Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fond Childhood Memories

This morning, for some reason, I was thinking about a childhood memory that I had.

I have no idea how old I was, but my family (mom, dad, sister, grandma, grandpa) and I piled into a car and drove up to Sault St. Marie, 424 miles north. I don’t know why.

It was dad driving, Grandpa in passenger seat, sister squished between them. Mom and grandma in back seat, me squished between them with my feet into my chin because of the lump.

Grandma immediately doused herself with the foul smelling perfume that my sister and I would give her every birthday and christmas. It was an easy gift, she lived in Michigan (we lived in Indiana) so we didn’t have to smell it, but now she decided to grace our presence with it, since we had given it to her. I totally think that she thought it was foul too, and was sick of getting it as a gift, therefore her evil plan was to make us smell this crap for over 400 miles so we’d get her something decent next holiday.

About 150 miles into the trip, Grandma started to freak out about her pills. She didn’t know if she packed her pills, she had to have her pills, she would literally die before our eyes if she didn’t have her pills. This meant pulling over somewhere to check the bags in the trunk to make sure she had her pills. She did.

To save time and money, we were trying the latest fad: “car-b-cue”, something my dad had heard of. Pretty much you take a hunk of beef and some veggies, wrap it in reynolds wrap and nestle it in the engine of the car. By the time you get to your destination... cooked roast and veggies, sauteed with a lovely hint of burnt oil and exhaust. It was actually tasty, but I’m not sure the tastiness was from starving to death as we drove and smelled the fumes of gas, oil, and roast, or what.

We opted to eat halfway through the trip (otherwise it would have been charcoal) so we stopped at a nicely wooded rest area somewhere, sought out the bathrooms, then dug into the food.

A note about the bathrooms: they were the true old timey outhouses that consisted of a wasp infested wooden shelter, with a wooden bench with holes in it, with large holes dug into the ground. Not the vile and disgusting plastic port-o-potties of today that are sporadically cleaned out and sanitized. These things were NEVER cleaned out, they were just moved over new holes when it got too foul.

As I ventured over to an outhouse, my grandma screeched at me (loud enough for everyone within 5 miles to hear) that I shouldn’t sit on the toilet seat because I’ll get pregnant.

I’m pretty sure that grandma didn’t have all of the facts on the morbidity of free range sperm. First of all, how on earth would sperm get on the seat in the first place? Did men randomly jerk off in outhouses for the purpose of impregnating unsuspecting travelers? Was this just the excuse used back in her day when innocent young ladies got pregnant, did they claim that it was from toilet seats? When I called back “No you can’t”, she countered with: “You can also get worms”. Everything in my grandma’s life caused either worms or pregnancy.

After our meal, where nobody (amazingly enough) died, we made it up to St. Ignace and stayed in tiny little cabins (whose bathrooms caused pregnancy or worms). We stayed there for a day or two, but for the life of me I don’t remember anything other than the trip to Mackinaw Island.

In order to get to Mackinaw Island you had to take a ferry. Its a pretty big ferry, its not like we were rowing a small boat over there ourselves, they could really pack in a lot of people. Grandma refused to go. She was convinced that the ferry would sink and we would all perish. She started crying and caterwauling and keening and yelling about how we all were sure to die if we took the ferry to Mackinaw Island. Grandpa dragged her from the dock as she screamed her final farewells and “when you are all dead you’ll say I told you so”

We went over, got some souvenirs, I pushed my sister so she’d step in horse poop, and overall it was a nice visit.

Being adventurous, and so close to the Canadian border, we took a day trip to Canada, where when asked by the Canadian Border Patrol if we had anything to declare, and did we have any drugs in the car, Grandma piped up and said she had plenty of drugs in the car, at which point we all stood by the side of the road while mounties strip searched the car only to find prescription drugs, and not a trunk full of hash... totally ruining their day.

We drove through the locks, under the locks, around the locks, all over the locks, and discovered that locks were stupid and nothing to look at, then opted to stay in Canada overnight... except Canada was full, no hotels anywhere. Each time we stopped, no rooms, stopped, no rooms, finally at the last hotel when we were told there were no rooms, Grandpa yelled “FINE, LETS GO BACK TO A REAL COUNTRY”, and we drove back into the U.S. We gagged Grandma and held her down when we were asked if we had any drugs in the car, found a hotel right across the border and ate the worlds most delicious hamburgers I’ve ever eaten.

I don’t remember the drive home. I was probably in a psychotic state at that point.

2 comments:

HR Human said...

When I was growing up, my family pronounced the town "Salt Steee Marie."

Our family vacations involved visiting locks, hydroelectric power plants, strip mines, & driving miles and miles to get to the above mentioned things.

Huffle Mawson said...

So, you totally get this insanity from your grandmother then?