Dani and I spent the night at the not-so-elegant, but-it’s-a-bed Days Inn in West Monroe, Louisiana. The Duck Dynasty office was only six minutes away, and we decided to make it our first stop after getting some gas and scraping the dead bugs off the windshield. We pulled into a gas station off a small side street. I’ll admit, it didn’t appear to be in the best of neighborhoods, but the gas price was reasonable.
To preface this story, I like to travel in comfort. My outfit of choice is a pair of yoga capris with a tank and a light jacket over it. No, I’m not going to win any beauty contests in it, that’s for sure, but at least all my parts are covered and I can move around.
Dani and I work as a good team during our gas station stops. She pumps the gas and I wash the windshield. At the same time we are taking care of all our automotive business, there were two very vocal women beside us doing the same thing. Like me, they were rotund women.
“What she got on?” The heaviest of the women yelled.
“Who you mean? That fat woman over there?” The other woman asked. Since Dani isn’t anywhere near fat, the obvious deduction was that they were talking about me. I sneaked a discreet glance at the ladies, wondering if it was safer to get in the car, lock the doors, and scritch away. I noticed the woman pointing me out had on an outfit similar to mine. Her leggings were amply filled out around the buttocks and rather tight in the legs and thighs, and her tank was a size too small and accented her well-endowed bosom. Definitely not my style, but it worked for her.
“She look so fat in ’dat. Kind of roly-poly,” the woman said. Did I mention their conversation could have been heard down the block?
“She got the same thing you got on,” the other woman answered, laughing.
“Yeah, but she don’t wear it like me,” the heavier woman said, rubbing her hands down her body and shaking her booty.
I didn’t want to start a melee at the gas station by defending my right to look less than stellar for a road trip and decided to take the low road. I didn’t say anything, finished my task, and hurried Dani inside the car so we could leave. I did resolve to wear better clothes the next day so I wouldn’t look so “roly-poly.’ I’m also starting another diet when I get back home.
We made our way over to Duck Commander, which was deserted. It looked just like it does on TV—simple and rustic. I was surprised that it was unobtrusive in the neighborhood. West Monroe didn’t have Duck Dynasty billboards everywhere. In fact, if we weren’t a fan of the show, we wouldn’t have known Duck Dynasty was even there. We were at their shops on a Sunday, though, so I’m not sure what it’s like during the week or on a Saturday when it’s open. We enjoyed taking pictures by the Duck Commander sign, pointing out Willie’s office door, and the famous loading dock they filled with water in one of their episodes.
Then, we headed for Texas. It didn’t take us long to get through Shreveport and make it to the Texas border. little did we know that Texas was going to be a long, long, long drive.
We did have a nice lunch interlude in Dallas at the Texas Roadhouse, where my Goddaughter’s mama, Sherrie, bought us lunch. Little Gabby wasn’t very talkative, but she had no problem being cute. It was a nice break in the trip, but we had to hurry on to get through more of the least exciting part of Texas.
Our goal for the day was to make it to the New Mexico border. Unfortunately, there was a huge windstorm and dust storm that slowed our progress. We drove for hours and hours against wind gusts in dusk-like light that had a strange orange-yellow hue. The coloring of the sky, the brisk wind, and the meagerly populated areas that we were driving through gave us an eerie feeling of being in the Twilight Zone with a slightly skewed reality. The gas stations were few and far between and literally in the middle of nowhere. We drove up to one and parked the car at the pump and a big gust of wind felt like it actually picked the car up off the ground. At the same time, the radio emitted the Emergency Broadcast System warning of high winds, tornados, and hail. There were just a few people in the gas station, and I told Dani, “We’re going to peek in. If these people look like walkers, we’re leaving. It’s starting to feel like the Walking Dead and we’re without a knife, gun, or a Samurai sword to put zombies out of their misery.” We made it out alive and so did everybody else.
We were both a little freaked out by the odd color of the atmosphere around us, the sun looking more like a full moon in a dusk sky, and my Walking Dead reference. Everything was spooking us and fatigue was setting in.
Dani started studying for one of her on-line finals while I was driving. I saw a little weed ball roll across the highway. I couldn’t think of the name of the things.
“Did you see that?” I asked Dani.
“What?” She asked.
“One of those whirly plant things,” I said, taking my hands off the wheel long enough to gesture rolling.
“You mean a tumbleweed?”
“Yes, that’s what they’re called. It rolled right in front of us.”
“Oh, I missed it. I want to see one. Are we supposed to wish on them like stars or something?”
We looked at each other and burst out laughing at our absurd conversation. It was time to stop for the night because we both needed sleep. We made it to the edge of Amarillo, saw a Holiday Inn and prepared to rest for the evening. Surprisingly, we had to pull out the heavy sweatshirts because it was to-the-bone cold. But we both plopped in bed and passed out for the night.
It was a great second day, and we got lots of miles under our belt. That eerie and spooky feeling we had made the rather droll countryside of Texas pass a little faster. Tomorrow is New Mexico. We are both excited because it is somewhere we both have never been.
I too have a daughter named Dani. She is married now and 26 years old. Your feelings about your girl are so similar to ours. She and her husband have a house fifteen minutes from us but will likely move 3 1/2 miles away if she takes a job in Eastern NC. I am keeping my mouth shut as much as possible because if anyone can upset her apple cart, it would be me. And we are very close but still… I think that need for independence between moms and daughters is nature’s way of wanting the apron string to be severed. I’ve heard the same stories from so many friends and of an eventual lessening of the need to prove independence, I remember those years with my own mother and have treasured our time together oh so much as years have passed. I hope life is sweeter and sweeter as time goes by. Your trip together sounds fabulous.