Holly the Hood Ornament
If Kim Woodhouse were Batman, Holly would be Robin. Holly lives with Kim, does cool stunts, says funny things, and, I suspect, looks good in tights. I love hanging out with Holly, and she made our road trip even more memorable. She and I bonded over loading and unloading the car carriers. Holly would climb on top of Kim’s gargantuan Expedition and then bravely scale the mountain of luggage like a scrappy mountain goat while I waited on the ground to catch the flying suitcases.
When we arrived at the hotel in Minnesota, Holly and I got an unpleasant surprise as we tackled the luggage carriers. Holly started undoing straps, and we both squealed as all the bug carcasses who met their maker on our drive came raining down from the folds of the carrier fabric. I’m sure any observers got a laugh out of the two of us girling it up while trying to avoid insect remains.
I have the feeling that Holly’s presence contributed to the motivation of many a helpful male we encountered. After all, this girl is every junior high, high school, and college guy’s dream come true. She’s adorable, hilarious, and fun to be with—all in all, a secret weapon worth taking on any road trip.
The Chocolate Cake Nazi
When you’re sleep-deprived, excited, and stressed-out, chocolate becomes, well, essential. I probably gained five pounds over the conference from a little too much chocolate dependence. But one individual enforced a well-balanced diet with an iron fist. The Chocolate Cake Nazi saw to it that no one received their dessert before demonstrating clear effort on their meal. Her crusade was somewhat less than appreciated, and Kim and I like to think we had something to do with the overthrow of her tyrannical regime.
It happened Friday at lunch. We sat in a huge atrium room, ten people to a table, eating and talking. With lunch winding down, plates were cleared and trays of chocolate cake distributed throughout the room. We finished our entrees, thanked our elderly waitress when she took our plates, and waited expectantly for the cake we knew was coming.
We didn’t get it. We waited a little longer. Someone set a big tray of scrumptious slices of cake near our table. We smiled. “Can’t be long now.”
Murmers. Whispers. Disgruntled sighs. The mood at our table darkened.
Finally, we snagged the golden-yeared server and asked for our cake. That’s when Grandma Food Service went dictator. We were told that no one at our table would get any cake until everyone finished their meal. We glanced around our table to see who was holding up the works. Only two people were still eating and Kim and I had places to be, things to do, but The Cake Nazi wouldn’t relent. We were left to stare at the luscious cake only feet away from us.
Mutiny burbled beneath the surface of our polite conversation. Just as we pondered the punishment for fetching our own cake, the last plates were cleared from our table and our long-awaited dessert finally arrived. By some strange coincidence (Hmmmm?!) Kim was chosen to write a comment on the noon meal. I’m not sure what she said, but for the rest of the conference, we arrived at tables already bearing dessert.
It’s nice to know that little people can affect change where it is most needed. Let them eat cake!
There’s just too many little things that were hilarious and loads of fun along the way. Mom brought the most irritating (and entertaining) travel game that had us frantically searching for “someone working in a field” “a red two-door car” “a doughnut shop.” Inevitably, we spotted all those things when we were NOT playing the game.
Kim and I discovered that each of us brings a separate bag for our shoes. I felt bad about my little addiction because we were trying to keep the luggage down to a minimum. But when I saw Kim’s footwear suitcase, my guilty conscience flew out the window. And returned when poor Holly had to finagle the cases from atop the car.
We should have video-taped our trip for posterity. The giant windmill blades being transported to every breezy spot in the U.S., the Stephen King rest stop in Nebraska with all the cats, that horrid, horrid smell in Des Moines—I wish I could preserve all of it (well, not the smell) to re-experience on a boring, winter day.
I guess maybe I’ll have to put it in a book someday. Oh, and I’ll be inviting myself along the next time the Woodhouses hit the road.