Saturday, May 8, 2010

Make a Legal U-Turn

When Uncle Tony died it was decided that Honeybuns would drive my sister and I to the funeral. After much discussion her husband agreed that he would stay behind tending their farm while we were gone. We had a new van at the time so the long journey from central Illinois to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan would be comfortable and we truly wanted to visit with our lovely aunt who was now a widow. Through the years we'd only visited with Uncle Tony and Aunt June a few times but they were always memorable. She had a delightful sense of humor and he loved us as his own. They never had children so my sister and I were their substitutes for holiday gift giving and summertime stays at their "bear camp" in the dense woods of Michigan. Throughout our childhood our Dad spoke often and longingly of his home state always referring to his teen-age tromping grounds as Iron Mountain. The stories of Iron Mountain, Michigan were told and re-told until we thought we'd lived them ourselves. This particular journey would not be characterized by the raucous laughter and tales of youthful excursions, or so we thought.

We loaded the van and headed out. Honeybuns had the route mapped out and we drove for what seemed like forever, carefully watching the signs, heading to Iron Mountain, Michigan! It was in the dark wee hours of the morning when we saw the city sign. In just a few short miles our journey would be over and we'd be reunited with our Michigan family. Honeybuns quietly made the announcement, "we're Iron Mountain, where's her house?" My sister and I suddenly looked at each other with instant recognition of what had occurred. We both rolled over with outrageous, laughter much to Honeybuns surprise! "What?" he demanded to know. Almost simultaneously we both blurted out, "Iron Mountain? We don't know anybody that lives in Iron Mountain, Michigan! Aunt June lives in CASPIAN, Michigan!" That particular city was in the opposite direction!! We had driven way out of the way to the WRONG town. He was completely and utterly stunned. Why, oh, why had he been driving in the wrong direction? This is a very serious dilemma for an ex-truck driver. He stopped the car and could hardly breathe. I thought we were going to have to call for an ambulance! Still in a state of uncontrollable laughter we found the map and helped him re-route his thinking. He made a legal u-turn and we headed in the opposite direction. We arrived in Caspian, Michigan a few hours later with promises of finding the right house if he would just drive around the town a while so we could gather some memories from our past visits. We'd recognize it the moment we saw it. He was NOT convinced. Amazingly, we both spotted the house about the same time, each of us remembering some small detail until we were convinced that it was the right one. He was not about to be the first one to knock on the door!! We were positive it was her home and approached the house at that ungodly hour. There she was, waiting for us to arrive. I remember him shaking his head in utter disbelief.

It was during that particular trip that I earned another nickname, Mrs. Magoo. And that story is still the joke at family gatherings. When the words "Iron Mountain" are blurted out laughter begins again. We all agree that it's fun and perfectly fine to live in a cartoon! My sister and I will never be accused of taking ourselves too seriously! The joy of the journey is far more important than arriving in record time, right?

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