Sunday, July 25, 2010

The drive up to Missouri, the wasp drama, and then on to Harriman on Monday.

After a whirlwind week in Memphis, Missouri and Harriman, Denise and I are enjoying some down time here in Bowling Green, where Denise's youngest daughter Lynn and her new granddaughter Payton reside. I've had enough time to get all my pictures fixed and posed to FlickR, so you can check them out by clicking on this link. I can't post them all here, so go ahead and enjoy. There's some good ones there.

Anyway, we've been gone a week now. We spent two nights in Memphis so we could make a special trip up into Missouri. I made this trip on my own last year, but it was a short visit, and I wanted to make it a little longer this time. Plus, I was bringin' my little woman this time.

So, after we had a good, fillin' breakfast at the Cracker Barrel on I-40 and I-55, west of Memphis, Denise and I made the two-and-a-half hour drive up through flat, featureless farm country, to Cape Girardeau and Jackson, where the terrain starts to roll and tumble a bit, reminding me of the part of Texas I live in. Low hills, rolling off the edge of flat prairie. Beautiful. I just wish our trees were as tall as these.

I won't tell you EXACTLY how to find old Bruno. He's kinda sensitive about strangers... Well, PEOPLE, coming uninvited to his door. Believe me, it's for your own good. There a LOT of raw land around there to bury folks in. You know. Enough said.

Anyway, we got there and the greetings went well. The rains had come through that morning and cooled the place off a bit. After the mugginess of Memphis, Bruno's place was actually cool and comfortable. Well, sorta. You know.

Anyway, he took us in the house and sat us down, and we were diggin' all his stuff when his wife got home from work. Turns out I'd timed our trip perfectly. We sat around for a while, getting reacquainted, and then we decided to head over to "a fledgling-but-developing outdoor museum of military-equipment, which is an open-to-the-public, privately-owned collection of Dr. Charles Pewitt, of Jackson Medical Center. " I got that last bit from the horses ass, er, mouth, himself.

So, how much EXTRA money would it take to get you to buy, let's see, an M-109 "Paladin" self-propelled howitzer, an M-42 "Duster", an M-551A1 "Sheridan" tank, an M-113 APC, and, drum roll please... A decommissioned Pershing-1 friggin' ballistic missile? And that don't count the field artillery.

OK, I know. Why the hell not? It's his money. That is, until the new state run govt. health care system takes it all away from him. Poor bastard. For me, I'd have a Royal Tiger, with the Porsche turret, of course, a Jagdpanther, and maybe a T-34-85. Yea, I know. I have rich taste. What can I say? My shit would really work too, for when the gubment tax man comes to check my paperwork.

And I know my buddy Bruno would be right there too, with some special, home made fun set up, all on his own.

So, here's where the plot thickens. We were checkin' out the Pershing, all three pieces of her, and I'd gone over to get a few shots of the Sheridan, and then Bruno says something about how the Duster over there is his favorite. I say something like "Yea, me too. I think it was the very first model I ever made when I was a kid." We walk over to the ass end of the vehicle, and I notice that the radio phone on the ass end of the thing, in a box just above the right track, is in excellent condition. I think to myself, "Cool!", and reach for it, pulling it up and looking at it.

That's when a shit storm of red wasps erupted from the phone box. There'd been no warning of it before. No random critters wafting around to warn a dude. Naaaa, just a dozen or so pissed off little fuckers, swarming me and getting a few good shots off. My left ring finger and my right forearm took hits. The stings burned a bit at first, but I didn't get too excited about it. By Tuesday though, as you can see from the shot to the left, my hand had swollen and was itchin' it's ass off. Same with my arm.

I was hittin' the Benadryl pretty hard by then. Of course, since then, the whole thing has blown over. My hand and arm are back to normal, and I'm off the pills. I still don't know how Bruno missed getting stung. But then, you know, it may be like they used to think about those huge friggin' sauropod dinosaurs. You could hit 'em in the ass with a mallet and they wouldn't feel it for a few hours, they were so friggin' huge. Anyway, I'm just sayin'.

After the little drama at the museum, Bruno and his wife followed us to a Bob Evans restaurant down the road. One of the things I'd thought of last year, as I was driving away of course, is that I should have taken these folks out for a meal. I was determined to get it done this time. It turned out to be a great time. We all ate our full, which for Bruno and I is really sayin' somethin', and then we headed back to their house, for a casual beer and a cigar in the yard. Bruno's version of "porch time."

Back when I was planning this trip, I iced down a six pack of Yuengling just for this occasion. Bruno'd heard of it, but he'd never partaken. I made Denise a "shandy", and the rest of us just sucked on a cold can. I offered my buddy a Kuba Kuba, but he declined, preferring his own milder pleasures. We spent the next half hour or so, relaxing in their yard, enjoying the lack of humidity as the sun began to set.

The other thing I missed last time was seeing Bruno's man cave, the shed and shop where he works his magic. It was really cool to finally see it all. It makes my little shop in the garage look anemic, but there you go.

Once again, I took the opportunity to capture a video of the man, basking in his domain. Check him out, he's the one and only.

As the sun began to set on southeastern Missouri, the time came for Denise and I to head back to Memphis. The partings on the trips are always bittersweet. We live so friggin' far away from one another, the folks in this little circle of friends, we don't have too many regular opportunities to hang out. And yet, through the years, through the blogs and emails, we've grown quite fond of one another. Anyway, we'll be back next year, or maybe we'll figure out some way to come back in the Fall, when the weather is a bit more civilized. We'll see.

The drive back to Memphis was uneventful. We slept in again, waking up and getting out by 11AM. We made a few stops along the way, including a stop for Brunch and a wonderful, brand new Denny's in Jackson. We rolled through Nashville and made it to Harriman by about 6:30PM, thinkin' we'd made great time. But then we realized we were in a new time zone. It was really 7:30, and we were gonna be connecting with Mushy (not his real name) and Judy later than we'd promised. That turned into a theme for our visit. Late, late, late. But hell, it's called VACATION people. Anyway.

We met up with Mushy and Judy at their place, and then we all went to Big Ed's Pizza, in Oak Ridge. Mushy drove. he ended up totin' us all over eastern TN. over the next three days. It was wonderful.

The pizza at Big Ed's was wonderful, as usual, and the pitcher of Yuengling was great too. But the best thing was to be back in Mayberry with my buddy and his lovely wife. He's always shown me a great time, from my first trip in 2007 to now, taking me around and showing me some of the cool spots he's blogged about over the years.

I look forward to these trips all year long, and dream about figuring out some way to live there. It's a beautiful place. But, for now, these visits will have to do. We had three days of fun ahead, so I was flyin' even though it was late, and it'd been a very long day. After some couch time at their place, another Yuengling for me and Judy introducin' Denise to her "special" iced tea, we hugged and parted, having made plans for the next afternoon. Denise and I drove back to the hotel, showered and hit the sack. Pooped!

Here's a shot of me, just a little sad (note, the lower lip) back in the room in Harriman, suffering from the swelling in that hand. It was getting worse by Monday night. You can see the lines Denise drew, to track the spread of the infection. In truth, it didn't get much worse during the week. The lines didn't survive the shower that evening, and we never bothered with them again. All in all, I'll admit that the wasp stings HOIT like hell for a while, but the worst thing was the tedious swelling and the itching. I woke up Tuesday morning itchin' like CRAZY. That's when the Benadryl and Pepcid kicked in. After that, it was just a case of waiting for the healing process to take it's course.

It's mostly over now. What's left after a week is essentially the same as two mosquito bites. I scratch them when the itch, but I stopped taking the pills Friday. I think they jacked up my blood pressure during the week, so I'm well rid of them. They served their purpose though, and I was glad to have them.

So, the next post will tell you about our adventures in eastern Tennessee. Stay tuned. I've got a SHIT LOAD of spare time here in Bowling Green, while we enjoy the little wiggler, so I'll probably keep posting. Cheers!


BRUNO said...

Indeed, that Yuengling IS good-stuff---it'd be TOO-damned good for MY sake, so it's a good-thing they don't sell it around here, lol!

And as for WHY they didn't sting ME? I dunno, guess they were just tired of the "local-stuff", an' wanted some "imported", for a change?☺

I didn't know you were RECORDING!!! I thought you were just FOCUSING!(Well, whadya' expect me to do? Tip my hat?)

Man, I look like HELL-times-two! An' I sound like Frankenstein with a short in my electrodes! Either that, or the "cat-lady" on "The Simpsons"?(And he thinks he has to explain WHY no one comes for a casual-visit!)

Next time you do a vid, It's gonna be like the monkey-cage at the zoo: I'm gonna start thowin' fistfuls of SHIT at the camera...!!!

Mushy said...

Love the expose' on Bruno! He's a hoot! Wish I could have gone with ya.

Most of all, I've been wanting to eat one of those monster breakfasts at Denny's!

I think Bruno described the wasp wars better in his was hilarious!

FHB said...

Bruno - Well, I hesitated to post the vid, but figured y'all are not on there very long. Chill brother, your mystique is still largely in tact.

Mushy - True, very true. Denny's is a wonderful vice on these trips. One we don't partake of at home. And yea, his version was better. Hell, I figured after his version, I needed to tell MY side of the story. But his version cracked me up too. He has a way with words, don't he?

BRUNO said...

Aw-w-w, HELL!!! I ain't worried about my "identity"---such as it may be!---I was talkin' about my "middle-digit-response! Shit, I could give ya' full name, rank, & serial # to post up-there, an' the responses would STILL be the same: Either NONE, or---"WHO???"!!!(Honestly---do I LOOK-like someone who'd have HIGH-moral standards???)

I tell ya' what cracks ME up, about the vid: It's that "GO-TO-HELL!!!"-look that Denise gives ya', when the camera swings her way!

The "digital-salute" is MY version of Denise' "go-to-hell"-look!

And obviously, YOU give her PLENTY of "practice"-time....!!!

Shrinky said...

I just LOVED that vid (see my ear to ear grin?). That pic of the two of you together is also a honey! I must admit, I laughed out loud the way Bruno described the wasp-attack - but seeing the aftermath - oooooh, I feel for you! Glad to know the worst is over now.

God, you lot have weird accents, has Denise had no success in teaching you all how to properly talk, at all??

I do feel a twinge of envy mind, it must be a blast when you all meet up together.

FHB said...

Shrinky - Yea, I laughed at that post too. He's got a way with words, or Bruno.

And oh, I can put on a "proper" accent if I need too. Too much Monty Python and Masterpiece Theater growin' up.

FHB said...

And yea, it is a blast. I look forward to it all year long.