Saturday, June 15, 2024

Road tip woes


 We just got back from a wedding last weekend. That's another road trip in the books and another bout of COVID hopefully nearing an end in my system. Yes, I think this is the third time in less than a year, but who's counting? Traveling would have more sparkle and shine for me if it didn't always seem to precede fever, blinding headache, and hacking cough.

On the bright side of my pessimistic mood, traveling from the North into the Southern regions of our nation is always an opportunity for storytelling.

We'd been watching for a rest stop for quite some time and finally found one in a small Missouri town. One of those combo gas station/grocery/bait shops that are so popular. The kind that makes you wish you'd brought a fishing pole along. As it was the only bathroom we'd seen for miles and miles, there were quite a number of people waiting their turn. You would think that the owners of this wonderful establishment, knowing they'd cornered the market on available toilets, would have had mercy and put more than two stalls in the women's rest room, but alas.

The line was long and going no where. A young mother with two small children had taken up residence in the handicapped stall. For long agonizing minutes we got to hear her repeatedly encouraging them to keep trying and asking whether they needed to poop, while half a dozen middle-aged and older women, with possibly weak bladders, squeezed into a 4X5 waiting area, shuffled our feet, and stared intently at the dirty floor.

A younger woman came in behind me and when she saw the situation I said, "Apparently, this is the only indoor bathroom in Missouri." She laughed but informed me, "There's a great place about twenty miles down the road near where we're camping. It has huge facilities and a big liquor store attached." She imparted this information as though it were a cross between a Big Foot sighting and The Fountain of Youth. I'd never heard of a Rest Stop liquor store, sounded sort of dangerous for fellow travelers to me, but we were on foreign soil, so I just nodded and smiled.

Hearing the young mother continue to plead with her children to go, I was sorely tempted to skip the line and point Leon toward the Fountain of Youth Rest Stop, but finally the stall door opened and out came the frazzled mother with a kindergarten aged girl who avoided eye contact and a boy about three with thick golden curls who grinned at us all like he was waiting for applause.

Thankfully, we all survived the wait, but it could very well have been those close confines that insured I once again was blessed with COVID.

On our return trip along that same Missouri highway, a billboard advertisement caught my eye. The Lips to Hips Bakery. I was really craving a doughnut right about then but as a Minnesotan who rarely tells it like it is, that too realistic picture of my heart's desire turning quickly into a permanent fixture on my hipline was anything but alluring. Southern cute and charming sounds a lot like Just Say No to a northern girl.

Until next time. Please leave a comment and share something interesting or funny from your travels.

Thanks for stopping!

Barbara

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