Hearing my husband tell my son,"In 1803, this was part of Louisiana!" makes me feel a bit better about traveling through the Midwest.
Note to Iowa: folks, the people in your state are so nice, one of 'em even had me - a world class cheese hater if there ever was one - trying a number of world class cheeses because I certainly wasn't gonna rain on her parade. Having said that, what is with all the correctional facilities marked on your state's official transportation map? I mean, it never occurred to me, on having passed through Des Moines, to say to my husband, "Honey, turn this thing around. We missed the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women!"
According to some graffiti on a Halls ad in the Chicago el, those ads for mentholyptus cough drops are part of the grand conspiracy to hobble our nation with some sort of capitalist flu virus. Personally, I think they're barking up the wrong tree there, as it seems my husband was sneezing the most in Kansas.
We were part of a mass exodus off the highway on the final 100-mile leg of our trip to my parents' house, when a perfect storm of two traffic accidents, construction narrowing the interstate to one lane, and pre-turkey day travelers trying to get a-going conspired to drain our cars of gasoline near exit 203. Amid the mad lines for refueling, snack-purchasing, and bathrooms, everyone chatted about the insanity on the road as we all suddenly noticed two large buttons in the ladies room that were ostensibly for maintenance issues but looked for all the world like the button. The button of which I speak was responsible for immediate shutdown of all the glass working equipment - furnaces, glory holes, annealing ovens, the works - in the largest public access glass studio on the planet, the one I had to break into on my birthday one year. It was said that the button had only ever been pressed once, in what turned out to be a totally unnecessary act, by a well-known glass artist and craft historian who still carries the embarrassment of the deed on his shoulders to this day.
Thus, I couldn't help but wonder what the buttons at that Oklahoma Conoco station could do:
- alert NORAD?
- start another accident on the interstate?
- flush all the toilets at the same time within a 100 mile radius of the bathroom?
- shut down ALL the gas pumps, making the holiday crowds positively rabid with anger?
All I know is, we got out of there with relieved bladders, a mostly full gas tank, and some snacks, and took a state highway detour all the way in to OKC, with Keller Williams' "Kidney In A Cooler" as our Oklahoma song. We didn't break down in Perry, thank God. We are here with family, doing our laundry from the road, with the button nowhere in sight.
And that's the way I like it.