From day one of our relationship, Arch said that at some point in time he wanted to do research on the flora and fauna in the southern states of the Appalachian Mountains. I encouraged him with all my heart and soul. I was his wife and his dreams were mine. I figured when he was ready to do his research he would set up his computer at our kitchen table and surf the net to his heart’s content. After our girls were snug in bed, I would spend my evening doing laundry, watching television or reading a book.
I never dreamed he meant to travel to various state parks and hiking trails in South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia and actually pick the flora and look deeply into the eyes of the fauna. He even mentioned collecting and identifying samples of what they left behind as the fauna grazed on the flora. Yikees!
At first I wasn’t sure about all that, but once we were loaded into the motorhome and traveling north out of our beloved Georgia, I thought it might be an opportunity to make memories Petey and LoJ would always remember. Leaning back in the passenger’s seat and closing my eyes, I sank into the warm glow of serenity and expectation of what laid ahead.
In a particularly quiet dream state, I opened my eyes slightly, but when I saw two familiar old women hitchhiking on the side of the road I squeezed my eyes closed again. Any thought that I might be dreaming disappeared when Arch slammed on the breaks nearly sending me against the dashboard.
By the time I’d righted myself, he had pulled over and parked the RV.
“No, please, no,” I begged with the same passion I had when my brother, Bobby ran to tell Pop that I’d found and finished off his bottle of vodka hidden in the storage yard. My brother hadn’t heeded my pleading and neither did Arch.
The sudden stop had startled LoJ, and she wailed at the top of her lungs. I gave her a cursory hug and kiss, then turned to Petey. “Stay here. Please look after your sister. We’ll be right back.”
I bailed out the door, but I was too late. Arch was already lugging two huge suitcases back to the motorhome. As he almost ran past me, he offered a weak, apologetic smile. Millie and Mavis waved and giggled like kids headed for Disney World.
“What are you two doing out here? You are two hours away from Sweet Meadow. How did you get here?” I knew I was screeching, but I didn’t care.
“Millie and I got to thinking about it, and we think this may be our last chance to have an extended vacation. So, we had our lovers bring us out here.”
As I always did when they referred to old Coach Henderson and the elderly homeless man who had become the love interests in Millie’s and Mavis’ lives, I experienced a major chill that shutter long and hard through my entire body.
Millie stepped slightly in front of Mavis. “In case you haven’t noticed, Mavis is getting a little long in the tooth. She could drop tomorrow. You don’t want to deprive her of her final wish, do you?”
Mavis shoved her slender body between Millie and me. “If she keeps talking like that she’s going to die before this ship sails.” Mavis pointed at the motorhome. “Anchors away.” She trotted to the RV.
Millie hooked her arm through mine. “Come on, Bertie, this is going to be fun.”
Since I am in shock and pretty much speechless, stay tuned. I’ll be sure to tell you where I hide the bodies.