So there we were, once again on the road home, when it all went to hell – that’s right, somebody had to pee.
It all started, like most weekends do, on the previous Wednesday, when SOBUMD took the Reigning Queen of Pink to Baltimore to see Wicked on the Baltimore version of Broadway. I stayed home and hung out with Number One Son and the Human Tape Recorder, and by hung out I mean mostly they ignored me, which is about par for the course at 14 and 16 years old, I suppose. As the RQoP and SOBUMD returned from their sojourn, we started packing in earnest for the trip to New Jersey for Easter. We hadn’t been up to see family in far too long, and it was time to cross state lines, nail some beers, and resurrect relationships – all the trappings of Easter, without the suffering. Some say you can’t really have Easter without suffering, but we were willing to forego full verisimilitude for the sake of skipping the whole agony bit.
The universe, of course, had different plans, but we didn’t know that as we packed.
Saturday morning saw us with wheels up at Oh-Dark Thirty, which was in reality about “Oh it’s getting pretty light out at Six AM.”
The gods of the highways were with us that morning, and we were well under way before the sun was up in earnest. (People in Ernest, PA, are probably pretty tired of hearing about things happening in their town from the rest of us.) We made NJ by 1030, stopping once in PA for the chance to pay FAR TOO MUCH for gasoline, or, as SOBUMD put it, “support the local economy.” Once there, hugs and hellos unfolded into lunches and dinners, which were interspersed with opportunities to acquire beer. Beer was acquired along with marshmallows, and the evening devolved wonderfully with a fire, conveniently contained in a fire pit, and the roasting of marshmallows, buns, bunions, and booties. I left the firepit once I realized that not only was I the only Big Ugly Man Doll there, but I was in fact the only man there at all – I ran like the coward I am, and left the fire to its feminine fate. Therefore I only heard about the sautéed bunions after the fact, but I’m reliably told that booties were shaken and bunions were toasted. Only the fire pit knows for sure, and it’s not talking.
Easter Sunday dawned with promises of miracles, and we were not disappointed. There is a Muslim guy in New Jersey making bagels, and he’s open Easter Sunday with nice, fresh, hot, Jersey bagels – the kind you can get in New York, but not here where I live here in Va. We’re too far south of the Mason Dixon to get a decent bagel, and too far north to get decent BBQ. It’s a culinary purgatory – I have to assume I was a bad chef in a past life. Anyway, we jump at the chance to get *real* bagels when we travel north. These were wonderful!
Driving home from NJ, we stopped at the Clara Barton Memorial Rest Stop, which is clearly owned and operated by Cinnibon, to pee, and the fans blowing the scent of cinnamon were at full blast. (Note: I’m sure if Clara Barton were to come back to life and tour the NJ Turnpike, she’d be horrified to find out someone named some nasty turnpike piss pass and drop stop after her. “What the heck is this? This place is filthy! Get a mop, and take my damn name off that sign! Why did you name this crap after me? Susan B. Anthony got a damn dollar and all you could manage for me was filthy gas station restroom on the Turnpike?”) Anyway, we got back in the car, SOBUMD started driving down the road, and in about 10 minutes she was coughing. And coughing. And more coughing. Eventually I looked at her and asked if she wanted me to drive. Nods head. “Can you talk?” Shakes head. We switched drivers on the left shoulder of I-95, always fun, and I pulled us over at the next exit. She sat there sucking for air with an anaphylactic asthma attack until she could breathe enough to swallow a bit of water and get 3 Benadryl down. 2-3 more minutes and I’d’ve stuck her with the epi-pen. Got the rest of the way home by midnight; took her to the urgent care folks the next day, since she still couldn’t take a full breath, where they said “You don’t have an inhaler? Now you do; tape it to the epi-pen and carry both at all times.” So she’s back to breathing again.
All three kids were pretty much silent the rest of the way home – they were pretty freaked out at the thought that she might die there. I didn’t think she’d die, but I was unsure enough that I pulled us in front of a place called the “Country Pride Restaurant” instead of the Subway, which was next door. I figured if she *did* die, I wouldn’t want them reminded of it every time they passed a Subway. Too many of them. I told SOBUMD my thinking on this later; she laughed. She also gave me the finger, but at least she laughed.
As my aunt used to say, another Easter shot to hell.