Here I sit, in a campground miles from civilization, with a car that doesn’t run and a husband who just left on our only vehicle (the motorcycle) to have his ass handed to him by the local judge. Neither of us has any idea what will happen to him in court today (he received a ticket last week at the campground for having an open beer in the car when he went to the camp’s office for a bag of ice and was promised at least a $500 fine by the cop who gave it to him). We were supposed to be leaving for Florida today, immediately after he got out of court, but last night the car died, again. If things don’t go well for him today, and they decide to keep him for some reason, I’ll find myself in an interesting predicament.
It’s been, go figure, a bizarre couple of days. Tuesday was fairly uneventful until the evening hours when the sky darkened early and the wind kicked up. We heard the unmistakable sound of tornado sirens in the distance so we battened down the hatches and put everything valuable in the car. Jeff’s brother, Brian, called us from Cleveland to let us know about the hellacious storm that they were experiencing and warn us that it was headed our way. All we could do is wait. There was nowhere to go, so we just watched the skies and planned that, if worse came to worse, we would duck into the brick shithouse (that’s literally what it is, so that’s the first time I’ve ever used that expression and meant it!).
After a couple hours of blustering, the skies cleared and nothing ever happened. We did, however, get to see a stunning star show. In the pitch black campground, with little ambient light, we looked up and could see the Milky Way.
Once the winds died down, Jeff could fire up the campstove, so he made the last of the fresh corn on the cob that we bought from the local farm. I mentioned this place in a previous blog, but I don’t know if I took the time to carefully describe it. It is a lovely place, with perfectly manicured lawns and flowers everywhere. The barn is bright red and the fields are lush and green. It’s almost as if it’s an enchanted land, it’s so idyllic. Their produce is off–the-charts good and they are obviously very prosperous.
As I bit into my fresh from the field, super yummy corn, feeling each kernel explode with flavor in a delightfully sensual way, it occurred to me that in the olden days, these people would probably be accused of witchcraft by jealous neighbors who didn’t understand that some people just have a knack for goodness. I’m not even trying to be funny here. I really got it, as in “Oh, THAT’S how it happened!”
Wednesday, we planned to ride the bike out to Seward, PA, where Jeff’s mom is buried. It was the one-year anniversary of her death and we wanted to pay our respects and see the headstone, which wasn’t there last year when we buried her ashes at her parents’ grave. It was too cold for the bike, so we took the car, which has been running great.
The headstone turned out beautifully, and I wish I could spend some time to write a tribute to her, like I did for Pa when we were in Elkhorn City, but that will have to wait until we get home. Right now, things are so up in the air that I’m not in a proper mindset for that kind of thing.
We spent the day in Seward, revisiting where Jeff used to spend his summers, at his Grandma’s house. He used to sleep on the front porch, where it was cool, and one night he woke up around 1:00 AM to the sound of an angelic chorus. He says that it came from the church across the street, but he knew that there were no people there. Everything was pitch black, except the light from the street lamp.
He sat up on the couch upon which he slept, watching the church for signs of life, and just listened to the singing. Finally, he rose and opened the front door of the porch, to walk toward the church. As soon as he opened the door, the singing instantly stopped. This was one of those “life-shaping” moments, and it defines who he is. It’s one of the reasons I love him like I do. He may not be perfect (where is he as I write this???) but he has a good soul.
We also have to buy a local confection called a Gob. A Gob is, basically, a cake sandwich with cream filling. They look amazing, but so far I have never had a Gob that had as much flavor as they look like they might possess. The two that we bought were no different. They look great, but taste bland.
Because we hadn’t consumed enough crappy food, we stopped on the way back to camp for an ice cream cone at the Lick ‘n’ Putt. Wouldn’t you? Come on! It’s called the Lick ‘n’ Putt!
Just as we were about to hit the state line back into Ohio, around 7:00 PM, the car started acting crazy. The radio lights started flashing, and the turn signals stopped working. The engine began chugging and we both said “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.” We knew Jeff had court in the morning, and we still had to pack up the camping equipment. Our plan was to hitch up the trailer and have nothing left to do in the morning but tear down the tent and head out. We would be Florida bound by afternoon, provided all went well in court. But nooooooooooo. Now we had to deal with more car problems, in another state, no less.
Fortunately, we made it back to camp before the car died. Jeff shut it down and tried to restart it. Nothing. Nada. Zip. It is an ex-parrot.
Brian, his brother, called while we were dealing with this, and once again remarked on Jeff’s amazing luck. He added that old Chryslers were notorious for their ignition modules, voltage regulators and alternators going out. Well, we just had the ignition module fixed (see the $500 loose wire blog) so Jeff is going to order a voltage regulator on his way to court this morning at the local auto parts store. That way, maybe they’ll have one by this afternoon. If it’s not that, we’ll have to try an alternator.
Since we had to eat, we hopped on the bike and headed for the closest restaurant to grab some dinner. We ended up at the Beachcomber, a shitty little tavern in the area (I don’t mean that as an insult. It’s actually a great place, but it’s one of those typical, wooden paneled taverns that you see in every town). We put on all of our leathers, helmets, gloves, sweatshirts, and anything else we could find to stay warm, because it was coooooooooold outside, too cold for a ride on the bike.
As I sat there, eating my tavern food, drinking my shitty tavern wine, I suddenly experienced an Ernest Hemingway moment. I realized that this is what it is to be a writer: to experience life in a bizarre fashion and find a way to make it interesting for others to read about. Here’s hoping I’ve done that, otherwise I’m wasting my time in this bizarro world of mine. I could be living in a regular house, with a regular job, and a regular man.
Yech. I shudder at the thought. I wouldn’t mind, however, if my muses dialed back the drama just a bit.
Anyway, so here I sit, in a campground miles from civilization, with a car that doesn’t run and a husband who just left on our only vehicle (the motorcycle) to have his ass handed to him by the local judge. Neither of us has any idea what will happen to him in court today (he received a ticket last week at the campground for having an open beer in the car when he went to the camp’s office for a bag of ice and was promised at least a $500 fine by the cop who gave it to him). We were supposed to be leaving for Florida today, immediately after he got out of court, but last night the car died, again. If things don’t go well for him today, I’ll find myself in an interesting predicament.