Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 1 – February 2, 2015 (Groundhog Day)                       

How wonderful it was to hear Frank say that we didn’t have to leave until 7:00 this morning! Usually, we’re on the road by 5:00. I didn’t sleep well because I kept dreaming about the Super Bowl and how terrible one of my new “boys,” Russell Wilson, was feeling. I don’t understand football very well, but I do love to watch it. Since my favorite QB, Peyton Manning, wasn’t playing and since I’ve just about gotten over how badly the Hawks beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl last year, I was a raging Seattle fan on Sunday. So . . . even though those who know football are saying that SOMEONE called for a bad play, I still feel sorry for Russell and Marshawn and Chris . . . the whole Seahawks team. Oh, well . . . back to our Odyssey. Maybe Peyton will be there next year, but I hope not against the Hawks . .  . for several reasons!

Our first day on the road was pretty much uneventful except for Frank’s McDonald’s experience. The drive from Cerrillos to Roswell takes about three hours. Many a time have I driven that road in the morning dark to get to Roswell High School for an 8:00 meeting with a department chairman, back in the days of traveling the highways and byways of New Mexico as a sales rep or consultant for McDougal Littell and Holt McDougal. Oh, how I loved those days! Oh, how thankful I am that I don’t still do as much travel as I did back then! Anyway, we arrived in Roswell, the Alien Capital of the World, around 10:30, ready for our late breakfast.

I was surprised to see a new McDonald’s in Roswell. I wish we had gone to the old one, which has much more character than the new one. And we might have had a more pleasant experience. It’s the old hindsight routine. Frank began his order after looking at the menu. “I’ll have three pancakes and sausage and an orange juice.” Mine was the usual fatty order – a sausage biscuit and senior coffee, one cream and one sugar. The girl behind the counter announced the amount -- $16.74. Now, those of you who have ever eaten breakfast at McDonald’s know that you can get A LOT of food for that much. We looked quizzically at each other, and the girl must have known that we were confused by the price of our breakfasts. She said, “You ordered three pancake breakfasts.” No, we didn’t. He meant one breakfast that consisted of three pancakes and sausage. Complete misunderstanding. In thinking back on the event, I now know why she asked him if that was all and looked surprised when I said, “I’d like something, too.” I can just imagine her thinking, “Oh, my goodness, that man is going to eat three pancake breakfasts! What a piggy!”

Frank lost no time in telling her the mistake that she had made (he never understood that she just didn’t understand what he ordered). Those of you who know my cowboy well know that he was not happy at this point. The girl almost literally ran to her skinny manager reporting what she had done, and he immediately came to us apologizing all over himself. In fact, If he had said one more time how sorry he was that this had happened, I might have had to poke him in the nose. Frank asked him to completely wipe out the order and start all over, but he insisted on just deleting two of the pancake breakfasts. Oh, how I wish he hadn’t done that because when we sat down with our correct breakfasts, Frank did some totaling and found that he had been shorted 49 cents. Oh, dear . . . another trip to the counter to point out the error. I didn’t want to watch this encounter, so I went to the car. Result? He couldn’t make the top manager understand, so he gave up, and we continued on our trip.

Since Roswell has such a great connection to aliens, I just had to stop to take a photo. You’ll recognize it when you look through the pictures. Did you know that every year there’s a reunion of all the folks who REALLY believe that the aliens landed in a Roswell field in 1947. I’d love to attend, but Frank doesn’t think we should go. I’d love to see all those alien fans!

It broke my heart to pass up turning onto Hwy 2 south of Roswell. There are three little schools on that highway, and I love to stop to chat and to try to sell books. And then we had to pass up schools in Artesia and Carlsbad, other places that I like to go when I’m running my “route” of small schools in New Mexico.  Not one of those schools by itself will earn a lot of money for a sales rep, but lots of them together assure big bucks. I made lots of money by servicing those little schools that hardly any other sales reps bother with.

We are traveling with our friends Claudia and Ivan Robbins, but we’re in separate cars because later in our trip, they’ll head back to Cerrillos, and we’ll go merrily on our way to further destinations. The four of us rendezvoused in Alpine, TX, this evening and stayed at the Best Western there. Nice hotel but no real ambiance. We had dinner at Reata, a very nice restaurant with excellent food. Would you believe that I forgot to take any photos? I guess we were too busy eating and telling our “war stories.” We never run out of them, and if we do, we tell old ones all over, knowing that we won’t remember details from the last time. We septuagenarians are like that, you know.

And so ended our first day of adventure. Frank and I were in bed by about 8:30 and asleep before 9:00, having spent a few minutes in our novels. Frank’s reading Heaven and Hell, the third book in the John Jakes Civil War trilogy. I’m reading Sleep No More, a Southern novel by Greg Iles. It takes place in Natchez, and I think I’ve read it before. It’s good again because I can’t remember anything specific from the first time.

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