When I lived in California I knew all the roads, routs and haunts. It was like an old shoe, worn, softened, an extension of my being. I had lived there all my life and felt safe to go anywhere. It was all just so familiar.
Then we moved here to N. Alabama and nothing made sense anymore. Roads changed names at every major crossing, crops are harvested and new ones planted spring and fall and nothing looks quite like it did just a few months previous. Roads are laid out haphazardly because the farmland is owned and farmers don’t like their property bisected into nice neat grids. Good for the easily lost, but not so convenient for the owner of said land! (I do understand this.)
So, after a while, when Bob started answering his phone: “Onstar, how may I help you.” (yes really) he bought me a Garmin nuvi for Christmas! One very similar to this…
The above device can be found and purchased HERE.
I liked that little blue car that followed the roads and the soothing voice that directed me to where I needed to be. It was my Dumbo’s feather, if you will,
and with it “I could [drive]”.
I knew I could go down any road, make any turn, enjoy any adventure, and then hit the home button and it would get me back! Easy.
Now before I left I knew the battery was going and that the only way to program it was to plug it into the car dash. I was under the erroneous assumption, that so long as it had a power source, my truck’s battery, it would continue working. After spending a comfortable night in Mt Vernon, IL, I packed the truck and was anxious to start the second leg to my first destination. I plugged in the Nuvi, started her up, typed in the address and got the message:
“This town does not exist”
I thought maybe I forgot to enter the new state so I tried it again. Same message. I tried it a few more times and still no luck. At this point I could feel my heart racing and my face was getting hot. I knew what was coming. A panic attack.
All I could think of was how thrifty I had been, how I had planned to spend as little as possible on this trip so I could have fun and not break the bank. I even packed all my own food and snacks, didn’t buy trinkets, didn’t take side trips. I was on a mission:
- Spend a week with my Auntie that I haven’t seen in over 35 years and help her finish unpacking and getting settled in.
- See the total eclipse at Smithville Lake, in Mo. (in line for 100% event at that location)
- Go to Hamilton, MI to see the Missouri Star Quilt Company.
- Go to the Moon Marble Company in Bonner Springs, KS (outside of Kansas City) and see how glass marbles are made. Hey, I’m a kid at heart. 😀
Frivolous spending was not an option.
I called my personal “Onstar” knowing he couldn’t help me this time, but needing to hear his calm voice. So what was his advice?
“Just go buy another one.”
‘But they’re expensive”, I cried.
He convinced me I had no alternative and when I hung up I went to the Walmart around the corner and purchased a new one. Which was not like the old one. In fact, the silly thing is counter intuitive! Different messages, but similar outcome. I was not able to find my next location. After a second (mini) meltdown, when I realized there were no instructions included in the box, I finally found the US 800 number and called it.
The nice lady on the other end was very helpful and walked me through setting the next leg of my trip. Setting a destination is anti-logical in the fact that you have to enter the ADDRESS FIRST, and then the state. Really? Who’s bright idea was that?
I now have my new Garmin programmed, I know I can get there from here (Walmart’s parking lot) and I have given myself a moment to listen to some music and calm down. I am ready to go. On the long drive I discovered that with the exception of the big cities of Mt. Vernon, Springfield, and Peoria, that Illinois is a sea of crops and farmland.
I did appreciate that they have instituted a program to plant prairie grasses and flowers all along the interstates, many of which were in bloom in blues and yellows! I also found that the route along I-55, and I-155 is not as truck packed as the I-65 is through from Tennessee to Indiana! Driving at the speed limit of 70 mph with trucks and crazy people who like to do 85 mph on the 65 was not my idea of a calm experience!
From Mt Vernon to Auntie Eva’s house seemed to take forever. There were many rest stops, a lunch was made in the parking lot of a larger gas station. I parked right in front of the windows too. I didn’t want to become the next episode of the “Forensic Files”! (Yes. I do. I like the science used to solve the crimes.)
I arrived about 5:30 or 6:00 PM. She buzzed me in, and I took the elevator to the third floor. I walked the hall to her apartment to find the door open and her sitting in the kitchen in her wheelchair.
She looked so lost and sad.
I said: “There you are!” and went in for a hug.
I would spend just over a week with my Aunt. Helping her to unpack and hang her clothes, hang her paintings and pictures, get groceries, cookware, cafe service so she could cook and eat what she prepared, and in general help her to sort through all the boxes that were stacked chest high in her spare room. We got rid of the broken, superfluous, and no longer needed items. (*Mostly 😉 ) Talked and caught up on what was news while she sorted through setting up and receiving in home nursing care, housekeeping service, physical therapy, Dr appointments and more.
She had been there three months already and that is all I am going to say about that.
I learned a few things about my mother and father in our conversations. Things I guessed from my childhood, some I knew, and a bit I didn’t know. Those will appear on the other site.
We have standing appointments for phone chats on the weekends and visits again in the **Fall and Spring. These visits will be more about conversation, cooking, seeing the sights and just having fun.
I very much look forward to that!
FOR FRIDAY: The case of the disappearing sun, a stormy night and an historic flood in Kansas City…
*On little old ladies and their stuff: It is a fact that those things we’ve acquired in the years of our lives, and still have when we are old, are precious to us. Therefore some give and take in our sensibilities about what was a keeper and what was toast and should be discarded had to be negotiated. She won some and I convinced her otherwise on some.
This conversation will remain with me forever:
Me: “Aunt Eva you have a closet-full of these kind of shirts. One in every color I think. This one is very old and stained. Do you really need it? I think you should toss it.”
Auntie: “I don’t care, I like it and I want to keep it!”
Me: “But it looks so terrible – you won’t look nice in it.”
She sat there looking it over, then looked it over again, and finally she balled it up and snapped: “Fine; throw it in the trash! Are you happy now?”
Me, wearing a wan smile, “No, not really.”
That shirt is now in a dump somewhere in Iowa. 😉
**On Fall in Iowa: The season is rushing in and promises to be spectacular! In the time I was there the maples outside her balcony went from a few bronzed branch tips to pure scarlet leaves in patches!