Bonesy's Blahg

Show Me

So, here we are more than a month after my last post.  Again.  I’m hoping this isn’t a trend. It’s not like I had a tornado ravage my home, leaving me unable to post.  Nope, I have no excuses or reasons.  I just wasn’t writing.  And, apparently, that actually matters to some people!  WHO KNEW?!!?

Thanks, Mecca, for the nudge.  Looks like I needed it.

So, speaking of tornadoes, I’m starting to wonder if Fate took the term “Show-Me State” as a challenge.

Seriously… Missouri?!  Why pick on Missouri?  I’ve been through that state & I’m here to tell ya, there is not much there.

(So wrong…but as I wrote that, my first thought was “Even less now.”  *sigh*  I don’t mean to be mean, it’s just how my brain works!)

So, there’s not much in Missouri… other than the Nicest People On The Planet.  Yes, that’s an official title.  On two separate occasions, I have been at my most ridiculously low point…and both times I was found & bailed out by Missourians.  Okay, not officially “bailed out.”  That just sounds bad.

Let me explain.

Many years ago, when my husband got out of the military, we decided to head home to the Midwest.  (In retrospect, WTF were we thinking?! We lived in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA at the time!)  We had a toddler, a newborn, & an Australian Shepherd puppy, so we bought an RV from an old surfer dude to make the trip.  A friend tagged along, driving the UHaul that held all of our belongings.

(BTW, somewhere in Southern California is an aging surfer still waiting for his last $100.  I hope he’s not sitting by the mailbox.)

About a day & a half into the trip, the baby got sick.  There I was trapped in a rickety old RV with an attention-starved toddler, a crying baby, a hyperactive puppy, and a husband trying to keep his shit together and his gypsy train on the road.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing they were all cute.  There may have been a moment or three when I looked at them all with a narrowed eye, considering which was least good looking…and would fit easiest through the drafty crank windows.

Well, apparently my raging stress levels were creating an energy storm felt in surrounding vehicles.  (Either that, or the screams coming from our surfer wagon made it more of a rolling house of horrors.)

At the next gas stop, Jimmy (the friend) suspiciously offered to take Saxon (my puppy, not my toddler or my baby) in the truck with him.

Two hours later, the RV filled with smoke.  The problem is, the front windows were open…and the fire was in an engine compartment right behind the passenger seat.  So the fresh air was fanning the flames & blowing the smoke into the back of the rig.  Since my back was turned & I can’t smell, it took a while to notice.  By the time we pulled over, there was significant damage to the engine & smoke billowing out the windows.  Jimmy pulled over 50 yards or so ahead of us & ran back to help.

That’s when Saxon jumped out the window, into traffic on a busy highway.

The first time he was hit, it was a glancing blow that knocked him down and a few feet to the side.

He got up, limping but determined to make it back to us.

The second hit threw him into the air, and he landed with a thud in the next lane.

He got up again, and tried hobbling toward us, one leg dangling and his head down.

He was hit a third time before Jimmy ran into traffic and scooped Saxon up.  He died on the side of the road, just inside the Missouri border.

They managed to jerry-rig the engine compartment together, which worked long enough to get us into Rolla, MO.  There, we found a run-down motel with two vacancies, just as a monsoon rain opened up on us.  Did I mention this was in October?  So, it was cold.  And our motel room had no heat.

The baby got sick, the RV caught on fire, the dog died, the toddler watched it, and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere, in monsoon rains, in mid-fall, with no heat.

Yeah, that’s just about rock bottom right there.

In the morning, we walked to a diner next to the motel.  It was a Sunday, and most everything was closed.  After hearing us tell our story to the waitress, someone offered to take my husband to a parts store that he knew was open.  Another stranger hooked him up with a garage willing to open up and lend him the tools needed to fix the RV.  Someone else bought our breakfast.  When we were still there at lunch, the diner covered that cost.

We left Rolla that evening with a newfound appreciation for small-town life and Missourians, in particular.

And then… just a few years ago, Missouri came through for me again.

I took the kids to Tennessee with my sister’s family.  We spent a week there, doing the typical family vacation stuff.  On the final day, we split up.  Kim headed home with her family while I took my kids up Clingman’s Dome.  The goal was to make it to the highest point in the Smokies before heading home ourselves.  We made our way slowly up the mountain, sporadically getting out to hike or check out the view.

Just before we got to the top, the truck started to overheat.

And slow down.

I haven’t been up many mountains.  But I assume most mountains are like Clingman’s Dome… lots of sheer drops and rock walls, but not so many pull-offs.

Just before my truck rolled to a complete stop, a pull-off appeared around the bend.  I got out & put the hood up (not that I’d know what to do once I was under there).  That’s when I noticed the heavy stream of reddish-brown fluid running under the truck and down the mountain.  I had blown the transmission seal (or something).  The point was… there was NO way I was going to make it the rest of the way up that mountain.  I had the kids get out and move away from the truck while I tried to put it in gear, hoping to turn it around and coast back down.  Only when I put it in drive, it rolled backward, just inches from the edge of a several hundred-foot drop.

At this point, we still thought this was funny.

That’s when I had my meltdown.  The kids got back in the truck, as I went behind it to lose my shit & make some frantic calls for help.

By now, we had been stuck for nearly an hour, watching cars from every state (including my own) drive past my steaming vehicle.  I got some stares, a few dirty looks… but not one of those drivers would pull over to help a mom & 4 kids.  (Okay, other than a guy from Florida, who took Kid1 to the ranger station at the top of the dome to call for a tow truck.)

Not surprisingly, the first car with a Missouri plate DID pull over.  The couple offered to take us down the mountain, but I had to stay and wait for the tow.  Instead, since I knew we wouldn’t all fit into the tow truck, they took my sons down the mountain and into Gatlinburg.  They dropped them off in town, where they met up with my sister (who had been 2 hours away, but had turned around to help me figure out what the hell to do next).  They handed us a few bottles of water, and what was left of their box of granola bars to hold us over.  I was also given a sheet of notebook paper with their names, vehicle make & model, license plate number, and places of employment.  The wife explained that they had kids, too, so she would feel better knowing that I was comfortable with the people I was turning my sons over to.


Five freezing hours later (BIG temperature difference at the top of that mountain!), the tow truck arrived.  We squeezed into the cab of the truck, Kid2 awkwardly in the middle (where the driver had to reach between her knees to shift gears), and Kid4 on my lap.   45 minutes later, he dropped us off at his “station,” a small garage in a nearby town, and we slowly made our way back into Gatlinburg via a long and convoluted series of trolley rides.

By the time we met back up with my sons (and sister’s family), we were exhausted and drenched from the rain that had opened up as soon as we stepped off the first trolley.  We checked into the last open room in town, a dive motel with two beds.

There were 10 of us.

We abandoned my SUV, heading home the next day in a rental.

And the Missourians who helped us get off that mountain?  I got a call from them a few days later.  They wanted to see if we made it home okay, or if we might need a ride.  No mention of how MY state was in the exact opposite direction of Missouri.

I don’t know that any of the MO peeps that have come through for me have been directly affected by the recent tornadoes and flooding.  All I know is that if the tables were turned & I needed help, MO peeps would be there.

So, I’m asking MY peeps to be there for them.

Please click .  There you’ll find a listing of the various ways to help the Joplin, MO recovery.

They’d do it for you.


June 7, 2011 - Posted by | Family, Friends, Kids, People, Travel


  1. GENIUS!!! YES I just called you a GENIUS!! Very touching, very awesome story & what a wonderful way to get the people who help some help!!! GREAT job my friend!!!

    Comment by Kel | June 7, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks, Mom… I mean KEL!

      Actually, I think we all know by now that my real mom would never call me a genius.

      Comment by bonesysblahg | June 9, 2011 | Reply

  2. Mother, you are a liar. I was sitting on your lap and I was the one left with huge bruises on my shins from the dashboard. Why in the world did we think it would be a better idea for the bigger of the two of us to sit there?!

    Comment by butsinceyourestoned | June 8, 2011 | Reply

    • GASP! Such strong words from a little girl who wants me to bring her home from college….

      Okay, so I got a little mixed up on the details of which daughter’s bony ass was digging into my thighs that afternoon!

      I apologize.

      Comment by bonesysblahg | June 9, 2011 | Reply

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