Sunday, October 10, 2010


We had dinner with Rachel, never mind the fact that she died in 1869 at the age of 27.  Her darkened ancient tombstone was the sight of the late evening picnic.   The scene was tranquil (to say the least), the mosquitoes were few, the food from the cooler was tasty, and the company was delightful.

When my girlfriend of 24 years and I take a road trip, we always try to find at least ONE cemetery where we can spread out a colorful quilt, eat sandwiches and fruit, while making up a story about the "folks" with whom we are sharing land!

Only once we were surprised by a tarantella! But that hasn't frightened us away from this traditional picnic dinner "on the road."

We were on our way from Tulsa, OK to Topeka, KN for my 3 day speaking engagement when we happened upon this roadside final resting place.  It was dinnertime so the timing was perfect.

Traveling with a girlfriend is one of life's sweet blessings.  There are usually no schedules to keep, no need to "get there" at a "quicker than last time" pace, and no hesitancy to STOP the car if something looks interesting in order to take a closer look. Totally GIRL things!!

This trip was no different. We made some great memories, laughed until our sides ached, solved all the worlds problems, bragged about our children and grandchildren, compared diets, shopped the antique markets, flea-markets and garage-sale markets, ate at odd times, talked into the night, and slept until the sun shone into our eyes.  And let's not forget all the therapy that is accomplished when two friends get together to talk about all types of emotions, fears, futures, families and fallacies. Priceless!

We stayed at a hotel that has been listed on the National Historic Registry, which translates as thin walls, creaky floors, and a floor plan maze that a mouse would find difficult.  There were odd noises all night long and a garbage man making his rounds at 5:30 a.m.  No husband would tolerate such an abode.  Our suite had two bedrooms, a living room and a balcony. The view from that balcony was of a parking lot and the city skyline which included the rounded dome of the capital building.  It was perfect!  By the time we left we could actually find our room without help from the hotel staff.

Memories were also made between meetings as we checked out the local fare, it's people, parks, restaurants and shops.

We witnessed a funeral processional down the streets of a  nearby small town, complete with a tuba band followed by about 500 mourners all dressed in black.  A local bar owner had unexpectedly died and this was his customers way of honoring him.  We felt like we had been transplanted to "New AAwlins."  

We ate dinner in a renovated bank and watched a "Zombie Walk" take over the sidewalks of that same town.  Men, women, children and grandparents were all dressed up as  something right out of a late night b-grade movie.  Each one  tried to be the scariest zombie of all. Fake blood and rubber axes were prevalent. Local merchants stood at the doorways of their businesses and smiled as they watched the zombies meander by. It's amazing what folks think up to do this time of year for a good time.  The whole thing was fascinating.

We discovered a working player piano (Old Susannah!) in the dust of an antique warehouse. It was  strategically located right behind the THREE beautifully restored horse and buggy HEARSES.  One such  black buggy was complete with a  black velvet covered coffin.  Oh, my.....I expected to see Ebenezer Scrooge coming around the corner any minute.

Cemeteries, funeral parade, zombies, horse and buggy hearses.....we've got a theme going here.  Without even trying or putting any thought into it, it seems we were witnessing Halloween early!  We just fell into it!

Halloween as a child was one of my favorite times of the year. The air was crisp and filled with  the smell of wood burning  and pumpkins with funny faces were lined up on porches.  My costume was usually put together the evening of Halloween, right before trick or treating and consisted of something we pulled out of the closet.  There was never any thought or preparation given.  It was dress up time for all kids and so fun.   The reward was a sack full of candy!!

Today's Halloween celebrations evidently begin EARLY!   All kinds of spooks, goblins, pumpkins, spiders and witches hats have been in the stores for several weeks now. Even zombies make an early appearance.

It's  truly the make-believe time of year.

Maybe that's the beauty of a girlfriend weekend.  We make believe for a short period of time that we are foot loose and fancy free.  And in the process make some very REAL and lasting memories.

I wonder if  Rachel celebrated Halloween in 1869?

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