Bags packed, we planned to be up and on the road early.
A much needed vacation awaited the dawn.
The first day of our trek would be relaxing. We planned to check into a hotel on the water by afternoon.
Sunset would find us on the deck of a restaurant overlooking Apalachicola Bay where we’d watch the fishing boats returning with their hauls as we drank something cool.
Things didn’t go that way.
Before we took our dogs in for boarding, we let them out for a run. They disappeared into the big woods adjacent to our house.
You might think they were avoiding the trip to the vet, if you didn’t know how much they love to go there.
Why? I don’t know.
If ill, they get probed and sometimes punctured. If boarded they stay in confines smaller than their yard.
Still they tug at their leashes to get in his door.
Not on this morning, however. Whatever they found in the woods was more interesting than either a trip to the vet or their waiting breakfast.
Instead of getting on the road, Mary and I whistled and called in vain. I drove the packed and freshly washed car over dusty dirt roads.
An hour after I’d given up in frustration, they returned.
Despite their innocent faces, we took them to canine incarceration pending bail upon our return.
Finally out of town, we breezed down the interstate for almost 40 miles until some unseen barrier bottled traffic and let it drip out one car at a time. I fled I-12 at the first exit and weaved through back roads just to keep moving.
Who knows whether my detour saved us time, but eventually we worked our way back to a flowing interstate. It flowed until the first wreck we encountered.
We crept until we finally passed dented cars. Again we reached cruising speed — until the next wreck.
That pattern repeated itself across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The car’s clock and the afternoon sun moved faster than the odometer.
By the time we reached our destination the fishing boats were home for the night.
It still would be a beautiful evening to sit on a restaurant deck, listening to waves and enjoying a sliver of moon.
Ravenous, we pulled into the parking lot and glanced at the car clock. It said 8 p.m. The restaurant sign said closing time was 9.
Unaware we had crossed a time zone, we stretched weary bodies and spotted vacant tables on the deck.
We savored the smells and surveyed the delectable-looking items on the menu as we waited for the hostess to return to her station.
When the she appeared, she wore a pitying smile:
“Sorry, sir,” she said. “We just closed.”
Advocate Florida Parishes bureau chief Bob Anderson welcomes comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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