Sunday, September 30, 2007

Destiny's Child

Well, we swore we would never have a cat in the RV even though we'd usually had them before. Before a miserable excuse for a human being thew a tiny kitten from a moving car near the cavern on Thursday.

A young girl on her way to work in town, rescued the bleeding baby, probably 7 weeks old, from the road and, sobbing, brought her in to us. One of our staff, who works with animals, determined that despite abrasions on it's face, the kitten had not broken any bones. Ironically, the girl who rescued the kitten was named Destiny. Destiny's Child, aka: DC slept most of the day in a basket next to the register, hoping someone would bring her home.

Someone did.

Around 3 PM I brought Clancy into the store for her daily stint as greeter, wondering what she might think of the kitten. Although Clancy, who was spayed soon after we rescued her, has basically raised two non- related pups, Mystik in California and Annie, in Texas, she's terrified of cats. Her first brush with one was when she was sleeping innocently in the gift shop at Moaning Cavern and Smokey the store cat launched herself onto Clancy's back with all claws extended. Here at Cosmic Cavern, the resident feline, Cat -yep that's her name, hisses and spits whenever Clancy comes into her view.

Clancy does NOT like cats! She does not attack them, she runs!

Once things got quiet in the store we put the basket on the floor. She sniffed the kitten, backed off and circled again, hearing it mewling, hesitated a bit when it sneezed in her face and then set in grooming it and cleaning the last vestiges of blood from it's little face.

After about 10 mintues we let the kitten out on the floor and Clancy would not let it out of her sight. If any customer tried to pick it up she got nervous. She knows she's not allowed to bark in the store so she whimpered when anyone got too close. Then she lay down under a table and the baby snuggled right up to her. At the close of day, our manager asked, "Who's going to take the kitten home for the night?" before anyone could say anything Clancy started barking!

One bag of kitten chow, food dish, litter pan, sack of litter and oh yeah and a mouse on a cord later( Big Jim is such a sucker) and Destiny's Child seems to have been adopted - by my dog! She has turned her little nose up at the small basket I fixed for her and taken over over Clancy's bed. ("Move over Dog, I'm cold.") She has made it known she gets to eat first, cat food or dog food whichever she chooses, while Clancy stands back and watches like a proper mama. (Clancy is such a pushover.) DC (nick name is my idea -can stand for Darned Cat, Dopey Cat, and many other appellations I have yet to have need of) has figured out how to crawl into almost every inaccessible place in the motor home and keep her location a deep secret.

Heck! even as I type this she is curled up in my lap all tiny and fluffy and cute, purring away. What can I do? I've been out voted by a sucker and a pushover. Off to the vet this week for shots etc. Sigh.

See Ya Down the Road,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Small Towns Charm Us Off the Interstate

Big Jim and I both come from fairly small towns and are always drawn to them. We have been through some that definitely meet the criteria . One town in Arizona, years ago, had a hand made sign that read

Population 4
Until Jody’s Baby
Is Born Next Month”

Some of what we’ve learned about small towns in the past three years is worth sharing with those who have spent their lives in the cities and feel that the Interstate highway system is the best road to travel.

1) The first gas station off the Interstate is more expensive than the one three blocks down on the right.

2) Small towns have big hearts.

3) The smaller the town the more waves you’ll get as you drive by.

4) There’s usually a place to buy propane on the outskirts of town.

5) Stay for coffee after church services. Those folk know where to go next.

6) Old people in parks love to talk to you. Ask them about their secret places and about local legends.

7) If you see several police cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck in front of a restaurant with no emergency lights-go have lunch!

8) Try the dish that sounds the strangest. In Sonora ,Texas ~ Blackened Alligator bites -so good!

9) Pie Town Café’s Apple Jalapeno pie is fantastic! In Northwest corner of New Mexico.
10) Boiled peanuts? Try ‘em you’ll like ‘em! We had them in Arkansas.

11) Explore the small stores on the town square. Buy jars of local preserves or relish to enjoy later-consumable souvenirs.

12) Shop the oldest store in town and chat with the owner.

13) Staying for a few days? Check the library for local history sites.

14) Read the bulletin boards to spot local festivals and spaghetti feeds.

15) Get out and walk! Smell the roses or the fall leaves.

16) A cute dog on a leash is a great letter of introduction.

17) Miss the grand kids? Sit on a bench on the square, blow some bubbles, and see how many children show up.

18) Search out the city park. You may be able to stay overnight for free.

19) Drop a donation in the jar at the local museum.

20) Remember, God grew up in a small town! Look! His house is right down the street!

See Ya Down The Road,


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Everything but the Hillbillies!

While I try not to stereotype people. I think I was expecting to find something different when we got to the Ozarks. Brought up on Lil’ Abner and Daisy Mae, I came to the Arkansas hill country looking for Dog Patch.

Oddly enough, we found it! Down on route 7, on one of the most beautiful (twisty- winding -steep) drives our faithful Winnebago has been on. But Dog Patch USA , a once popular non-technology laden theme park is all closed up and Pappy and Mammy Yokum and Lil’ Abner himself are no where to be found. We didn’t even catch sight of a single Schmoo!

Following signs up the road, we decided we’d have to make do with buying our four sophisticated offspring tasteful gifts imprinted with their place of purchase- Booger Hollow. Sadly, Booger Hollow is also a thing of the past. Looks like the Ozarks have moved into the 21st century. I knew we should have bought the RV 25 years ago!!!

We’ve spent the summer at Cosmic Cavern in Berryville, Arkansas, located on Highway 21 North, 8 mi. out of Berryville. Technically, the cave is in Maple but the town sign is actually here in the garden and there are apparently only 3 houses. It has been a very restful summer in this laid back area. Business, while good at this interesting cave, is not the frenetic pace we’ve been used to at our previous Workamping positions.

While there are two usable RV pads here, we are currently taking up one of them. Motor homes (1 or 2 at a time) can make the turn into the parking lot and you’ll enjoy the cave, history area, and gift shop, but we strongly recommend staying in another park and visiting in your toad if possible.

We’ve worked with some wonderful and funny fellow staff members. Rand and Anita, the owners, work right along with us much of the time and they are great, generous folks. Rand’s also a deputy sheriff and there’s not a person in 50 miles who doesn’t know and like him.

Angie is a local gal who recognizes when visitors are expecting to find a “real hillbilly.” She can deliver when that’s who they are looking for! She does make a point of reminding people that the crooked and uneven stairs in Cosmic Cavern were built by those hillbillies- her way of ensuring they use the handrails. April can get a group of kids oohing and ahhing and laughing with her as they see this strange underground world for the first time. Lisa is a walking Chamber of Commerce and not only tells you exactly which restaurant to go to but what’s best on the menu as well.

Dorothy will convince you that when she rubs your back with magnetic hematite stones your aches and pains disappear. She’s so good at it she also makes the stones disappear at $6.50 a bag! They do work too- she's used them on me and Big Jim and even Clancy, she was a massage therapist in another life.

Mike is another person who got tired of doing what he was good at and decided to go looking for what he enjoyed one area at a time. He dropped off the radar about a year ago and spends most of his off time hiking and exploring caves. He’s been here for about eight months. He’s not in an RV but his lifestyle is pretty similar to ours.

A usual perk in this area for Workampers is free or greatly reduced show tickets and admissions to the many attractions both Eureka Springs and Branson have to offer. We thought that would be fabulous but we find that we really aren’t that into shows after all. We still spend more time driving around looking for a great picnic site, preferably one with a stream for Clancy to paddle around.

Our 39th honeymoon was spent in the little town of Mt. View AR, listening to wonderful blue grass and mountain music both on the town square and right on the pickin’ porch at Fiddler’s Valley RV Resort. Lunch at Joy’s Main Street Café was delicious and made even more so when we discovered our server was a fellow Workamper, known far and wide as B-Bop. She and her hubby have also fallen in love with this area and will be staying for the winter.

As things wind down for the season we are in the process of securing our next piece of the big backyard. We’ll probably end up back in Texas for the Winter. We may stop to say “hi” to our new friends the musicians once they open their new Music Valley RV resort in Mission.

A few of my patient readers here purchased copies of my childrens' novel The Tree at the Top of the Hill, and I thank you for that. If you write and tell me what Molly did all summer, I’ll be glad to send an autographed bookmark to go with it.

The relaxed pace has allowed us to get a good start on our next writing project and I’ll let you know how it’s coming along another time.

Guess what? I finally caught up with myself! Unbelievable!

See ya Down the Road!