The time comes in every man's life that the work is at the lowest ebb it will ever be and he is obligated to take his close relative and himself on a trip! It is here, and I know it will cost a load of feed and probably what I would pay for 40 round bales.
Now I am not going to grouse about the cost and rant quietly to myself or to her. We have made plans to be gone from this rock pile for two weeks or maybe just one week if it gets boring or I get homesick! We headed west to the Wild West in the morning at five o'clock. I did the barn chores as she checked to see if her iron was still on, the oven turned off, hot water heater running OK and all the water turned off.
Dodge City was our first destination because she wanted to see all the things her friends had told her they had seen! We took off at regulation speed and inched a bit faster, as the highways are completely void of people going places for fun. We passed several tractors and balers moving to the next field. I was caught by surprise at how we just visited and visited. Not that we didn't ever talk, but when we did, it was about the farm or the children we have raised!
On to the motel after seeing dead outlaws in their coffins and drinking sarsaparillas at the Long Branch and a dandy steak supper at the famous Delmonico's cafe. I had wondered if Doc and Chester would be there, and she laughed! First day and night were good.
We drank coffee at the first fast food place we came to along our path and really enjoyed it. I hadn't eaten breakfast in town in a long time, and the food was better than I remembered. We were close to Taos, New Mexico, when the telephone rang. She answered it, and I gritted my teeth! We were a long way from the farm, and they were grown, so the problem had to be big for me to turn around! She didn't say much, but she had that look on her face, lips drawn tight, and I was busy with curves in the road. Finally, she pressed off and looked at me. I had pulled into one of the look over spots and was waiting for the news.
Didn't take long for us to decide to go home, a college-age grandchild was ill and in a hospital for tests. We are people that love our family, and the children of our children are very near and dear to us. We called the female of our children for more information, and she was calmer than the daddy that made the first call. She said the illness came on suddenly and not to worry as they thought it might be something to do with eating too much pizza. We knew that kid ate like a hibernating bear and would be completely unreasonable if he ever got to eat pizza when he wanted!
We drove in silence to Enid, Okla., and then ate supper at the hamburger joint on the road going into town. We had called ahead to a motel she knew of and we were very tired! The motel was wonderfully cool and quiet, so we were in our room watching TV by early evening. We placed a call to the other boy and his wife, and he told us the test didn't reveal anything. The doctor sent the boy home immediately! He had no pain since the stomach had sent the last pizza on for digestion and he was ready to enjoy being home for a week. His daddy would drive him back to school so fast his head would swim!
We relaxed then. We would have three days of vacation under our belts when we got home and, as for me, I was ready to be back. I watched my close relative try to watch TV, but her eyes would not stay open. We were ready and yet we were a little disappointed that we did not make the time and places we planned.
My lessons were hard for this short time. A sick grandkid, not knowing why he was sick and miles from home sort of took the starch out of both of us. I was ready to leave for home the next morning and she went on to the car as I paid the bill. We chatted all the way and decided not to tell anyone when we were home.
Let yourself think about the pending disaster a sick kid could have been, the mess the farm could have been in, the cost of each thing we ate and drank, and the final curtain to it all. It was so nice to be alone with my spouse for a couple of days and talk to her about things we had not discussed in a while. My suggestion is to load her up and travel to a distance of 100 miles. Eat and sleep there and enjoy being alone, no 20- or 30-year-olds asking questions, and if you are really tough, leave the phone at home!
Fellers, I am getting butterflies in my innards and sweating on cool mornings. Deer season is drawing near, and I am ready! My guns are spotless, and I have enough ammo to handle what Custer didn't! Just remember the Alamo!
Bill is the pen name used by the Gravette-area author of this weekly column. Opinions expressed are those of the author.