Friday, October 3, 2008

Flinstones, fear & flies

Thank you, Saucy, for the idea about the vaccum cleaner--I've sucked the flies to their doom. And thanks, Eurolush, but I think I'll pass on the gigantic German spiders. I'm a little bugged out for now. We had a hard frost last night, so my fly problem should end soon. The hard frost also means getting after some serious garden clean up. Fall is definitely here.

Apple muffins ready to sell...

The PTA event is gradually shaping up. I've drummed up 5 more tables, bringing me closer to the number required to keep a gym full of vendors happy. I hit the grocery store last night and this morning began filling the laundry baskets with the essential gear (extension cord? check. extra tablecloths? check. tape? check. money box? check.). I'm very grateful for having sons--planning a wedding would probably put me straight over the edge, and I'm certain my future DILs will appreciate my hands off policy. Mothers of the groom need only wear beige, pay the bar tab and show up smiling. That I can do! (Unless they choose to marry insipid bimbos, but that's a worry for another decade!)

The political campaigning was very stressful--making cold calls is among the most terrifying and horrid things I've yet to endure. Each time I dialed and got no answer, I was so relieved. Every GOP voter but 2 hung up on me before I could thank them for their time, several Democratic supporters railed into my ear about the economy, assuming, I guess, that I had some sort of pull with Senator Obama. I sat in a line-up of college girls making call after call to senior citizens, trying to sound respectful and friendly. After making 54 calls I went to talk to one of the coordinators and informed him I'd do anything, anything besides phone calls. I'd eat glass, scrub their bathroom, whatever. He gave me a look of great disappointment--this college kid who still lives at home, this passionate, idealistic kid untainted by age, experience and a general disenchantment with our nation's leaders. He told me that they needed callers to canvass the voters, but I was not to be swayed. I left with a stack of postcards I promised to write to encourage women voters (targeted because they are shut-in, living in rural areas). I'm to report with my hand-written postcards next Wednesday. I plan to bring snacks for the volunteers, too, to help boost morale. Calling people for a political campaign is just as nasty as calling volunteers for a PTA bake sale.

We all have those boxes, some of mine are in the basement, shoved behind Christmas decorations and a suitcase rarely used. A couple are in the corner of the highest shelves in the hall closet. The boxes of remnants, reminders and reminiscence. I came across one the other day and opened it on a fluke--I'd no idea what I'd find, in fact I thought it was school supplies. Instead I found this:

When I'd just started 2nd grade my parents moved our family to Thermopolis, Wyoming. We drove back and forth between Sheboygan, Wisconsin and our new home a couple times each year and we always stopped at the same truck stops for food (I ordered the shrimp platter at one particular truck stop, counting the shrimp every time to see if I really had 21 as the menu promised). We paid regular homage at Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Corn Palace, Wall Drug and even Laura Ingalls Wilder's homestead as my father tried to keep the journey more interesting for his 2 daughters stuck in our Pontiac's back seat.

Life on the road was a way of life for us because nothing is near or convenient in Wyoming. We did our Christmas shopping in Billings, Montana, we drove 40 minutes to a burg called Kirby to eat hamburgers almost every weekend. The stifling air in the car, the tan vinyl seats, the invisible line dividing me from my younger sister, the steady flow of mountain ranges and plains passing my window dominate my childhood memories.

Then I came across this mug the other day while going through a box of stuff my mom had packed and set aside years ago. I hadn't seen this mug in 25 years and I couldn't believe my eyes when I unwrapped it from old newspaper and held it in my hands. One of my favorite places on the journey across the midwest was Bedrock City, a life-sized replica of the Flinstones--we always stopped and posed for pictures in Fred's car, next to a giant Dino, and outside the Rubble's front door. The Flinstones was one of my favorite cartoons and Bedrock City charmed me every time. I completely forgot that my dad had shelled out cash for family souveniers on one stop.

Intrigued, I went online to see if Bedrock City still existed almost 30 years later. Guess what? Forty years after it's conception, you can still go there. Really! Go there! How cool is that? Do you know what kind of road trip I'm planning to take Team Testosterone on in a few years?

What crazy memory have you come across lately?


  1. I love road trips. I really do. And all those fun, funky, or just plain ol' tacky tourist attractions are the best!

    My family drove to Myrtle Beach, SC many times and, on the drive down, we'd see signs for South of the Border, which is one of the tackiest rest areas EVER. We'd beg loudly to go and FINALLY one year we did. It was so awful, yet so fabulous at the same time. I'll definitely take my kids some day.

  2. My road trip memory is doing a 5,000 mile round trip from San Diego to North Dakota and back as a newlywed with my husband's whole family.

    I had to stage a revolt when his Dad did not want to wait for Old Faithful to go in Yellowstone, since they'd all seen it before.

  3. Road trips... I LOVED road trips. My Dad was a late-night driver, and it was the greatest feeling in the world to hurtle down the road at what seemed like a million miles an hour singing our hearts out along with assorted "oldies" tapes while my Mom and my brother slept in the back of our snazzy van. Somehow, I doubt Daddy would've zonked out and run off the road at 2 a.m. without me to "keep him awake", but he still assured me that my role was surely the reason we always arrived safely.

  4. I wrote about our family road trips once. They were, as my sister likes to say, unique. Those Wall Drug billboards go on and on for miles and miles. Amazing how they've managed to make it into a "must stop"

  5. I love that there's a town called Thermopolis.
    My brother called me up recently singing the jingle from an old Kent cigarette commercial! Some of those were pretty bizarre - you can find some online for a blast from the past.

  6. You community organizer, you:) Can I come over and bake with you?

  7. Good for you making those cold calls. I've done that. It can be scary.

  8. DOTR loves driving at night. Back in the day when we still used to go to Nebraska by car, he would humor us with the Sharon, Lois and Bram sing along tapes until it was time for the baseball games to start. Nothing like riding in the dark and listening to baseball. We'll probably never do a road trip like that again.

    Thank God.

  9. That is AWESOME. I keep hoping to come across mementos from my past (one miniature bowling ball in particular), but it's not happening. I guess I really have moved too often.

  10. I hope you are planning on displaying Wilma in an appropriate shrine. I will forgive you for keeping such a wonderful treasure in a shoe box for two decades, only because you were cold calling for B.O., our next Prez!!!
    Shrimp at a truck stop? You are a daredevil.

  11. I love road trips -- and I always buy mugs!
    And was the college 'kid' in charge named Bob? :) In a little storefront downtown? I kinda wanted to fix him up with my daughter...

  12. No crazy memories yet but just a couple of comments:

    1. DO NOT wear beige to your son's wedding. I will personally come there, tear it off you and dye it red or something snazzy.

    2. Did you remember masking tape? And pack ziploc baggies too, they'll be handy - you never know what for... and,

    3. You went to the Ingalls homestead? I am very jealous. That would be way cooler than Bedrock City.

    I'm a nerd.

  13. I wanna be like you when I grow up...No really I do. : )

  14. I'm class rep for one of my boys this year... those calls I'm going to have to make are making me shudder already!

    As for bugs, I am sitting here with a mosquito zapper in my hand. It's like a racquet with electrically charged thingies, and you wave it and the mosquitoes stick to it sparking and screaming in pain. Then they die.

    VERY satisfying!

  15. Those muffins look delicious!!
    I'm happy to show up and pay the bar tab, too :)
    And phone calls? I believe in the cause but I'd have a super tough time doing them, too. I am proud of you for giving it a shot, though, and stepping out of your comfort zone! Thank you! :)

  16. We just cleaned out our attic and I came across a photo of me with my sister from happier days, both of us yards skinnier, both with over-the-top perms we no longer have, laughing hysterically over something I've forgotten now. But that snap made me remember how close we'd been and I may have to frame it!

    Your muffins are packed and headed to my house, right?

  17. I so remember driving to Janesville, Wisc, from Chicago to visit my Aunt Shirley. We went several times a year for holidays, and I recall stopping on the way at some clock tower cafe or something? I don't know what it was called or anything...but I remember this big Big Ben-like clock and listening to the Helen Reddy 8-track the whole way there.

  18. What a wonderful souvenir. And what on earth lured your family to Thermopolis to live?

  19. I canvassed door-to-door today. It was exhausting and demoralizing. I'm volunteering for phone bank next time.

  20. Oh the phone calls. I'm with you. I just offered to do stacks of data entry to try and get out of doing the exact same thing.

  21. The very first tv show I saw in color was the Flintstones. We had to have been the last family on our cul de sac to get a color television. Also? Butter softening on the kitchen island as I write make cinnamon muffins. It's a muffin kind of day.

  22. I am so glad to know that I'm not the only one who hates cold calling people and is willing to help the Obama campaign in any way that doesn't involve actually having to converse with people of an unknown political stance. I signed up for a voter registration drive on Saturday and spent all Friday night having panic attacks about it. Luckily, it was canceled. I was left feeling like I had tried to help without actually having to do any talking.

    I'd be really good at leaving fliers on doors while people are away at work. Do they have a position like that? Oh, and I'd totally bake up a storm for the other less anxiety stricken volunteers.

  23. How incredibly cool! The mug memory, that is, not the campaigning - I have no idea who Terry Nelson is (should I, or is he local to your area?) but we get SO MANY calls asking who we're voting for, vote for Obama, etc. because hubby is union. Oy vey! Enough already!!! I'm SO SICK of this election already!

    I've really been wanting to take the fam on a road trip - I may just wait till they're a bit bigger, but that place sounds cool!


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