Happy routine had settled quietly onto our now blended family. Eldest daughter resided with her mom and step dad in Oklahoma. Second eldest daughter was delighting in being a big sister. This third baby was quiet, compliant and content. What could possibly disturb this domestic tranquility?
When baby number three reached six months of age we got a phone call from my husbands’ sister. She informed us that their dad was heading out on a cross country trip on his bicycle and she was very worried. Her husband could only ride with him to Idaho and then he would be on his own. She then told her brother, (as only a sister can) that if he didn’t join their dad for the remainder of the trip, she would do horrible things to him and never allow him to forget it if any unmentionable accident were to happen to their dad! “But sis!,” appealed my husband. “I havn’t found gainful employment yet and we are flat broke with a new baby”. Sis volunteered to fund his portion of the journey and loan him her husbands bike. He could pay her back later. Which only left finding a way for the rest of us to get all the way across the US.
Yes my husband and his dad really did ride across the US on bicycles. But this story is about our journey by bus across this great land of ours. I had to borrow the enormous sum of $400 from one of my Aunts. I think they only agreed to loan us the money so they could get a really good look at him when he got to the south eastern portion of this country. Kind of the same way you stare at zoo creatures. He was after, all a Yankee. By this time they were all beginning to wonder about him anyway. Not only were we jobless, pennyless and had a brand new baby, they knew how crazy I was and were now rather concerned that I had married in kind.
I purchased the bus tickets and began the 3 day journey via Greyhound. My older daughter and I kept looking out the bus windows for signs of Grandpaw and daddy. We had entertained the driver and many riders with our story about daddy and his dad riding across the country, so befor long everyone in the bus was looking out the windows for the two crazy, I mean intrepid adventurers.
For me the trip was rather uneventful if you exclude the colorful characters that always lurk around bus stations. The baby and my older daughter enjoyed the trip and I was young enough to endure three days of sleep deprivation. The real fun began when we got to NC.
I picked hubby up at the bus station in Virgina as he was saying good by to his dad. My did they look GOOD! Each had lost weight and were muscle toned down to their little toes. Grandpa flew back but we journeyed on by bus to NC.
My family couldn’t understand. My husband explained about his trip as only an ex-journalist could. He was greeted by puzzled looks. They were all thinking, “He looks intelligent enough. Doesn’t look like a mass murderer or anything crazy. There aren’t any warrants out for his arrest. Hmmmm.” So all they could say to each other was, “Why did he ride across the US on a bike when he has a family to support and is as old as he is?”. My mom always swore that if she hadn’t been awake when I was born she would have insisted that they had switched me with her real baby at birth. I was the only one so far to have married out of the South. And goodness knows you still couldn’t trust anyone north of the Mason Dixon Line.
We stayed at my Aunts home where she treated us like Royalty. Various relatives kept slipping me money here and there while casting worried looks towards my husband. Of course I couldn’t say anything without appearing ungracious and up until then we were broke. So I took their money. Actually had enough money to pay a few bills when we got home. But I will never forget the loving looks of concern on their faces and the inquires to the police department. All from concerned family members. Were we full of faith or just full of it? Some times it’s hard to tell.
Shortly after we arrived back in Oregon hub got a new job down in California. Now he was a regular working stiff and my family all breathed a sigh of relief. California should have been what they were worried about. Next find out what happens when you take a wild home grown nut like me and try to plant it in the land of Nuts!