MANY HA HA’S – Humor where we least expect it – The Race is on

Tammy Curtis, PublisherTammy Curtis

Tammy Curtis, Publisher

To most, vacation is a time of relaxation and escape from the everyday hustle and bustle life throws at us. While it is always fun, sadly, it is also short-lived. Like many, our vacation involves a long drive. By long, I mean about 20 hours.

To my husband and son-in-law, when vacay is over the race is on… literally and figuratively as we beat a path to Arkansas for over 1,200 miles. The discussion begins about 24-hours prior to lift off. The men with their tanks filled to the maximum capacity, plan the absolute shortest route, time of departure and what provisions should be packed in advance. This said lift off usually occurs under the veil of darkness in the early morning hours. 6 a.m. it is and by-golly, we can’t be late. They are up 30 minutes earlier with nothing to do but get in the car, because we have preloaded everything except our toothbrushes and the comfy clothes we plan to travel in. I am not sure they didn’t sleep in theirs to save more time.

We board the pre-packed white stallion (white GMC Denali truck)and silver thoroughbred (silver Ford Explorer) at exactly 5:49 a.m. a few minutes before sun-up and are Arkansas bound in quick fashion. Like the George Jones Song, “The Race is On,” make no mistakes…pride is always in the back stretch. No way would they allow Mrs. Navigation to be right about her prospective time of landing in the Natural State. It is always an unspoken male challenge… beating Nav no matter what, come peed pants, growling stomachs or stiff muscles. It wasn’t my heartache of leaving Colorado that I found going to the inside in about three hours. But, I was trying to hold back my tears one energy drink and a water later at 9,000 feet altitude as I almost pee my pants. The first of many thoughts of asking to stop entered my mind about 30 minutes before they were actually spoken. “I need to pee.” This was met instantly with a “We aren’t stopping at every little town. You don’t drink anything else.” Hello, we already passed 14 towns and it’s way passed urgent. He begrudgingly spun the stallion’s tires entering the Monarch Pass Stop as I had already pre-unbuckled and threw the door open. I ran with my legs crossed to the bathroom to relieve myself. Obviously, it was at the point furthest from the vehicle within the store. I then sprinted back to the car so we could quickly take flight, making every effort not to waste more than the required one and half minutes to do my business. Not even the grandkids joined me. I could feel the glares from my son-in-law through the tinted windows as I joined them to re-enter the race.

It was then that I immediately began to strategize about my next perspective stop, well in advance. I even text my daughter a few hours early to no avail in an attempt to try to persuade one of the grands to request the next stop so I wouldn’t have to. That is usually more well received. Nope, they were fine. These people obviously don’t pee. No worries, food wasn’t a stop option either. We were amply equipped with leftover pizza, lots of snacks and drinks …drinks I was told not to consume. So, unless we needed fuel or more than two in our party needed to take advantage of the facilities-we were in flight until the fuel gauges dictated otherwise. Whoever made up that two person rule is just wrong.

300 miles is a long race for a middle aged, post menopausal woman to wait to pee and I admit I wasn’t sure a few times I would survive. A She-Wee female urinal was a real thought for my next Amazon purchase. But, we were darn sure not allowing Mrs. Navigation to win this race. We were still twelve to fourteen minutes in front of her as the race continued past fuel stop one and finally hours and hours later, stop two where some-how we were able to go through drive through at the exit. Eyes remained affixed carefully to Nav the entire time. I prayed he got his food quickly or we might get passed and lose a precious minute. We stopped to fuel up at the same time at each of the two stops. We raced from Kansas to Missouri -which seemed to take days instead of hours- before making our final stop in Springfield around 9 p.m., over 15 hours after take off. But, we were just three stops in and winning and that is all that mattered.

It was at this time when the only non-bathroom related issue of our race presented itself. My son-in-law had managed to spill gas upon his shoes, undoubtedly from rushing the gas pump to do its thing faster than it wished. My daughter text me in fear of asphyxiation. I offered to stop and allow them to put the gassy shoes in the bed of the Stallion, so our grands, within their SUV, wouldn’t be putto sleep prematurely. But, the word “STOP” elicited a quick “NO”. Afterall, we already made three in hours, what more could we expect? Being a man of genius, my husband reasoned that at the next town we would pull up to a stop light side by side Thoroughbred to Stallion. Our granddaughter would then throw the shoes to the front of the vehicle where our daughter would intercept and pitch them in to the bed of the truck in one fast motion between lights. That is when I intervened and voiced an equally loud “NO”. So many things could go wrong with that scenario… all which would end the race on a bad note and we had come too far for that. I envisioned her missing the truck bed and the prized gas soaked Croc landing instead in the highway below. The chain reaction disaster would continue with my son-in-law loudly requesting our overly dramatic grand-daughter to exit the vehicle at the light and retrieve the shoes because they were on her side. At that point an epic emotional melt down would be triggered. The light would then change and cars would begin honking, creating a tense screaming environment as he drove off running over the shoes and forever leaving them in Missouri. I know how things happen and this was a hard “NO.” So, the shoes rode back to Heart, Ark., safely and stinkingly in the back of the stallion and we finally landed.

We had, in fact, won the race against Mrs. Navigation by nearly 20 minutes and all was well that ended well in our 18 hour and 25 minute race. I wouldn’t wager that they wouldn’t ride tomorrow, but they sure didn’t lay down or stall.

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