We’re Having A Tent Sale!

Happy Thanksgiving!

And I can’t wait!!!! In fact, I’m going to purchase a tent, so I can sleep in it for next year’s Black Friday. Am I missing something? Yes, I guess I am. I’m really missing, Fall.
I mean people are literally sleeping in tents, for sales on merchandise, tomorrow. I sure hope that they find something they can really use….like a life.

Sorry, folks, but I’m wondering why we have people lining up like the seniors at the local early bird special’s, when we are living in a country that’s broke. According to statistics, a record number of people are unemployed, so where is the shopping money coming from?

But I began to think, you know, tent’s are really a good investment. Because most of us, will be living in one soon. So, buy stock in Coleman or other sporting goods companies, who produce them.

I’ve been joking for years, that the American dream of home ownership, is really a ball and chain. When you think of all the repairs and upkeep. I tell people if it weren’t for my children, I’d live in a tent.

It’s travels better than an RV. Well, most of the time. Then my mind began to drift, back to the last time I actually slept in a tent. It was a concert, called Bonaroo.

I was with two friends. The concert was to be in a giant cornfield, somewhere in Tennessee. I met my friend’s in Chicago’s, O’Hare airport. My friend, Karen went to elementary school with me. She’s lived in a little town, practically her whole life. And she calls herself, The Country Mouse, and I’m the City Mouse. I just call her bumpkin. The reason’s are varied and obvious, when you meet her.

To start out the trip, her boyfriend came in to the airport to meet me. She had a tent which he checked to arrive in Tennessee, when we arrived. As we went to our flight, I remarked that I thought it incredible that she had a cell phone. She stated, “I know, I need it to get ahold of Bill, when we get back, so he has it now.” “What????” I said. “Are you kidding me? Why would you do that?” She look confused, so I pointed out that we were going to be at a major event, and this would be our way of communicating with each other, should we become separated. “Oh, yea, but how am I going to let Bill know, when I get back?” So, I guess you have one cell phone, and never thought you could use this to call his landline?” “What’s a landline?” Oh geesh! I was already getting irritated. She probably still uses paper cups, with a string.

Now, we got to the airport in Tennessee, and it was total chaos. There had been a terrible storm, and all the flights were delayed. We walked into the area where bags were just piled up, with a yellow tape around, as if to warn people to stand back. “I’m going in!” My friend said. She dove into the bags, desperately looking for the tent. Nothing.

A representative said, “Everyone, listen! We are going to be sending your bag’s to the concert site, once they arrive. We will be having buses, leaving every few hours, to deliver your belongings.” Oh, this is just great, I thought. I guess we’ll be sleeping outside, on our air mattress, or in our rental car.

I never would have imagined, that this concert would be so crowded, and that every miserable thing I could imagine, played out that weekend.

My whole mission was to see Dave Matthews. I love them, and I also had hoped to see The Dead. Out of all the bands performing, I thought this would be easy enough, to schedule.

It was bumper to bumper traffic, and on the way in, to the cornfield, it was reminiscent of a party I was going to, in my teens. We all finally got to a very secluded cornfield, and just ready to tap the kegs, when a long line of squad cars began to ramble down the dirt road. They shut us down before the first beer was tapped. What a major bummer, that was.

Here we were just inching along, and I see a car in the ditch at the side of the road. I had to get a picture of this, since we thought it hilarious that someone could be going this slow and end up in a ditch. “They had to be totally wasted,” we agreed.

We finally got into the concert site, and people were directing our parking. We all parked next to each other, and I distinctly remembered the girl with her heavy southern drawl, saying, “We’re gonna be parkin a lot of people in here, so get close.” I thought, “how crowded can it be?

We went to check the Lost and Found to see if the tent had been delivered yet. Nope. Nothing. I sure hope it gets here before the weekend is up,” I said. But I really was joking, and had no belief that it wouldn’t be with the other luggage being delivered.

I decided to head out to see Dave Matthews. My friends didn’t want to go, so I said, I’d mark my way and find the stage they were performing on. There were several. As I headed off, I noticed that people were still headed into the concert. So I stopped and asked the girl directing people, “How do I know which area we’re parked in?” “Oh,” she said. “This is the Magnolia section.” “Yes,” I said, but I have a map, but how can I see it? It’s not marked with any signs.” “Well, we’re really parkin em in. Ya’ll just have to find yurself a landmark, like some over hangin tree, or some balloons, or somethin.” “What? Are you serious?” Oh well, I wanted to see Dave Matthews, so I just got my bearings, and started walking.

Sure enough. Concert was over, and I was walking back, and there were thousands of people. And every parking area looked the same. Oh no. This was getting bad. Now I was getting more and more angry, as I thought my girlfriend, left her cell phone with her boyfriend. How is that going to help me? What an idiot! I thought. Right now, I wanted to hang her up as a landmark!

I walked and walked. I met up with a couple guys, that we had met at the start of the concert. They helped me look for hours. Nothing. I was getting more upset. We’d stop and hang out with people, and then start walking again. I finally gave up at about 4am. We were all invited to hang out at a campsite with a group that worked the concert. “Hey if any of you want to sleep in that tent, those guys are working the concert, so feel free.

I fell asleep in someones tent and the next morning, sure enough, a guy and girl came in. They’d worked al night, trying to help people like me. They didn’t even question who I was, or what I was doing sleeping in their tent. It was the whole communal experience. That’s why I love hippies.

The next morning I decided, there’s one place I need to sit and wait. If my friends are going to go someplace, it’s the bathroom. I found the ones closest to the area we had parked and sat. I was wearing a shirt that said, “Flygirl,” and about an hour later, I hear her yell my name. I  looked up and she said, “Where were you? I recognized you by that shirt.” “Oh my gosh! I could kill you for leaving your phone!” I said. “This is exactly what I was afraid would happen!”

The next day we checked for the tent again. Nothing. My friend told me how miserable it was for her and my other friend, because I had the keys to the car, and they had to sleep outside on the air mattress. That did give me some satisfaction, as I said, “Well I got to sleep in someones tent.”

Now, tonight we were looking forward to seeing, The Dead. All of a sudden, there was a torrential thunderstorm which was coming into the area. Tornadoes had touched down. Some guys in an RV next to us, invited us to hang out inside with them. Good thing, because those tents were blowing everywhere. I said, “I don’t think anyone is going to be seeing, The Dead tonight”, I said.

We had such a miserable time, that we decided to leave a day early. It was a big, muddy mess. A total Woodstock experience. A guy in an ATV, was pulling cars out of the mud, and we had him pull ours out too. I cracked up with my friends, when we returned the rental. It was a mess. It looked like we went to the Redneck Mud Festival.

When we got to the airport, I was sitting on a seat near our gate. “Hey,” I said to my girlfriend. “I saw a guy that looked just like Bob Weir,” except he was kind of old and scraggly looking.” As my last memory of him, was actually backstage at one of their concerts. He was looking kind of hot, back in the day.

All of a sudden a guy walked up to me and started talking. “You coming from Bonaroo?” “Yea,” I said. We’re leaving early. It was just too crappy out and we never got our tent.” “Oh, did you see our band?” He asked. “I don’t know. Which band is that?” I asked. “The Dead.” “Oh, you’re kidding.” I said, not recognizing him. “I thought that looked like Bob Weir, walking by. But then I just thought it was an old hippie.” He laughed, “He is!” he said. Then I asked him if they actually had people come out. “Oh, you would have been surprised. Thousands were out in the rain.” He said. Then he reached in his pocket and said, “this is for you and your friends. And he handed me some guitar pics.

We were laughing at the whole experience later. I couldn’t have been at a worse concert. Well, except the other one, with my daughter when I ended up in the middle of a mosh pit. But that’s for different story, which I’ve already told.

I called my friend about the tent. Still, no news. “I said, they’re probably having a tent sale.” I mean, she had been telling me what a great tent it was. Maybe someone else needed one.  About 6 months later she called me, cracking up. “Hey,” she said. “We finally got the tent.”

That was back in 2004. Since that time, my friends boyfriend passed away from cancer. I had lost contact with her for awhile, but when we reconnected, we were still laughing about the memory.

I’ve realized, I’m not so much into the weekend outdoor concert experience. So I would definitely not be interested in camping outside a store for, Black Friday.  But, I guess some people think they’re going to miss something. Here’s a couple words to those who hold to this belief….You’re not.

I’m So Thankful

I am so blessed

I flew in from a trip yesterday. I finally arrived at my home at about 9pm. This is when I began cooking my dinner. I like to prepare everything in advance and I was in bed by about 2am.

Needless to say, I was exhausted.
I began cooking again at 8:30 this morning. I had talked with a friend about making a turkey on the grill and I thought, “Why not?”
I looked up some instructions online and decided to try it out.
I read that, once you’ve grilled a turkey, you won’t go back to the oven.
I can tell you that from the response of the critics, that it is worth the effort.
I always have a friend who I invited. He has no family here, and we love him.
He’s from Senegal and has lived in this country for quite a long time. He always tells me that his mother was asking about me.
He puts everyone else off, until he finds out what our plans are, because he tells his friends, “We are his family.”
I was so tired, and had a difficult time, because of my exhaustion, but my family makes it worth it.
My mother is here this Thanksgiving and I’m reminded of how many times, I’d called her on this day, and she was all alone.
The conversation was always the same. “Mom? Did you do anything today?”
“Oh, no. It’s really quiet in my building.”
“Mom, didn’t you even have a special meal or someone to visit?”
“No, it’s ok. I don’t like to cook a big meal, just for myself.”
I know it’s just that she doesn’t know anyone, who has made her part of their family, and she was way too far, for me to drop in. But still the sadness of her solitude, seemed to creep into my own soul.
This year, there she was. Standing in my kitchen, distracting me constantly,with her chatter. As I was flitting about, I have gotten this down to a science, she’s talking nonstop.
Now my son is up with me to help. He actually did help me this year.
My brother and my mother, refuse to go to bed, when I return home, because I sense, they are excited by my arrival and long to fill me in on all the details of my absence.
When I begin to feel irritation creeping in, I squash it. “My mom, will not be with me forever, and I never know how many dinners, I can make for her,” I think.
At times, I will ask my son for a big hug, and I will tell him, “A mother only gets so many hugs and kisses, and then it’s over. I have to get what I can, while I have the chance.” He always rolls his eyes and laughs.
Now, I did it again. I made way too much food. But I know that I will be packing a ‘care package,’ for my friend, like I always do.
I save all kinds of plastic containers, so that I can send him with enough food to last.
I tell him he needs to gain weight. And he laughs. “You will make me fat!” He tells me.
Now, I sit down, and we thank God for all He’s blessed us with. At one moment, I say, “I’m thankful that this Thanksgiving, I have my mom, with us.”
I look at her and say, “Your turn.”
She says, “I’m thankful that I am sharing this Thanksgiving with believers.”
Wow, that surprised me. My mother never seems this introspective.
We went around the table. Each person giving thanks for something.
My son, of course gave thanks for the food, first. (Always his priority)
My brother was so cute. He thanked God for ‘The Packers,’ in true Wisconsin form!
As I looked around, I remembered a conversation I had with a flight attendant the other day.
I met her when I was commuting on another airline. She asked me, “Are you a believer?” “Yes, I told her.
As we talked, she shared some of her sorrow, after a painful divorce and the loss of her stepchildren’s affection.
I told her about something which the Lord revealed to me, years ago, about my own, stepchildren.
I told her that as the Lord hung on the cross, he said, in his dying breath, “Mother, behold your son.” And to John, “John, behold your mother.”
He was revealing something very powerful in this statement, as the words of a dying man, would seem to be the most important of all.
He was pointing out that, we are not related to each other by our blood, we are related by His blood.”
It is His shed blood on the cross, and our acceptance of this sacrifice, which makes us one family. The eternal family.
She began to cry, as she said, “You have ministered to me, in ways you do not know.”
“Oh, believe me,” I told her, “You’ve ministered to me as well. It is what the Lord told us, “To encourage one another.”
We hugged and exchanged info.
But today, as I look around my table, I am most thankful, for the life, He gave, to make us one!
Happy Thanksgiving!