, and discovered that this gentlemen was a State Law Enforcement Officer that worked for the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.  Professional courtesy was always something I believed in, so I let the guy go.  He said he was working a case locally, and was trying to get to a "problem" quickly.  I remember saying, "You really need to go to that problem now, because I'm gonna catch some kind of hell for wrecking this car and not even writing a ticket.  Please leave before I change my mind."  It pretty much sucked, but like they say, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  I should be pretty much "Hercules" by now.
     This last little story really doesn't have anything to do with traveling, but it just happened yesterday. This should be labeled, "The Great Chicken Nugget Debate of 2013."  Jesse decided yesterday that he wanted 20 chicken nuggets to eat, instead of the normal 10 piece nugget meal.  I gave him my standard answer, "No."  He decided that this was an issue that he really needed to argue with me.  This was a contentious argument from start to finish let me tell you.  We've always said that Jesse will make a great lawyer one day, because he is very adept at arguing a point.  Jesse's final argument was basically that he could in fact eat 20 nuggets, and it was a travesty and a miscarriage of justice that he would not be allowed to do so.  My final argument went a little something like this, "Look, I always pay about 8 bucks for one of your little 10 piece nugget meal deals and now you want me to pay dang near 20 bucks for more crappy chicken nuggets that you're not going to eat.  There is no way on God's green earth that you can eat 20 freaking chicken nuggets.  More importantly, Why in the heck would you want to eat 20 chicken nuggets anyway.  Your point is moot!"  Long story short, Jesse ended up getting a Double Cheeseburger meal instead of chicken nuggets as a protest for the perceived unfair treatment.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, "This is not a Democracy, and I will rule with an Iron-fist if need be."  However, let me be clear, I was not in any way treating any chicken nuggets unfairly.  I was only stating facts that were pertinent to this case.  That is all.
     We're looking forward to our travels, and I can't wait to see my good ole second home!  This should be a fun trip, and I hope to see the statue of the Fonz in Milwaukee and take the Laverne and Shirley sight seeing tour.  I'm going to eat my fill of "Butter-Burgers" and frozen custard.  Life will be good.  I will not attempt another "Hat Trick" on this journey, and by the way, Trooper Saloon of the Wisconsin State Police who broke up my Superfecta of not getting a ticket about fifteen years ago, I've got three words for you, "Eat my shorts."  I'll be driving the speed limit all the way through, undoubtedly you never heard of professional courtesy.  {{{ I'm a travelin man, made a lot of stops, all over the world }}}  Now, if you know that tune, try and get it out of your head.  Thanks Ricky Nelson.