When the Honey-Bunny’s get together, things happen. But how do we ever abbreviate our UNPLANNED 5,000 mile trip (one day short of a month)
Marlene and I talked often about taking a trip to help Marvel empty her Florida storage unit, but our baby sis continually postponed with “as soon as” she started or finished something. All our lives were crazy busy and we wondered if it would ever happen. Marlene, the organizer, had had it. Long-distance calls were rare, so when caller ID revealed her number; I answered with concern.
“Nothing, I just figured Marvel’s delays will go on forever if we don’t do something.”
“Like, I’ll be packed in an hour, and I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Yes!” she laughed, “Try to get some sleep – we have a lot of driving to do.”
The next morning we meshed plans: mine – to see Nashville, Amelia Island, and 3 friends who lived along our path; Marlene’s included Dollywood, a couple in North Carolina, and a son in Florida.
Marvel ‘s response was shock and then the unexpected –she’d ride back with us, visit her daughter, a friend in Tennessee, and Elvis’ Graceland, then fly home from Wisconsin. An hour later Marlene and I headed south, laughing and zipping in and out of flea markets, caves, and gem mines. Instead of 2 days, we took a week. Besides, things happened.
Near Nashville, the GPS went wacky, directing continuous turns around a deserted gas station. Finally I pulled in, yanking out maps, when a southern drawl called, “Y’all need help?” Neither of us had seen a car there, but the fellow’s chuckle indicated he’d watched my red Vibe do the loop-de-loop. We explained we were headed to Nashville but the GPS was malfunctioning. Instead of pointing us toward our goal, scratched his jaw in thought. “You can always see Nashville on the way back,“ he drawled, pointing us to Cumberland Gap Highway and Asheville. “You’d have more daylight to do things then,” he added. It sounded reasonable and we were frustrated it was twilight already. There were other things we wanted to see in Asheville anyway, so we thanked him and drove to where he pointed.
The moment the car glided onto the Cumberland ramp, the GPS made a loud ZZZZIPPP and then worked fine. Huh.
Marlene drove and I photographed beautiful scenery until black clouds rolled toward us, and moved rapidly over the car. Marlene commented that she was glad we were headed a different direction than that big black cloud.
The next morning’s news shockingly reviewed the flooding we’d escaped in Nashville. We prayed for those affected and wondered again at the GPS insanity and the mysterious man’s directions.
Blocks shy of our Asheville lunch destination, we stopped to walk and check out street vendors. Nearly to the restaurant we’d chosen for lunch, sirens blared and police blocked off the street due to a fire in that restaurant! A nearby vendor who overheard us wondering what else we could possibly escape suggested an international experience in another direction –Jerusalem Garden Café, joking he’d better warn them we were coming. Perhaps he was right… there was the breakfast incident after Savannah’s carriage ride, and using Marlene’s arm for a windshield-wiper the last hour to Lake Worth. Yep, things happened.
The storage unit was 120o inside so we worked fast, giving away most goods to families at the units. Completing the goal was celebrated with a middle of the mall shoulder massage, triple-breasted chicken dinner hilarity at Sawgrass, and sharing 5 desserts.
Five wild days followed as we headed west then north toward home, visiting Marvel’s daughter Trinity, Amelia Island, friend Becky’s farm, Marlene’s friends, Marvel’s friends south of Nashville and Benita and Barb, whom I’d worked with at Horlick. Down the mountain from Barb’s beautiful Comfort Mountain rental (best stay of the trip highly recommended) was Dollywood.
Dolly Parton’s unexpected personal appearance thrilled Marlene, and Marvel got a marriage proposal for all three of us on our way to Memphis! Marvel’s southern-Tennessee baker-friend greeted us with bunny shaped chocolate, and later, warning of washed-out mountain roads, directed us north to Nashville, then south to Memphis. In minutes we grew impatient and took a shortcut cross-country. Sign 5 minutes later: Road closed. When a truck drove between the sawhorses, I drove through too – discovering a damaged bridge and startled workers. Pulling up a slight hill to turn around, another construction truck rumbled toward us, the Tennesseans hollering, “Hey! We’re the Cooper brothers and we’re looking for some good women to marry.” Marvel had shoved the video camera in our faces since dawn, so we voted her to leave the car, garnering her the first invitation to change her name to Cooper. Hilariously, the brothers directed us out of the maze, stopping twice for hilarious proposals and laughingly bemoaning our happily-married status.
After Graceland we searched nearby museums’ Army photos because Marlene’s husband drove jeep for Elvis’ unit, but afternoon flood warnings convinced us to head for home, and look for a restaurant.
“What kind of restaurant is that?” Marvel exclaimed about a Missouri billboard ad. “They were throwing rolls!” I knew instantly: Lamberts. I’d wanted to go there.
A quick call to my daughter produced the phone number, and soon Marvel was sweet-talking the manager. “We’re the Honey-Bunnies, and have driven almost 5,000 miles to find a Lamberts. Please direct us there…” The laughing manager greeted us on arrival, with three entertaining servers!
I slid to the back of the booth watching waiters dance with Marlene, toss rolls across the room, and sending so much food home we filled the ¾-size motel refrigerator, providing proof that where the Hunny Bunnies go, things happen!