I love road trips with the family. Packing up our little subcompact and squeezed in like sardines, we often hit the road in pursuit of athletic excellence: baseball, basketball and school sports being the prime motivation.
This year alone we have made six trips into the U.S. and I’m sure we’ve seen every corner of Southern Ontario. There aren’t many high school gyms we haven’t sat in. And, we have the chronic lower back pain to prove it.
Earlier, I described to you Grumpy’s great adventure when he became trapped in an elevator in Indiana. Today he’d like to tell you the rest of the story. Because my friends, every single one of these trips is an adventure.
So, let’s take a closer look at what really happened when we ventured to Louisville, Kentucky this past July. Our boy was to participate in the Bluegrass Basketball Classic at the Kentucky Exposition Centre, a venue set up with over 11 courts for basketball.
Here’s my hot list of two trending topics which gave us a few chuckles and laughs during our three day stay in the Bible belt.
Topic #1: THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF JIM BEAM BOTTLE SPECIALTIES
The hotel in the outskirts of Louisville (Clarksville, Indiana) was filled with little old ladies and gentleman who were attending a convention. They all belong to; get this, THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF JIM BEAM BOTTLE SPECIALTIES. It seems as if they collect decanters and bottles from the Jim Beam sour mash whisky company. You see corn liquor and moonshine is the preferred beverage in this part of the world.
That surely answered our primary question and made us understanding of all the “Yips” and “Yee-haws” we heard late into the night. I don’t think one of these conventioneers were less than 70 years of age. I’ve never seen a group of such happy seniors. Inebriation does have its advantages.
I think the Jack Daniel’s Convention might be a little wilder, though. You see that is the preferred drink of rock stars and hillbilly crooners. And, I suspect that no one in that group is into collecting empty bottles. Creating empty bottles is their primary goal.
BTW -Every time I’m in Kentucky I venture out to Wal-Mart to pick up a bottle of this interesting concoction.
Well, because my $9.95 bottle of the cheapest brand bought in Kentucky tastes better than any bourbon I can buy in Ontario. (I notice they actually sell Mason Jars of Moonshine in the liquor outlets down here. I’ve got to try that kind of hooch next trip down.)
CASE #2: Doug and Scott’s Excellent Adventure
Meet Doug and Scott; two guys that when paired together, mishaps and mayhem are sure to follow. One is a dad, the other is a coach and both of them are high school teachers. Thank goodness, both of them are men of a strong physical presence. Otherwise, they might have found themselves in a deeper creek of dung.
So, it went down like this.
Doug and Scott were out looking to get some groceries near downtown Louisville. Unfortunately, they found themselves with a flat tire in a very sketchy part of town.
SAFETY NOTE: When the area you are driving through appears run down and potentially crime-ridden do not select the closest grocery store listed on your GPS. It might be better to go down the list and drive to the one five miles away. You see, that female voice directing you doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your personal safety.
So, our boys found themselves stranded across the street from rather busy liquor store. The bars on the windows and doors suggested that security was a prime concern in this neck of the woods.
Discovering that the spare tire was not functional, they were forced to call their Auto Club to get a tow truck out to assist them.
SAFETY NOTE: When putting air in your tires remember that that spare tire is not a spare when it is flat. Your GPS will not give you this information. You GPS gives you directions not safety tips. As duly noted, your GPS lady could care less about you and your personal safety.
Doug and Scott had to wait two hours before the tow truck guy arrived and in the interim experience reality TV up close and personal. They felt as if they were in an episode of “Cops”. Their only concern was whether they would be viewed as “victims” or “perps”.
Here’s how their two hour wait went down.
During their wait another random tow truck drove by. They tried to hail the guy down but he just stared at them, shaking his head as if to say, “Not on your life boys. I’m not getting out of my truck in this neighborhood! No way! No how!”
Meanwhile, a police car raced by in obvious pursuit of the car squealing tires in front of him. This was a police chase –up close and personal. It was obvious that a police presence was required here given the echoes of possible gunshots they heard in the distance.
People were openly drinking and smoking up as they emerged from the liquor store. They were flaunting their joints as if this was a “pot” no zone; meaning the cops had bigger fish to fry and could care less about the “potheads” roaming the streets. Yes folks, murder and mayhem rate far more attention than misdemeanors in this particular neighborhood.
The patrons of the liquor store only favored our heroes passing glances, this despite the fact that they were the only Caucasians in sight. Again, two guys built like linebackers have some creds when it comes to the pecking order for potential muggings. The criminals in the area must of thought our guys were undercover cops setting up a rather lame “sting” operation.
Of course, there were the typical zombies wandering aimlessly on the street, most of them mumbling to themselves. Either they were high on stronger stuff or their anti-psychotics hadn’t kicked in.
Finally, there was a dude slumped over in his truck with the vehicle running. His head rested on the steering wheel. (The running engine was for air conditioning they guessed, given the +100 temperatures in Kentucky). They called him the DEAD GUY IN THE TRUCK. The poor soul sat in that truck for those two hours and didn’t stir. Not one person checked to see if he was a victim of a drive by.
Author’s Note: Being good Canadians our two aventures checked several times to see if the guy was breathing. They were sure THE DEAD guy wasn’t dead.
Well, Doug and Scott final got fixed up and back on the road. They could now laugh at their misfortune much as they laughed about how on the trip down they lost a windshield wiper in driving rain storm, while flying down the express lane and screaming like teenage girls.
Or, perhaps they’d mention how on a previous trip down (Pittsburg) one of them forgot to declare the case of liquor in the trunk. There was major ramifications with that one. This error now places them in the “red flag” border security category, and one “white lie” away from a strip and cavity search. Ouch!
In closing, a, lot of us believe that our two intrepid adventures require some supervision when they travel together. Oh, the stories we could tell.
Sometimes I believe that these adventures provide the real value from these trips. Our boys will remember the competition, but they will also member the adventures and the camaraderie.
In two trips to Louisville they have toured the Muhammad Ali Centre, visited the Louisville Slugger baseball bat plant, experienced tornado-type weather, slipped through a security gate at the 55 000 seat Louisville Cardinals Papa John’s Football Stadium and ran on the field, had great wing dinners at Hooters, hooked up with some girl’s softball team and played basketball in one of the biggest tournaments in Kentucky against good American competition.
How great is that?
The foibles of their parents and their coaches just add to this, don’t you think? Well, at least Grumpy knows this to be true because he’s the guy that got stuck in that elevator.