Thursday, January 23, 2014


It was the sweltering weekend of the Fourth of July.  We were headed west across the United States, a country that seemed as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.  Our motorcade included a moving van, a pickup named Sledgehammer and a Ford Expedition called The Behemoth.

We made it through Nashville and were on a route through the land of the different, the bizarre, and the unexplainable:  fields of peanuts, tobacco, soy beans and industrial hemp.

The sign post up ahead read, “Cadiz, Kentucky” when suddenly black smoke began to roll out from under the U-Haul.

We pulled off at a nearby exit and watched as inky fluid poured out of the truck and onto the concrete highway.

After a phone call or two to the moving company, we were informed a mechanic was on the way.

Our mechanic.  Note all the cell towers in the background.
He arrived after a long delay.  “I had to stop at the Piggly Wiggly for three bags of groceries,” he drawled.  After some poking around, he informed us we had a blown hose.

A turkey vulture surveys the damage.
No crap, Columbo!  Even I could see the remains of the hose and the engine's bodily fluids bleeding out.  He told us he would be back in the morning with parts to repair the damage; got in his van with his wife and his groceries and left.

We found rooms at the Holiday Inn for our group of four adults and four children.

The kids were so disappointed
to have to spend the afternoon in the motel pool.
While our son and his wife got the kids settled, DH and I walked across the street and into--what else--Kentucky Fried Chicken.  We felt like we were invisible.  None of the employees even looked up when we walked in.  At last, moving at a lingering pace through a zone of his own, one finally took our order. After we got the chicken dinners and took them back to the motel for the kids, DH and I decided we’d get our own meal at a nearby restaurant:  The Cracker Barrel Country Store.

 It was a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It was a souvenir store as chaotic as a sideshow and as immeasurable as the universe. It was the middle ground between light and shadow, between imagination and superstition.

 A waitress with a perky apron and big, big hair parked us at a table and fed us potatoes and gravy, cold cider and pie. 

While we waited for our food we tried to use our cell phones and discovered that, although there were three cell towers within a half mile of our location, we were unable to get service.   We were on the shadowy tip of reality: on a through route to weirdness and the unexplainable.

As we were paying our bill at the register, the cashier smiled, looked us in the eye and said, “Y’all want some fudge,” drawing the last word out into two syllables.  Suddenly we did and ordered a slab.

The next morning, using some items found at a plumbing store, our son and DH were able to improvise a repair to the truck and had it running before our redneck mechanic arrived.

He was impressed with the work and asked if our boy needed a job.  We didn’t tell him our son had an engineering degree and was on his way to a high paying career in Utah.

No, we hustled ourselves on down the highway and out of that freaky dimension of imagination, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind:  on our journey into a wondrous land whose only boundaries are that of imagination. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Back when digital meant:  "of or pertaining to the fingers" or "displaying a time readout in numbers," and back when cameras actually captured images on film, I took a class in slide photography.  We learned not only how to take photos using 35mm Kodachrome, (a film so wonderful,Simon and Garfunkel wrote a hit song about it), but we processed the film in a dark room.  One of our final projects was to create a series of photographs that told a story.  

Since I was a mom and had kids ready and willing to show off their acting skills, I wrangled my two girls to be my subjects in a short tale about bubble gum.  I got a passing grade and the slides ended up in a dark place for a long time.  The slides came to light a while ago and my oldest daughter kindly scanned them and gave the file to me to work over.

Time had not been kind to the film.

The photos were even darker...

and more yellow than I remember them being originally.

So I did what I could with them in Photoshop to bring them back, then reproduced the little story in a movie editing program.

Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

As long as I was playing with pictures in Photoshop... 

I brought up a  photo I took a few years back when DH and I were driving over Beartooth  Pass in southern Montana "the most beautiful drive in America." 

...and added some shots of ponies I had on file... create an homage to Bev Doolittle's "Pintos."
(how many ponies can you see?)

Sunday, January 19, 2014


 The Dahlies moved into their new house this weekend.  Their old home was a double wide with a redwood deck in a trailer park.

Now they have a three story townhouse with two bedrooms and a nursery.  It appears Salvador got a promotion.

  Their house was custom made by DH to fit in the corner of my bookcase—a birthday present for me.

Even with all that room there was more furniture left in storage.  It seems I’ve gone a little overboard on the doll house furniture collection.

Leelah has been busy arranging the place.  Her next step is wall paper, carpets and curtains.  She’s just glad she has a nice variety of colors to choose from.  Not like that trashy Barbie who only seems to like pink.

She’s been unpacking the kitchen and is pretty happy except for a lack of cupboard space.  But every kitchen seems to have that problem.  Cat is just glad they remembered to bring along his food dish.

Polly is keeping an eye on Wally who is thinking of ways to get out of his crib and down the stairs.

Molly is giving a little recital for Grandma Stella who has put down her knitting to get ready to applaud because that is what grandmas do.  Salvador is just glad the piano made it into the house intact and is wondering if the song should really sound like that or if he needs to call a tuner.

The Adventures of the Dahlies was an ongoing blog subject for a while back in 2011 and continued on occasionally after that.  For another episode of The Dahlies click here.

And a few more...
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