There are some who start their retirement long before they stop working. -Robert Half

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Tumultuous Downpour.

Turns out, the breakfast was not as wonderful as we hoped and dreamed it would be. Papa made his own waffle and instead of pouring the batter in the middle of the pan, he poured equal amounts in each fourth of the pan and then I started flipping it over, and Papa asked me if I knew what I was doing, and I told him I know everything. He was impressed. He kept asking me where I learned how to use a waffle maker, so I told him I learned my mad waffle making skills from the dining hall in college. Except the waffles at the dining hall were Waffles Deluxe and had sprinkles and lots of sugary toppings to choose from and the waffle at the Quality Inn was just a waffle. Luckily, we still had our pecan pastry from Thayer, MO in the car so we could just fill up on breakfast dessert.

Also, our trip started out windy, when we left Cracker Barrel and the wind almost shut Grammy’s head in the car door, and quickly shifted to rainy. Actually, “rainy” isn’t a strong enough word, I think that I’ll use “flash-floody and terrifying” instead. It down-poured from 9am to 2pm, while we drove from Jackson to Mobile, Alabama. This past weekend, one of my friends, Sarah, was narrating our actions as if we were a living novel, and if she were here now, this is how our stop in Hattiesburg would sound:

The rain beat down on the water-logged car from all sides of the sky, making the passengers feel confined and claustrophobic and leaving them hoping the angry water wouldn’t rush them away to some unknown catastrophe. These small-town Missouri residents had never seen so much water at one time, and began to wonder if it would ever stop. Pulling off the road, Grammy, the fearless driver, began to search for a parking spot so they could wait out the storm instead of fighting the ever-powerful forces of nature. Just when they thought their trip was at an end and they would soon be recruited to start filling sandbags, the rain started slowing down to a slight drizzle and the travelers began to continue their southward journey. But, in their euphoria they didn’t consider the problems the massive amounts of rain would cause to the roads that would lead them onward. Grammy pulled back onto the busy highway only to encounter gushing water two-feet deep. The Lincoln Town Car they were driving seemed to groan in protest at the prospect of driving through the oncoming river. Images of the Lincoln floating down highway 98 like a unfortunate wagon in the Oregon Trail computer game flashed through Julie’s head as they slowly rolled (or floated) closer to the beckoning waves below. Yes, much smaller cars were driving right through this threatening waterfall, but the Lincoln is older and more refined and doesn’t do things like drive carelessly through rivers, so Grammy made a U-Turn, hopping the median, to find an alternate route. Finally, the heroic travelers found a high road to embark upon, and after a necessary stop at WalMart to buy butterscotch disks, they continued on their incredible voyage.

It was pretty intense. And though we thought the rain had stopped, once we started driving toward Mobile, it started again. I was driving and Papa was in the passenger seat and we talked almost the entire way about what speed I should drive. I was going about 15 mph below the speed limit, but Papa thought I should be driving slower than that. Luckily he fell asleep and I could listen to the John Denver tape on repeat in peace. Grammy slept on the way to Mobile, too, and when she woke up, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was playing (again) and she goes: “Are we still listening to this West Virginia song?! I think it’s time we change tapes.” So Papa turned the music off and said, “Here’s an easy fix to your problem.”

We ate at a restaurant called Felix’s in Mobile and sat facing the bay so we could watch the muddy water and the birds perching on logs. It was just like in Owensville when we sit at dinner and watch the birds. Except when we’re at home, Grammy gets up from the table a few times per meal to bang on the window and scare “those greedy blackbirds” away so they don’t eat all the bird food. From our Mobile dinner window, however, we could see alligators. On our way down here, I was thinking about how nice it would be to live in such a beautiful part of the country, but upon seeing those gators, my opinion has changed. Thanks to Reader’s Digest, I have an irrational fear of being attacked by alligators/crocodiles and sharks. I read the Reader’s Digest every morning while I’m eating breakfast (Grammy sets them all on the table for me to choose from), and there is, without fail, always a story about some small child that escaped the jaws of an alligator and is now left with scars all over his body or a tale of a near-deadly shark attack affecting some poor, innocent swimmer who now has a prosthetic arm. Thus, I don’t like oceans and I will forever steer clear of murky swamps. Grammy and I were also watching the Discovery Channel one night and there was a special on the world’s scariest creatures, and they said that crocodiles can run up to 10 mph! That means that a crocodile could definitely catch me, especially if we had to run for any extended length of time.

Then, we headed to Foley, Alabama because Grammy knows of a shoe store where she always finds wonderful shoes to buy. Once again, we had trouble finding a hotel, and then we had to go around and find the one with the best deal. Finally, Papa got tired of listening to us talk about the different hotels, he just went in and checked in to the Hampton Inn.

There is a huge outlet mall in Foley, Alabama so to pass the evening, we went shopping. Grammy and I split up and went shopping, and Papa went to the store he wanted to visit, but I soon found him napping on the bench outside Liz Claiborne, Grammy’s favorite store. When Grammy walked out to see what he was doing, she asked:

Grammy: Didn’t you find anything?
Papa: No, I’m too fat.
Julie: Well, did you try a bigger size?
Papa: No.
Grammy: Did you look in Nautica? You used to like Nautica.
Papa: No. And I’m not going to.

Eventually, Grammy made Papa go look in Nautica, but he didn’t find anything (or he didn’t try to find anything). When we got back to the hotel, we realized that no one brought a key to our room, so after checking our pockets multiple times and looking through the window to see the keys sitting on the nightstand, Papa went to the lobby and got three new keys. When he came back with the keys, he was excited to tell us they had cocoa, tea, coffee, cookies, and fruit inside for us to take, so we all took a trip to the lobby to get our hot beverage. Papa was very pleased with his hot chocolate. Then, since it was 9 pm, we decided to have dinner, which is the same dinner we had last night. This means, we sit at our table in our hotel room and eat crackers with pimento cheese, turkey lunchmeat, fruit, pecan breakfast dessert and cookies. Well, actually, Grammy and I ate the real food and Papa only ate the pecan breakfast dessert and cookies. And he wonders why he doesn’t fit in his pant size anymore. After we finished eating, Papa headed to the door and told us he’s going to the lobby to see if there is any new food set out, which really means, “I’m going to buy one of the candy bars they set out on the front desk.” My friend, Andrea, just had a baby today. I knew she was going to have him right when I went on vacation. When she had her first child, I was in Italy for spring break, so at least I'm in the same country this time (Andrea and Todd (her husband) also have a daughter named Riley who is the most adorable child on the face of the earth. I have a picture of her in my room, so almost every time Grammy comes in, we talk about how cute she is). Anyway, since I couldn't be there, Grammy, Papa and I have been waiting for word of this child's birth during our entire trip. Every time I got a phone call or text message (or as Grammy would say, "texing") they would ask me if the baby was here yet, and finally, baby Jayson did arrive! When I told them that, Grammy got really excited and talked about how wonderful that is and Papa just chuckled. During dinner, Grammy told us: "I don't know what other exciting things could happen now that the baby is born!" Once again, I'm going to have to tell my big brother that Grammy wants great-grandbabies.

Anyway, we also checked out the continental breakfast set-up at the Hampton, which looks more promising than our first continental breakfast. I’m basing this on the fact that the signs are prettier and the set up is classier. And they have a wide array of cereal choices, so when tomorrow comes and I still don’t like scrambled eggs or bacon (pork), I can find something to eat for breakfast.


  1. I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

  2. You have the longest posts! haha Sounds like your vacation has been quite an adventure...but of course it would be with Grammy and Papa! I'm glad to hear the breakfast will be better. Hopefully the weather will be better too!