Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gettin' Our Kicks

I hit the road this afternoon, with Brian's friend Beth riding shotgun, to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Yes. I get to see my son tomorrow. The 5 hour drive went quickly. We're staying in Rolla, Missouri, and we became giddier the closer we came to our destination. We sang, "Rolla Rolla, we get to see Brian Jolla."

This is the route we took, which put yet another tune in my head for the entire trip:

It stormed for the first 3 hours of the trip, the worst rain I've ever driven in. The car was hydroplaning all over the place, but I didn't dare pull over: we were also in the middle of fierce lightning. I usually find lightning beautiful, but it was low and close this afternoon, and bouncing all around us. I kept driving to get out of it.

We checked into our hotel, then rolled into Fort Leonard Wood around 8 p.m. We had to check in with registration, proof of insurance, and IDs. My car was inspected; we had to open all the doors, the trunk, and the hood. We were asked, then, to stand back, while security ran mirrors under the car. We were given a stamp of approval, and permission to roam the base, get our bearings for tomorrow.

Oh, and we stopped to take these photos.

And we got stopped by a cop for it. Apparently it's a no-no to take a photo of this sign. We apologized. And I took his photo as he drove away. Shhhhh.

After we got our bearings on base, we headed back to Rolla, to find some dinner. Or vittles, as they say in these parts. Here were a few of our choices:

I couldn't remember the name on this sign, and so we dubbed it Jim and Carrot's Tater Patch. I still think our name's better.

We saw billboards for "Cookin' from Scratch" along the highway, and decided to check it out. We arrived just as it was closing, but we were still thrilled for this photo op. As we left, someone kindly informed us that the leftovers from the "Cookin from Scratch" restaurant could be purchased at the gas station next door.

We tried another restaurant called The Feed Lot. We were seated, noticed that a hamburger steak ran about $13.00. I don't even know what the heck a hamburger steak is; the photo looked like a hamburger on a plate. We quickly determined that $30 hamburger-sans-bun meals were not our cup of tea, and snuck out, mumbling tales of leaving our money in the room. We ended up at Shoney's. Not high falutin, but a decent salad bar and salmon fillet for $7.

For the last photo of the day, I present to you the marquee on the front of our hotel.

I've never been much of a sports fan, but I might just try out for this one.

I'm so excited to see my son tomorrow. And I have to admit, rattly. Brian left home on March 29, and his life, his home, his environment have all been in my imagination. My impressions have been based on what he tells me, what I've seen on TV, and a few random google images (turning up that illegal sign).

Beth, on our way out of the base, said, "we got quiet."

Yes we did. Driving around the base today made it all so real. I'm ON AN ARMY BASE! My car is being inspected by PEOPLE WITH GUNS. There are trucks and tanks, and THIS is my son's life! Maybe I don't know him anymore!

There are signs by the side of the road that say "Speed Limit 10 mph when troops are present." He's gone and done something without me, something that will never be mine. He has worked his ass off, and beat his drill sargeants in target shooting. He has done hundreds of push-ups, and 15K walks, and lived in the woods for days.

All by himself.

And I am so proud that I can barely breath.


  1. You were the one who gave him wings, but sometimes it's tough to watch them fly away.

    oh... and you passed up a chance to buy some leftovers for dinner? What were you thinking?

  2. Let me be the first to say - I need to video that new song for posterity...

    I'm so glad you two are having a blast. And really, really excited that you get to see Brian.

    You took my breath away with your "proudness".

  3. Licking Basketball??? That one will keep me thinking! Have a fanastic visit!

  4. Nice pics .. Thats is crazy .. Convey my regards ..


  5. "The Feed Lot"?


  6. I can feel your pride. And it's contagious!

    The restaurant names are a riot. And I love the photos. I know tomorrow is going to be awesome. I'm so excited for you! Oh yeah, and for Brian too.

  7. Dick: It is bittersweet. And, after eating at Shoney's, it was clear I should have gone for the leftovers.

    Momo: Rolla, Rolla...I actually made Brian crack up when I sang it to him today.

    Jodie: Turns out it's 7 billion girls staying in my hotel...but they're amazingly well-behaved.

    Ilaiy: I will give Brian your best. He'll talk to you soon.

    Tai: The Feed Lot, yeah. Beth dubbed it "The Feed Bag."

    Wendy: Today was wonderful (see next blog) and I can hardly wait to bring that kid home tomorrow!


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