I am happy to report that after 25 1/2 hours, 1681 miles, six gas/potty/food stops and one night in a hotel in Albuquerque, NM, Cole and I are safely back home in Arkansas! This drive seemed to go the smoothest to date (out of the many trips over the past two years) and I think it was because I rented James Patterson's books on tape. He is such a fabulous writer and I was so engrossed in the story that I really paid no attention to the arduous drive or the sleeping teenager with the stinky feet in the back seat.
We arrived home at 9:30 p.m. tonight and now Cole is taping an audition to send to his agent and getting ready to take an Algebra final (it's online and has to be submitted by 12:00 a.m. today!). Didn't I tell you that there is never a dull moment?!
While I sit here and bask in the warmth of being back home with my family (both two legged and four legged), I thought I would share some insight and friendly advice for my non-Southern friends should they ever find themselves in the South.
#10. Southerns are super friendly. They will strike up a conversation anywhere including the gas station, a restaurant or in the stall adjacent to you in the restroom (yep, happened to me yesterday).
#9. Gas is way cheaper in the south than out West so fill up all you can. I mean $2.71/gallon is a STEAL!
#8. State Troopers out West drive Chevy Impala's and Camaro's. In the South, look for a jacked up 4x4 truck with a gun rack in the back window and a heavy duty grill guard with a hydraulic wench. If you see "Bubba" in your rear view mirror with his blue lights flashing, you best pull over and start thinking of how you can sweet talk this country boy out of the ticket he's intending to write you.
#7. People in the South drive much slower than in any other part of the country. It may make you crazy but that's just how they are so there's no need to lay on your horn and show them how "loved" they are when you finally are able to pass them.
#6. Manners...everyone from a small child learning his first words to a person that has one foot in the grave, knows their manners. If they say "yes ma'am" don't get huffy and take it as an insult. It's a compliment. You can smile and say "thank you" or "thank you very much". That's all.
#5. Some Southerners may not dress well, be clean shaven or even have all their teeth but they are the kindest people and will give you the shirt off their back...literally. Don't judge. Just give them a chance.
#4. You never see road kill in California but the wide open spaces in the South definitely provide lots of opportunities for car vs. animals.
#3. There is a Sonic and a Hobby Lobby in every town in the South. There are one of each in the entire state of California.
#2. You pass a church on every corner.
#1. The absolute BEST way to know that you're in the South is when you see a billboard that says, "Come in and buy a diamond and get a free shotgun." You have arrived!
"And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."