Wednesday, April 24, 2013

When Nature Calls

Deer in my front yard.

     My husband, Roy, and I love living in the country. I call it the boonies. We pipe in everything but the sunshine. Satellite TV, satellite internet, and electricity. We are surrounded by nature at its best. Deer graze on our hillside, bunnies munch on greens in our yard, and squirrels bury their stash all around our house. Plus we have eight chickens that help take care of the tick population around the outside of our fenced in yard and leave our breakfast in their nests in the hen-house. Our Jack Russell Terrier keeps watch over our property. She is so good at her job we bought her a “Beware of Dog” sign and hung it on the fence beside the gate to show our appreciation. Life is good out here in the boonies.
     Roy and I like to drive around the back roads once in a while and take in this area’s nature. Actually, my husband is scouting for deer. Me? I’m taking in the scenery, the trees, kudzu, flowers, kudzu, deer, kudzu, road kill, and kudzu. Well, you get the idea. I’m not paying attention to where we are going. He’s the driver, and I’m enjoying the ride. I’ve got a fairly good idea where we are going, but as far as how we getting there... not really.
     Last Saturday evening, we had our good friends, Linda and Bob over to spend the night. The idea was to have dinner and then karaoke. Sunday morning, the guys would take Roy’s boat, head for Sardis Lake, and do some crappie fishing. Linda and I would go shopping, have lunch, and shop some more. Sounded like fun, right?
     Here we go...
     The guys had left early, and Linda and I got ready to go to Senatobia. That’s the nearest town. Then it hit me, it’s Sunday. Nothing but gas stations are open at ten in the morning. We sat and had another pot of coffee and chatted until a quarter till ten and then we headed out the door.
     She wanted to take her car. Bless her heart! She has had nothing but trouble with that car. I didn’t want to, but knew that she was being her usual generous self, and I didn’t want to deny her that. So we hopped in her car and headed to town.
     We went to Walgreen's and picked up a few items and then headed toward Coldwater to the nursery. It was time for me to replenish my herb garden, and Linda wanted to give that a try and start her own herb garden. I have mine in flower pots on the patio. I have fresh herbs in the spring, summer, and into the early fall. I take the spoils in the fall and dry them for winter use.
Not my complete herb garden, but you get the idea.
     Everything was going great on our outing. We find what we want, pay for it, and get the backseat full of herbs, and then head to Senatobia to have lunch.
     I love El Charro’s, but whoever was the cook on duty that day must have been in a foul mood. Linda and I ordered the Taco beef salad and a spinach, mushroom, and tomato Quesadilla. The Quesadilla we shared. Neither of us could eat much of the Taco salad. It was greasy, had a sprig of shredded lettuce, no tomato, and I couldn’t find the guacamole. I thought it was under the gallon of sour cream, but it wasn’t. I suppose you’d have to be specific when you order something special, because the Quesadilla didn’t have any cheese on it and looked more like a soft flour taco.
     Since Linda insisted on buying because she felt it was her turn, I didn’t say anything about the meal, but kept nibbling. I noticed that she was taking her time too. I sat my fork down and looked across the table at her.
     She looked up at me and said, “This is awful!”
     Before we left, she mentioned that to the cashier.
     We headed for Cato’s. Linda has always been a very frugal shopper. They had one sale rack. She circled that rack at least fifteen times.
     I love Cato’s and so does Linda, but I never buy shoes there. The clothing is great, but the shoes? Linda tried on every pair of sandals they had on the shoe rack. After finding a pair she liked, we paid for our items, and headed out the door. Linda was sporting her new sandals. Her car was parked about fifteen feet from the front doors to the store.
     She opened the trunk of her car and said, “I gotta get out of these shoes. They’re killing my feet.”
     We hopped in the car and headed to Burger King. She drove to the drive-thru.
     “Welcome to Burger King! How may I help you?”
     Linda leaned her head out the window and said, “Do you have any drinks on sale?”
     “Excuse me?”
     “Do you have any drinks on sale?”
     “Uh, no, ma’am.”
     Linda looked at me and asked what I wanted. I told her I’d take a medium Coke. Linda gave our drink orders.
     “Linda,” I said, “It’s Happy Hour at the Sonic.”
     “Linda poked her head back out the window. “Excuse me?”
     “Cancel that order.”
     We headed to the Sonic. I love Happy Hour. We got our drinks and then headed home. Right before we got to the turnoff to my house, Linda said, “What’s up this way?”
     We drove passed the turnoff and headed around the bend.
     “It’s pretty up this way,” I said, “But I’m not really sure about where all the roads lead. Roy usually drives, and I just look around. I don’t always pay attention to which way he goes.”

     She kept driving. I recognized a road and suggested that she turn there. I was amazed at how many back roads I recognized. We were really enjoying the ride until I remembered... there was little to no cell phone service on these back roads. I got out my phone and checked and sure enough, no service. My next thought was the sound her car makes. It wasn’t anything new, but still it sounded like it was in pain.
     “You know there isn’t any cell phone service out here, right?”
     “You’re kidding me?”
     “Well, we should be heading back to your place.” She topped a hill and came to a stop at a crossroad. “Which way?”
     All I knew was Roy and I had been in all four directions at some time or another. “Right. I think.”
She drove about a mile and a half down the road and was heading up a hill when the car started slowing down.
     “Something’s wrong with my car.” Linda said.
     I looked over at her and saw that she was staring down at the car dash. I scanned the dash and then spotted where she were she was looking. We watched the speedometer needle. She pulled over just right before it went to zero. She cut off the ignition and tried to start it again. It clicked and clicked. She gave up.
     We looked around the area and spotted a farm house on the opposite side of the road.
     After fuming for a bit as to what could be wrong with the car, Linda went in search of her cell phone. She looked through her purse, in the floorboard, and in her seat. Nothing! It’s nothing new for Linda to misplace something. You just have to be patient; she’ll find it sooner or later.
     I got out my cell phone and turned it on. It had one 4G bar. I called her number, and we listened. A faint ringtone was heard from somewhere on her side of the car.
     “Sounds like it’s coming from the backseat,” she said.
     She opened her door and got out and then opened the back door. She started to look inside when barking came from across the road. She slammed the door shut, got back into the driver’s side, and closed her door. We both looked out at three ankle biters running toward the car.
     I still had the phone to my ear and heard it go to voice mail, so I called her phone again. We heard it ringing. I felt around in the floorboard in the back on her side of the car. I couldn’t locate it.
     “Are you sitting on it?” I asked.
     She raised her bottom up and felt around on the car seat. “No.” She felt around on the floorboard under her seat and came up with nothing.
     We looked out her window across the road and saw the little dogs heading toward some cows at a fence line. The cows were staring back at us. The dogs ran the cows away from the fence. Linda took the opportunity and got out of the car. She opened the back door. I called her number again. I could barely hear it. She looked in the backseat of the car and fished around the herbs we had placed back there. Still nothing. She pulled back out of the car and stood for a moment listening. She reached behind her and pulled her cell phone out of her back pocket.
     The little dogs began yelping again. I disconnected the call. She got back inside and closed the door before the ankle biters reached the car. She looked down at her phone.
     “I don’t have any service,” she said.
     I looked down at mine. “I don’t either.”
     I held mine up closer to the windshield and it spun up one bar. She held hers closer to the windshield and got a signal.
     I called Roy and told him the situation. He handed his cell phone to Bob, and I handed mine to Linda. She spoke with Bob, and they decided what she should do. After she disconnected, she handed my phone back to me. She located the number on her phone and called Triple A.
     In the mean time, I decided to see where we were on an app called “Find my Phone”. It’s a great little gadget if you have cell service. I had an iPhone 5. Of course I knew where my phone was, but this little app gave details in the form of a road map. I needed the name of the road we were on. When I loaded the app, it would connect and then disconnect, and every time it disconnected, I had to type in my password again. The signal from the nearest cell tower wasn’t strong enough to keep it connected. I gave up and called my son, Andy. He had it on his cell phone and linked with mine. He lived in an LTE area.
     The call went to voice mail.
     So in the meantime, I listened in on Linda’s conversation. The Triple A rep wanted directions. Linda hadn’t a clue.
     My cell rang. It was Andy.
     “Hey!” I said.
     “Hey! Sorry I missed your call.”
     “Yeah, were you asleep?” My son is a truck driver. He sleeps when he can.
     “Are you busy?”
     “No. What’s up?” he asked.
     “I just need to know where I am.”
     I explained it to him, and he located us on that handy little iPhone app, and gave me directions to give to Linda so she could give it to the Triple A people. She spoke to a rep for about fifteen minutes before help was on the way.
     We noticed the dogs were gone and decided to get out of the car. I waded through the weeds. She popped the hood and raised it. We looked under the hood. Don’t know why. We both just stared down at the battery... kind of like the cows did when they were staring at us. She reached in and began jiggling wires.
     “What are you doing?” I asked.
     “I don’t know.”
     She left the hood up, and we hurried back inside the car when the ankle biters returned. We sat in silence for several minutes.
     “Linda?” I broke the silence.
     “I need to pee.”
     “I’m sorry!”
     “Not your fault. I shouldn’t have filled up on tea at El Charro’s and the Sonic.” I looked out the window at the weeds. I’d have been taking chances on getting eat up with chiggers, ticks, or getting my behind bit by tiny terriers. I decided not to think about it.
     “That man keeps looking over here,” Linda said.
     “What man?”
     “Beside that truck.” She pointed. “He has the hood up and doing something.”
     I looked where she was pointing across the road. “I guess he’s scared of us.”
     The Triple A guy showed up about thirty minutes later, pulled in front of her car, and then got out of his truck, and headed our way. Apparently he couldn’t see over the hood into the driver’s side as he came around to my side of the car.
     “Ms. Bailey,” he said, smiling at me and then nodded to the driver’s side, “Mr. Bailey.”
     I point toward Linda and said, “She’s Mrs. Bailey.”
     He leaned down and looked inside and gave a jerky smile. “Sorry!”
     She explained the situation again. He went to his truck, retrieved the jumper cables, and connected them to her car and to his truck.
     Roy and Bob pulled up behind Linda’s car a few minutes later. They got out and look under the hood of Linda’s car.
     A few minutes later a big black truck pulled along side of the car. It was the man from across the road. The dogs ran up to the car but didn’t bark. The man leaned over to the passenger side, looked out the window at the men, and asked, “Are y’all having car trouble?”
     Linda and I look at each other.
     The men talked “man” talk, and then the black truck sped away. The Triple A guy disconnected the jumper cables, and Linda started the car.
     My eyeballs were floating by then. We made it all the way back to my house just in time.
     The guys drove to town and bought a new alternator and installed it on Linda's car.
     Next time, I’m driving my truck when Roy and I venture out. I want to know where I’m going and how to find my way back. And ... I’m going to be super generous when company comes and drive us where we want to go.