Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thanks, Moms...and Clyde!

Happy Mothers Day to all Moms within the sound of my keyboard!!!  I would especially like to take a moment to thank God for the moms in my life;  my own mother Anne Jones, my mother-in-law Marie Steele, and my incredible wife Marilyn Jones.  God has used each of them to bless me, and I am so thankful to have them in my life.  Don't miss the opportunity to let the moms in your life know how important they are- and do it today! 

Today is a very special anniversary for me.  Thirty-one years ago today, my friends Carl Semmler and Alan Brown joined me in my dad's 1977 Honda Civic Wagon (named Clyde, after Clyde the Camel in the great Ray Stevens song Ahab the Arab) as we began a month long cross-country trip.  I have not told many of the stories of the trip here (the exception being A Waste of Good Cookies), but perhaps I will give more details at a later date.  It was one of the best months of my life.  In the days that followed the excitement of May 9, 1979, we would travel to New Orleans, where we would meet the "Ash Tray Kid," nearly die from the heat while inside our motel room, and lose the Jazz Museum.  We ate at a Holiday Inn, Jr. because it was the only restaurant we found in a 200 mile stretch between Houston and San Antonio, where we would camp in poison ivy while exploring the Alamo and Riverwalk.  We stood on a corner in Winslow, AZ...and it was such a fine sight to see (it was a Denny's).  We would visit Flagstaff, AZ, and camp on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, then nearly die on a hike into the canyon while consuming only warm root beer and malted milk balls- then have to pay for a shower when we got back to the top.  We would visit Carlsbad Caverns and be attacked by bats before eating a really bad, terribly expensive meal in White City and losing our campsite because we had no flashlight (and we always managed to find the darkest campsite.)  We stayed with my Uncle Dick and Aunt Rusty in Vegas (our excuse for the entire trip, by the way) where we saw Don Rickles and won $20 worth of pennies.  We visited Disneyland, staying in a motel with no working TV and thousands of silverfish, as well as a bathroom door that fell off the first time we opened it.  We saw a famous wax museum, but failed to visit the Pacific Ocean.  On our way back Alan drove a tent stake through a water pipe at a KOA Campground in Utah, causing mass chaos and a small flood.  We ate pizza one night, then 24 hours later ate pizza again- with nothing in between. We drove 5 mph on I-70 as we reached the top of the Rockies because our carburetor wasn't adjusted and the air was too thin for Clyde to go any faster.  We spent three days in St. Louis because there was no gas to be bought on Memorial Day weekend during the gas crisis of '79.  We camped on the lawn at Quaker Hill in Richmond, IN at the offices of Friends United Meeting while visiting our friend Paula Teague (Imagine the surprise of the employees when they arrived at work to find a giant tent pitched outside their offices). We invented the game I'm Thinking of an Object to kill hours spent in the car and in the dark.  We visited DC, but for the life of me I can't remember anything we actually did while there.  And then we returned home to NC and started our summer jobs at Quaker Lake.  It was an amazing trip.

And through it all, there was Clyde.  He was overloaded, with a giant tent on top, but he never let us down.  Despite the troubles in the mountains, Carl throwing up in him, a rogue windshield wiper that pinned the driver's door shut and a few other mishaps, that car became a folk hero to us. So today, as we honor all mothers, I also give a tip of the hat to Clyde, the little car that carried us on our big adventure.  May he rest in peace.  And if Carl and Alan are out there, Happy Anniversary, guys!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading,and thanks for your comment!