ST LOUIS, Missouri — NEW MADRID, Tennessee — Arkansas –MEMPHIS, TN
We pulled off the road for gas this morning and saw the flag at half mast at a Burger King. We were still in St. Louis. There are good people everywhere who awoke to the same horrific news that we did today: a terrible mass shooting in Las Vegas. Our nation stands in front of televisions or looking at cell phones today and tears surprise us before we command them.
When the broken hearted people
living in this world agree
there will be an answer
Let it be.
–Paul McCartney and John Lennon
We await an answer. And we continue to go to concerts and subways and nightclubs and live our lives fully as we should. There will be an answer. Let it be soon.
We left the hotel this morning with plans to find the house that Jane and Patty lived in from 1970-1972 in St. Louis. We had heard about the cul de sac on a hill that was great for sledding on Peyton Place Court. And you know how we like cul de sacs and roundabouts! In typical Sixtah fashion we looped around it about four times squealing with glee until we finally stopped at the Callaghan’s old house.
We face-timed Mama B so she could see the house real time, and we snapped a pic too, of course! At one point Patty dropped the phone as she face-timed Mama B in Florida. Mama B said, “Hey, that hurt!” Love that gal.
Patty told us the story of the time she tried to run away from home at this Peyton Place Court house. The house had an intercom, and she intercomed Janey and let her know that “That’s it. I”m leaving…” She jumped out of her window but unfortunately landed on an air conditioner and injured her foot. Mama B was at the front door of the house with a “Get back inside!” And that was the end of the short and sweet defection. Don’t mess with Mama B.
At breakfast Janey cracked us all up by asking “What are we having for lunch today?” as she sat down to the table. And Trudi made us laugh too when she said, “Oh good, I was hoping for a round table!” as we got TWO small ones pull up next to one another! Our hot pink Shake Pit shirts set the mood for fun, and we talked favorite televisions shows… Oh, and Patty showed off her new “Tap and Fart” app. Download at your own risk.
As usual we sent our daily postcards in the hopes that Ellen will call…will she call?
After our gas station stop Patty showed us the Diet Coke that was randomly picked from the convenience store fridge (look closely at the pic on the left!)..and Janey had other ideas…
We passed a sign advertising Fruit Loop and Lucky Charm Milkshakes today. Let that settle in. Our planet has Fruit Loop and Lucky Charm Shakes! Or maybe you’re just wondering why we passed them up? It wasn’t my idea.
Jane passed around a box of Lemonheads from her spot in Row #3 of Sparky II, and I grabbed a handful. Jean passed the box to the drivers’ row, but not before asking “would you guys like some sugar and Yellow Dye #5? Oh look, it has Carnuba Wax!”
Soon we got off the highway to see New Madrid, Missouri. That’s pronounced New Mad Rid, not Madrid like the Spanish capital. Small towns usually surprise you and New Madrid kept with that philosophy. We pulled up to a scenic overlook that was positioned on a levy that had been built to protect New Madrid from it’s perch beside the Mississippi. It seems the Mississippi can be a fair weather friend…it brings industry and trade but also periodic destruction through flooding.
We walked down the hill from the levy to the New Madrid Historical Museum and met Jeff the caretaker. Jeff, who now has a Patty Bracelet, told us about his friend who is a three year survivor of Pancreatic Cancer. He texted her to tell her all about our Patty.
New Madrid has had some issues…it was the site of the largest earthquake to ever hit North America in recorded history. In fact, in the one year period from 1811-1812 it was the home of FIVE magnitude 8.0 earthquakes that were felt as far away as Washington D.C. and Louisiana and the Great Lakes. The fault is called the New Madrid fault…and the t-shirts sold there say that it’s not their FAULT…but we still thought leaving was a good idea…
We drove the final miles toward Memphis and saw our first cotton fields.
and before long we were embarrassing ourselves in a crowded lobby at The Peabody Hotel…
Tonight we met in the hotel lounge to chat and relax before dinner. I asked Patty about her days on the golf team back in Muscatine since some of the gals from that team had come to the party a few nights ago. And she told me that a few years ago she had visited Carol, and they contacted their former coach, Dan Brookheart. Patty hadn’t seen her coach since those 9th and 10th grade golf matches. She said she learned that he had worked very hard to make sure that school funds were made available for the girls’ team as Title 9 was new and previously the money had not been as available for female athletes. He knew that he had an unusual crop of girls for those seasons. Patty remembers that her only job was to have her golf clubs and get on the van. Coach Brookheart’s efforts, on the other hand, were above and beyond the call of duty and ensured that the girls had a remarkable season…in fact, this girls team placed 5th in the state of Iowa in varsity golf that year.
“Patty how do you keep in touch with all of these people,” I asked…”how do you keep all of these friends?”
She looked directly at me with those blue eyes of hers and said, “It’s very very important to me to make the person I’m with feel like they’re important to me. And it makes them want to see me too.”
At the risk of sounding like I’m turning into Jean, I’ll tell you that I started to cry.
She says that this trip is about friendship. We’ve seen her old friends come from many directions to meet up in Muscatine to spend time laughing with her. And we huddle together during this perfect storm of a week wearing our matching t-shirts and savoring our friendships with her and with each other. She’s right.
Shower the people you love with love,
show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna be much better
if you only will. –James Taylor
Patty reached back to me in the middle seat today and grabbed my hand. A song had just started playing and she said, “put this in our blog”…I always listen to Patty. Here it is…
These are the Days.
These are the days of the endless summer
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there’s only future
There’s only here, there’s only now
Oh your smiling face, your gracious presence
The fires of spring are kindling bright
Oh the radiant heart and the song of glory
Crying freedom into night
These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one magician
Turned the water into wine
These are days of the endless dancing
And the long walks on the summer night
These are the days of the true romancing
When I’m holding you, oh, so tight
These are the days by the sparkling river
And His timely grace and the treasured find
This is the love of the one great magician
Turned the water into wine
These are the days now that we must savor
And we must enjoy as we can
These are the days that will last forever
You’ve got to hold them in your heart.