“Richard, that still doesn’t explain why you’re so tired,” Bunny said with her refined Texas accent, her long blond hair swept back into a pony tail that crowned her statuesque figure.
“Bunny, that was only the beginning,” Richard said his shoulders slumping. He placed his hand on my shoulder. “We ran into a little road construction along the way.”
“From George to Ritzville, the traffic was only one lane each direction. Liken it to being caught in Seattle on the Friday before a holiday,” Richard said shaking his head.
Looking up at Richard I said, “By 8 0‘clock, we could see Spokane in the distance. The sign read, ‘road closure from 8 p.m to 8 a.m.’. So we spent the night just west of Spokane. Thus ended the first 300 miles of our trip.”
“Bunny it took 12 hours,” Richard said yawning.
Sunday morning the sun crested the Rocky Mountains to the east. A beam of light wiggled its way passed the curtains and landed on my face. Opening one eye I realized we were in a motel. Richard sat at the small table between the bed and the bathroom working on his laptop.
“What’re you doing?” I asked stretching.
Richard jumped. “I’m downloading music so I can survive the Burma-Shave outbursts.”
Laughing I rolled out of bed. Richard looked at his watch.
“You do know it’s 6 a.m. don’t you,” Richard said laughing. His blue eyes danced as he said, “every corpuscle in your body should be revolting right now.”
“I keep telling you my allergies to morning are greatly exaggerated,” I said kissing him on the cheek.
Walking into the bathroom the mirror did a double take. My short brown hair somehow formed into a wedge reminiscent of the 80’s with spiky bits frizzed out for sport. The pillow molded modern artwork onto my left cheek. I must have left my zombie avatar packed in the car, she would have looked much better.
“Fannie, you know we aren’t gonna make all the stops your parents planned if we’re to make it to Missouri by Saturday,” Richard said.
“Good luck with that one,” I said shaking my head, “my dad’s a stickler. Getting him to change plans will take an act of Congress or upsetting my mom and aunt at the same time and I don’t need to tell you my aunt’s not here.”
Richard rolled his eyes. “I’m gonna need a lot more music.”
“Bunny, in order to make the reunion by the following Saturday and make it back for work on time, we needed to spend more time on the road,” I said nodding toward Richard, “so Richard volunteered to play road warrior since my parents refused to skip any stops.”
With my father at the helm of the sky blue mobile land yacht wearing a dark blue Greek fishing cap, which covered his horseshoe hair, and sporting his sky blue polo shirt with coordinating khaki travel pants, he matched my mother’s ensemble. She added a pale blue scarf tied around her neck, her Betty White wig plus sky blue sandals with three inch heels.
Richard wore a black and white rugby jersey with blue jeans, it somehow made him look even taller.
My mother looked from Richard to me as we approached the car.
“Fannie you look out of place next to Richard with that ancient Fleetwood Mac tee and walking shorts,” she said shaking her head.
But in this heat, I was comfy.
The sun cleared the mountains through broken clouds. We pulled out of the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel as the construction crew removed the barricade from the interstate on-ramp. My watch read 8:07.
Low clouds enveloped the Rocky Mountains as we reached the far side of Idaho’s Lake Coeur D’Alene. The sun bursting through the clouds like a spot light on the lake’s mirror surface forming a partial rainbow.
Richard and my father switch positions in Missoula when we filled up with gas. My mother and I pulled a Chinese Fire Drill. Richard rolled his eyes and positioned his ear buds. He tuned us out as we cruised the highway headed toward Rapid City, South Dakota.
Road construction outside Butte detoured us from the highway. Richard took us on a tour of the Burkeley Pit. Raw pale terraced earthen walls surrounded a pit filled with a dark lake that reflected the cloudy sky.
We met road construction between every town from Butte to Billings.
Nearing Gillette, Wyoming, at half passed midnight the clouds parted and the moonlight show cased the plains highlighting all of the oil pumps. My mother scanned the horizon pretending to look for the Devil’s Tower.
Winking at me and nudging my father awake she said, “Moonlight.”
My father and I said, “And roses, Whiskers, Like Moses, Just don’t go together.”
Everyone except Richard said, “. . .Burma-Shave.”
My father followed by singing, “Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously. . .”.
Richard’s shoulders tightened and his hands gripped the steering wheel as we joined my father with the rest of our favorite song from Singin’ in the Rain.
With enough room in the back seat for a Radio City Rockette to help with the finale, my parents swung their arms wide, threw back their heads and at the top of their lungs sang, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.”
“We spent the night in Gillette,” I said laughing.
Bunny shook with suppressed laughter.