Friday, November 24, 2006

The trip went something like this . . .

As we drove through rural mid-Missouri, here is what we heard all day.
(Names deleted to protect the dead and innocent)

Who lives there now?

Oh that's ___ ___ place, remember her? She died and her son bought it.

Oh, right, well what about the old ________ place?

______ bought it, and they turned it into a turkey farm.

A turkey farm?

Yep.

They're putting a lot of money into that place.

Yeah, must be some commercial turkey farm.

Prolly.

Would you look at that mess!

Yeah, they just take everything in the back yard and dump it.

I'll say!

What about ______. Is he still living there?

Yeah, but he got divorced and married a one-armed woman from Arkansas.

That's no surprise.

Nope.

See that rock house? Used to be the poor house. Boy, did it stink.

Who bought it?

I dunno, someone and they fixed it all up. Prolly never did get the stink out, though.

Remember _______?

Yeah. I remember him [inflection of disgust missing here]. Isn't he dead?

Yeah, but his kid moved in. I bet he's got the first nickel he ever made. There he is now! [red truck exits driveway].

Prolly does. He works days in St. Louis and makes $50,000. Then he has two side jobs and makes cabinets.

I'll be.

What about ______? They still live over to ________?

Nope, sold out, not sure to who.

Wasn't he a second cousin?

Yup.

There's ___________'s house. They go to church in _____.

She won the lottery.

No.

No, but she tells everyone she did.

There's ________'s barn; did they fix up the house?

Yup. He fixed up the house then he died. Then he left $300,000 to the Catholic church. Boy.

I'll say.

[Aside to me from Aunt ____]. We weren't allowed to talk to the Catholics when we grew up, you know?

[Me, hearing my mother roll over in her grave] Really?

Yup. We went to school with 'em, but we didn't talk to 'em.

[Me, thinking, you still don't much, as I discretely tuck my St. Christopher's medal into my shirt.]

Really.

What about _______? He still working for the railroad?

No, retired.

Retired, huh? He retired the day he showed up for work. I worked with him at the electric coop and believe me, he never worked a day in his life.

Did you use to have to wear those big life jackets when you was on the river?

Yup, boy, they was heavy.

[My s/o and I look at each other and roll our eyes.]

There's the _____ house.

Yup, that's the _____ house. They put up new siding.

After he died, she never married again. She was about ten years younger than him.

Yup, she was.

I saw her at church a few weeks ago, I don't know who she come with.

Don't say.

Yup.

That's the bank my nephew works at. Boy, they have good food. Twice a year they invite you in and boy, what a spread.

Well, look there. What's that?

That's an alpaca.

A what?

An alpaca.

What's that?

It's like a llama; they sell its wool [I offer.]

Hm.

Slow down, this road is dangerous. They straightened it out some after the ______ boys died here in the 70s. I always test my brakes before I come down this hill. If they're gone, I'd just drive into the ditch.

[I slow down and prepare to die.]

Look at the old _______ place. It's still got the original aluminum siding on it.

Yup.

[My s/o look at each other and snicker.]

What about ____ _____?

Oh, she died and her daughter, you remember her daughter. She wasn't right. Anyway, she's living in a house they built her on the back of their parcel. They gave the ________'s some land to live there and look after her. She's living by herself, though.

I bought this van from ______.

I know you did.

Don't know what she wanted with this big thing. She liked it though.

What year is it?

It's a '97.

How many miles on it?

About 12,000.

Don't say.

Yup.


********

Now I'm not judging, I'm just reporting. But I'm sure you get the idea. Three hours up and three hours back. But the food was great, it was great to see my s/o's daughter, who is so sweet and such a good gal. She teaches high-school English, God bless her, in an inner-city school. I remember how we tormented my sophomore English teacher, who was dumb enough to play us Burl Ives records and get all dreamy-eyed while we laughed hysterically, and I think "she's a warrior!"

There were two high school foreign exchange students from Germany. They were such good kids, so polite, they spoke about four languages each, and so very smart. We had a great discussion about their country, their view of WWII, their views of Americans and how we (a few of us in attendance, anyway) feel about the state of our nation and how we must be viewed abroad. It was so neat to meet these kids and learn about their country and their ambitions. When I meet kids like that, I get hope for the future.

It's funny; I guess I wasn't the only one worrying about a safe trip. My s/o's aunt said when we parked her van at her house, "Boy, I prayed for a safe trip." I guess great minds think alike.

2 comments:

Meg Moran said...

I don't know what to say except you are hilarious!

Karen Shanley said...

This is hysterical. You should submit it as an article somewhere-if you haven't already.
Thanks for the giggles.

Karen (who is also a writer with two dogs)