Oh-oh…Where we at? The bad grammar continues

Hi, Mom.

Last week I wrote about driving blue highways and back roads on my way to visit you in Fort Scott. It struck a chord with many friends who told me personally or emailed that they also love to set out and just drive, seeing where it takes them.

Then I remembered the jaunt you and I took together that didn’t turn out at all like we’d planned. Dad was still alive and had his caregiver with him, so you and I drove down to Chicken Annie’s for an early Friday evening dinner. We had our usual good time and ordered an extra to-go meal for Dad. But instead of driving back to Fort Scott right away, we decided to enjoy the beautiful evening and play a game of “Which way now?”

At the exit of Chicken Annie’s parking lot, you chose first. “Turn right,” you said, “let’s follow the lilac bushes along the road.”  So I turned right. We were in a semi-rural area north of Pittsburg, KS, just a few miles from the Missouri line, and the countryside was gorgeous.

When the lilac bushes thinned out, we came to an intersection.  Being a really good daughter, I let you choose again. You decided we should turn left because it looked like some pretty trees off that way. It also took us onto a narrow dirt road, but you were right, there were lots of pretty trees.  On and on we went, turning right, turning left, traveling beyond the gullies where strip mining had been taken over by woods, and abandoned houses were overgrown with vines. It was still early evening and I kept thinking that all we’d have to do was turn and drive west until we eventually came back to the highway.

We made our final turn onto a side road. You chose it for the remaining dots of yellow flowers on forsythia bushes tucked between the fire-red blossoms of pyracanthas, bordered by straggly cedars. At the bend of the little road, the flowers ended, and a different view took over.

Several pickup trucks–looking like they were held together by rust and mud–were parked at odd angles in the clearing. Bearded men in ball caps leaned against the truck bed holding a keg of beer. They’d been enjoying their drinks for awhile. Rifles stood at attention against the side of the truck, and the men did not look glad to see us.

You leaned forward, peered through the windshield, smiled and waved. You whispered to me, “Oh, my, this isn’t good.”  Damn straight, I thought, though I didn’t say it. That moment wasn’t the time for reminders against cursing.

Scenes of the movie DELIVERANCE gave me chills, and as I threw the car into reverse I thought maybe I heard the sound of dueling banjos. I’ve never driven so fast in reverse. You were a great help, watching through the windshield, saying, “I don’t think they’re coming…oh wait…no, I don’t think so,” as we sped past the cedars and forsythia and pyracantha that no longer seemed as delightful.

Later, when we finally arrived back with Dad’s meal, as the caregiver  heated it in the microwave, she asked if we’d had a nice ride. You smiled and said, “The flowers were lovely.”

That’s your trademark, Mom. Enjoy the adventure, whatever it is, and remember the good parts.


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, lessons about life, memories for grandchildren

17 responses to “Oh-oh…Where we at? The bad grammar continues

  1. juliabarrett

    Your story makes me laugh. I’ve done the same thing myself. And yes, I’ve heard those dueling bangos.

  2. Dueling banjos in Iowa and California, too! We’re such music lovers.
    I hope your Friday the 13th birthday was wonderful, and without visions of DELIVERANCE!

  3. stephanieberget

    My mom and I had a similar experience. We drove for an hour, laughing about taking the back roads. Then we realized we didn’t have any idea of where we were. Thanks for writing this. I’d forgotten all about our adventure.

    • I love hearing mother/daughter stories that have common threads woven through the experiences.
      There’s something about a “getting lost with your mom” story that’s worth remembering and sharing.

  4. I have been in a similar dueling banjos myself…

    • Hmm. Sounds like we have a popular theme here. Maybe I should post a “share your banjo story” option. Except I have a feeling that some of our stories would better be shared over drinks. They probably wouldn’t be much fun for mothers to read. Thanks, Kellie.

  5. Molly

    Oh…..now you are in BIG trouble……you are Grandma are GROUNDED from adventures….LOL…….I am pretty sure that if Dad and I (and Grandpa if he was with-it enough at the time) had known this story, you girls would have been in BIG GIRL TROUBLE…….


    • Hey, what’s going on? These are private stories between me and my dear old mom. Are you eavesdropping??? ;=)
      Now you know the worries you caused each time you went out with friends and we didn’t know where you were. NaNaNa, but love you lots.

  6. Gives new meaning to the term, ‘pot luck’ but you survived to tell us the story, Yippee……

    • “Pot Luck” is right, Tom!
      But it’s like that line from STEEL MAGNOLIAS about anything that doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. (And less likely to repeat the same mistakes.)
      These are the experiences that are sweetest as memories!

  7. Jim

    Glad Grandma didn’t roll down the window and say something like, “Excuse me, sir, but we seem to have taken a wrong turn. Which way to St. Louie?”–to throw them off the scent, of course. Grandma can be a quick thinker like that, don’t cha know, in the midst of serendipity.

    • She’ll be glad to hear that her son-in-law still thinks she’s a quick thinker, even now with dementia. She thinks you and I make such a sweet couple, whoever we are…
      Next time Mom and I venture out on our own, we’ve have GPS devices, okay! Love you, sweet guy…whoever you are…

  8. Wow, what a ride! I can see how you would get lost over there…we have done it trying to take back roads to Chicken Annie’s. Land is intresting but confusing…real prairie in places. That group of drinking good ole boys would scare the bejebbers out of me too! Are you familiar with the history of the area during Prohibition…lots of stills out there…might still be! Ah, we eat a lot at the Chicken Annie Annex these days. Ha-ha.

    • I forgot that you now live in that part of Kansas, Claudia. I have to tell you that all the miles of twisting, turning streams where the strip mining was abandoned and then they filled in with water, and then trees fiilled in and formed dense woods–now THOSE hold the possibilities for real murder mysteries and horror stories! But few places display more beautiful colors in the spring and fall. That’s one thing I do miss in Colorado…REAL springtime.

  9. How sweet! Glad you made it back 🙂 Angie

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