Zeke and Bubba Go To Daytona

i     By now, many of you have heard about the six hour and twenty-two minute rain delay at this year’s Daytona 500. Others of you might even know that Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the race. What you haven’t heard is the story about Zeke and Bubba. It’s about two brothers and their adventures related to this year’s race. So, buckle up and enjoy the ride.
     Zeke and Bubba were vacationing in Florida with their wives. Being the avid NASCAR fans that they are, they decided to go to the Daytona 500. Their wives wisely spent their race weekend shopping.
     After bidding their lovely wives adieu, the senior citizen brothers drove toward Daytona. The first order of business was reserving their parking spot for race day. They paid $50 to park in a Five Guys restaurant parking lot near the track. Then they checked out the souvenir stands at the track before going to dinner.
     They arrived at the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse woefully underdressed. Imagine them dressed in typical NASCAR race fan attire. Instead of turning them away, the hostess seated them in a “special” room in the very back of the restaurant.
     After dinner, they checked into their hotel, 30+ miles away. It was a Candlewood Suites property.
     The clerk asked, “Have you ever stayed with us before?”
     They responded, “No.”
     “Well, you have a standard room. There is no maid service for the weekend.”
     Dismayed, they replied, “Huh?”
     “Your room will not be cleaned during your stay. If you need something, like towels or toilet paper, you will have to come to the desk and ask.”
     “You’re kidding.”
     “No, sir. I’m not kidding.”
     Zeke inquired, “What about breakfast in the morning?”
     “We do not offer a continental breakfast. We do have a few vending machines around the corner. And there are several restaurants nearby.”
     Zeke and Bubba gave each other a look and shook their heads. They completed the check-in process and received their room keys.
     They located their room and flipped on the light. To their surprise, there was only one bed. It was not a king size bed. They weren’t even sure it was a queen size bed.
     Knowing every room within one hundred miles of the track was booked, they knew they were stuck. At least they were moderately close to the track.
     They decided to make the best of it and relax. Zeke commandeered the recliner. When he pulled the lever, the recliner went back, way back. Almost perfectly horizontal. That was the only position it offered. And the chair wasn’t level by any means; it leaned heavily to the right. He tried to shift his weight to level the chair, but it was like riding a surf board through a tidal wave, lying on your back. The waves were relentless. Tilting and rocking this way, then that.
     Bubba laughed at his brother’s misfortune as he sat in a swivel chair. He propped his feet up on another chair. He leaned back and within moments, he flipped over the back of the chair and crashed to the floor, hard.
     Zeke struggled to free himself from the tipsy recliner and rushed to his brother’s aid. “Are you okay?”
     Dazed, Bubba responded, “I think so.”
     Zeke helped his brother up, and they had a good laugh over it.
     They finally decided to call it a night. There was no clock in the room. So, they called the desk for a wake-up call. After getting ready for bed, they left the bathroom light on, in case nature called in the middle of the night.
     The bed was barely big enough for the two of them. Zeke joked that they could do a remake of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”

     In the early hours of the morning, Zeke had to go to the bathroom. When he tried to open the bathroom door, it was locked. All of his pushing and pulling on the handle woke up Bubba.
     Bubba asked, “What are you doing?”
     “I have to go to the bathroom, and the door’s locked.”
     “Locked?”
     “Locked.”
     “How can it be locked?”
     “I don’t know. It’s locked.”
     Bubba got up and tried the door. “It’s locked.”
     “That’s what I’ve been saying.”
     After several more minutes of pushing, pulling and sticking various objects in the doorknob hole, Bubba slid a coin into the slot and unlocked the door. There was much rejoicing. And both were relieved, literally and figuratively.

     At 6:00 A.M., the wake-up call sounded. Zeke grabbed the phone on the night stand. It was dead. The phone across the room taunted him. (I’m imaging a curse word was uttered at this point.) Bubba got up and answered the other phone.
     Around 7:30 A.M., they drove 30+ miles to the Five Guys lot and parked. Then, they walked a quarter of a mile to the Cracker Barrel for a hearty breakfast. The restaurant looked like it had been gutted. The store part of the restaurant was non-existent. Long picnic tables stretched from one end of the building to the other. People were packed in like sardines.
     The hostess asked, “How many in your party?”
     Zeke replied, “Two.”
     “Name?”
     Always the jokester, he spelled, “E-I-E-I-O.”
     He watched as the girl actually wrote, “E-I-E-I-O.”
     Zeke apologized, “I’m sorry. I was joking.”
     The girl looked at what she had written and laughed.
     Zeke smiled and gave his real name.
     Once seated, they were handed the menu. There were five, yes, count ‘em – five choices. That was it. The choices were priced at $7 and $9. The only eggs you could order were scrambled. You couldn’t order toast or waffles. But you could have all of the grits and gravy you could eat.
     Zeke and Bubba were not fans of grits and gravy. Zeke ordered a $9 breakfast—a slice of sugar cured ham, hash brown casserole, three scrambled eggs and fried apples. He even managed to sweet-talk the waitress into bringing him sourdough toast. He was the only person to get toast that morning. He said, “It was de-licious!”
     Bubba got a $7 breakfast—sausage patties, hash brown casserole and three scrambled eggs.
     After breakfast, they walked back to the Five Guys parking lot and sat at one of the outdoor picnic tables. Zeke took a nap. Bubba read a magazine.
     Many of the area restaurants were closed and sold their parking spots for $40 or $50 each. So their options for lunch were limited. They decided on Panera. The “You-Pick-Two” deal had healthy choices for soups, salads and sandwiches.
     They entered the Panera and joined the line. The bakery items beckoned to them.
     Zeke said, “I don’t know about you. But I’m not going to waste any calories on soup or salad.”
     “Me either.”
     So, they ordered danishes, scones and other tasty treats.

     Riding their sugar high, off to the track they went, and they hiked to their seats. The first part of the race was enjoyable, but hot. Initially, they were relieved when the clouds rolled in. That soon changed.
     Bubba looked at Zeke. “I felt raindrops. Do you feel raindrops?”
     “Yup. We better head for cover.”
     Sitting on aluminum seats in the middle of a thunderstorm with tornado sirens going off was not good.
     They found shelter in the entrance of the men’s bathroom. And there they stood, for the next six hours. They were not about to give up their spots for anything. And they met a lot of interesting people, coming and going. (Sorry, Zeke insisted on the pun.)
     Eventually, the rain let up, and they were hungry. They forfeited their coveted spots in search of food. Remember, vendors were prepared for an afternoon event, not an entire day-long event. Two booths ran out of beer. One ran out of cheeseburgers. Another ran out of pop and foot-long corn dogs. They finally found a vendor with food—Philly cheesesteaks. But that vendor didn’t have drinks. Parched, they searched and searched for a vendor with drinks.
BhPZLZ0IAAA_f45     While quenching their thirst, they stood under some bleachers. It was raining, and they had no rain gear. Zeke came up with an idea. He approached a track worker. “Can you help a race fan out? It’s pouring, and I could really use one of those garbage bags.”
     The worker handed over a black garbage bag. Zeke poked a hole in the bottom for his head and poked out two arm holes. He and his NASCAR shirt would now stay dry. He ran back and told Bubba to get himself one.
     Bubba ended up paying a dollar for his rain gear. He was too embarrassed to beg for a bag. He only poked a hole big enough for his head.
     At this point, Zeke realized his Dale Earnhardt commemorative hat could get ruined by the rain. So he walked over to a souvenir stand.
     As he approached, the lady commented, “Nice poncho.”
     Zeke pressed his hands together in prayer and with a weird accent pleaded with the lady, “I have come to beg for a helmet.”
     It took her a second to figure it out. She laughed heartily and handed him one of her plastic bags. She mimicked his weird accent, “Here is your helmet.”
     “Thank you!”
     No one has ever accused him of not being resourceful. Zeke gleefully pulled the bag down over his head. Kids, don’t try this at home! It was clear, so he could see through it. But after a few minutes (and almost suffocating,) he poked holes only big enough for his eyes and nose, and proudly donned his helmet.
     Then the brothers headed back to the men’s room to get some paper towels to dry their seats. Not wanting to be seen carrying the paper towels, they stuffed them into the front of their pants. So, now picture them wearing their garbage bags with protruding bellies, and Zeke wearing his helmet.
     Toward the end of the race, they worried about getting clean towels and toilet paper for their hotel room. They realized they weren’t going to get back until after midnight. They didn’t think anyone would be at the desk. And they only had a partial roll of toilet paper left. And they had thrown all of their towels on the bathroom floor. Quite a conundrum.
     During their last visit to the men’s room, Zeke encouraged Bubba to grab some toilet paper. “What if there’s nobody at the desk when we get back? We don’t have enough toilet paper. We have to have toilet paper.”
     Bubba agreed. When they got back to the car, Bubba pulled out an industrial roll of toilet paper from under his garbage bag poncho. (You know the enormous rolls that weigh a few pounds each.)
     Zeke and Bubba laughed like school boys.

     At 12:30 A.M., they arrived at the hotel. And to their surprise, there was a lady at the desk. She eyed the enormous roll of toilet paper Bubba was carrying.
     Zeke quipped, “Don’t worry. It’s for our adding machine.”
     Bubba and Zeke laughed all the way to their room.
     Zeke gathered all of the dirty, wet towels and carried them to the desk. “We need towels.”
     The lady pointed. “I’ll meet you around back.”
     Zeke replied, mischievously, “Oh, I’d love to meet you around back.”
     The woman shook her head.
     He met her in the laundry room to get fresh towels, as Bubba yelled, “Don’t forget to get a roll of toilet paper!”
     Apparently, the gigantic roll was a bit unwieldy to manage.

     When they checked out the next morning, Bubba decided to leave the toilet paper behind, which probably bewildered the housekeeping staff. Then the men drove back to the other side of Florida to rejoin their wives.
     After the men relayed the tale of their weekend adventure, Bubba’s wife said, “Oh, you poor guys. You had so many troubles.”
     Zeke’s wife just smiled.
     The brothers exclaimed, “What are you talking about? We had a wonderful time!”
     And they meant it.

Copyright © 2014 by Suzanne Purewal

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Searching For Mrs. Robinson

the graduate    Welcome to the third installment of “Mis-Matched to Miss Matched.” If you missed the first two installments, this series is about my adventures on the Match.com dating website. The subjects for this post were younger than most. I debated whether I should entitle this article, “Searching for Mrs. Robinson” or “Hot for Teacher.” Initially, I wanted to call this “Hot for Teacher.” But the more I wrote, the more I liked “Searching for Mrs. Robinson.”

     You could tell Bachelor #11 was trouble by his profile picture—an all-American boy with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. You know the kind—trouble with a capital “T.”  I refer to him as a “boy” because he was a 24-year-old college student, and technically, I am old enough to be his mother.
     “Came across your photo. Couldn’t resist. Please give me your number.”
     “Sorry, but I think you should look for someone more age appropriate.”
     “I don’t mind. Give me your number.”
     “Well, I do mind. You should find someone your own age.”
     “No, you’re what I’m looking for. You’d make a good teacher, I bet.”
     “I’m not interested in teaching you anything, except for, possibly, manners.”
     “That sounds kinky. Give me your number.”
     Sheesh. “I wasn’t trying to be coy. I’m not interested. Good luck finding a match.”
     “What’s coy?”
     “Find a dictionary and look it up.”
     “Are you a librarian? Do you wear those tight skirts and your hair up? I’d like that.”
     I’m sure you would. “I’m not interested. Good luck finding a match.”

     Next up was Bachelor #12, a 35-year-old consultant.
     “How are you? I am hesitant to reach out to you. Mainly because I am putting myself in a position to be ridiculed and/or rejected. But, my hope is that you will respect my candor and honesty, as opposed to being offended.”
     “Well, you haven’t offended me yet. And I appreciate candor and honesty. So, go ahead.”
     “I really haven’t been very active in the dating scene and/or on this site. So, I found myself wondering ‘why am I on this site?’ the other day. I truly couldn’t answer that question, lol. However, I think I’ve realized that I want something new, exciting, and…not boring. I want to meet a woman at least 5 years outside of my age bracket, who is interested in a professional, vibrant, intellectual, witty, younger man.”
     “You have piqued my interest. I don’t mind dating a younger man. So, that’s not an issue. And I definitely agree that a relationship should be exciting, not boring.”
     “Now, here’s the catch. I’m not wanting a serious relationship. Not dead-set against it, but just not prioritizing it. I am very focused on my career and have goals to accomplish (just as you do, I’m sure). In all honesty, I’d love to meet a woman who craves and desires a younger man…even if she’s never been with one. I have a feeling that ‘older’ women appreciate a younger man’s intimacy, so long as he is energetic, passionate, and unselfish….oh, and privy to what will make her feel ‘euphoric’. Actually, that last one should probably be a pre-req for both sides, lol.”
     Euphoric? Well, who wouldn’t want to feel euphoric? And when was the last time any man wanted to make me happy, let alone euphoric?
     I reread his reply again, just to make sure I understood him clearly. But, then I got distracted by the whole “energetic, passionate, unselfish” bit. If any woman deserved a man who was energetic, passionate and unselfish, it was me. Visions of satin sheets, rose petals and candles flooded my mind. Then, I read it again for good measure.
     I have to admit that was the best soliloquy I’ve read that boils down to, “I just want to have sex. And I promise you’ll enjoy it.”
     And while I attempted to entertain the idea of this euphoric opportunity for a split second, my mother’s voice was screaming in my head, loud and clear. “Are you crazy? Have you completely lost your mind?!?”
     Fear not, Mom. I want to be in a serious relationship, not be some young stud’s booty call. And in all honesty my friends, I did not want to endure the inevitable, extremely awkward lecture from my mother. So, you’re asking, “Why on earth would you tell your mother?”
     I wouldn’t have to tell anybody. If Mr. Booty Call lived up to expectations, I am guessing everyone who saw me or spoke to me would notice my new, improved blissful state of being. You know that state—you are floating on air, the sun is always shining and everything is happiness, butterflies and rainbows. Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be exactly like that. Although it might be worth it to test my theory! (Just kidding, Mom.)
     Anyway…I wrote back to Mr. Booty Call. “I am flattered. But I am not interested in that type of relationship. However, I must compliment you on how eloquently you expressed the bottom line. I’m sure there is a woman out there who will be happy to oblige.”
     “I sincerely apologize if I’ve offended you.”
     “You didn’t offend me. Dating sites aren’t for the faint of heart. I wish you luck finding a match.”
     “Thank you. I wish you all the best on this site and in your other dating endeavors.”

     Unlucky Bachelor #13 was a self-proclaimed virgin at the age of 30. He was a computer specialist. I know, cliché. But it gets even worse, so keep reading.
     “I would be honored if you would be my Padmé Amidala to my Anakin Skywalker.”
     Heavy sigh. “Sorry, but Anakin becomes Darth Vader. And I don’t feel like fighting any wars against the dark side. I wish you the best and may The Force be with you.”
     “You could be Princess Leia. I could be Han Solo.”
     He did not have a picture posted. So, unfortunately, at this point, I’m imagining he’s probably more like Jabba the Hutt. And I have a strong aversion to chains. And I would not be caught dead with a pair of Cinnabons covering my ears. “I’m sorry, no. I wish you luck in finding a match.”
     “I’ll be anyone you want me to be. Just name it. I have an awesome costume collection.”
     Oh yikes. I’m sure you do. I pity this kid. “I am not interested. However, in the future, when contacting other women, I suggest that you be yourself. Save the characters for later.”
     “OK. Thanks.”
     Call me old-fashioned, but I think you should know the guy’s name and perhaps meet him in person before delving into role playing fantasies and discovering whatever else he is hiding in his closet. This poor guy is going to need the full power of The Force behind him to find a woman.

     Oh ladies! I wish I could post Bachelor #14’s picture. He was a very handsome man. In his profile picture, he was impeccably dressed in a classic black tuxedo. That 28 year-old could have had a spread in GQ, or any other magazine his heart desired. He was absolutely, positively gorgeous and quite the catch for someone. An MBA wasn’t enough for him. He’s currently pursuing a law degree.
     “I would love the opportunity to speak with you.”
     Why couldn’t you be ten years older? “Thank you. But I think I’m too old for you.”
     “Please don’t dismiss me yet. I am looking for a mature woman. I’m not interested in needy, clingy girls. I’m looking for a woman who I can have stimulating…”
     Oh geez. Here we go.
     
“Conversations. I’m looking for a woman who I can have stimulating conversations with. Sorry. My finger slipped and it sent before I was finished.”
     Good recovery.
     
“I like intelligent conversations on a variety of subjects. I’m looking for a sophisticated woman who can hold her own and would make a good impression at black tie events, law firm events, symposiums, etc. You seem to have a wide range of interests, you’re educated and you’re very attractive. I need someone like you by my side.”
     Searching for smart arm candy, are you? Now that’s something that would be great on a resumé — Intelligent Arm Candy, well-versed in a variety of topics.
     
“Thank you. But this sounds more like a job than a romantic relationship. I am not the right woman for you.”
     “I’d like to object. I believe you are.”
     Seriously? You objected? “Sorry, you’re overruled. We are at different stages in our lives. Trust me; I know what I’m talking about. This is not open to debate. I wish you well.”
     “Thank you for your time. Best of luck to you.”

     At this point, I’ll take luck or The Force. Whichever works more quickly…

     Stay tuned for the next chapter in my ongoing saga, “Bait and Switch.”

 

Copyright © 2014 by Suzanne Purewal

 

 

Featuring Author Debi Hurt

debi cook book     Today’s Pursuing My Passion spotlight shines brightly on author, Debi Hurt. In addition to creating Pen It! Magazine, she has published five books, including a children’s book and a cookbook. Debi is a wonderful resource for fellow authors, teaching classes, conducting workshops and hosting conferences. She has several exciting projects in the works!

When did you start writing?
     I think I have written since I could write!  My grandmother used to read me stories when I was very small, and eventually I started telling her the story back without even knowing how to read….and I would embellish! LOL.

What is your favorite type genre to write?
    I like to write poetry and children’s books. I like fiction, but I think it is probably the hardest for me to write. Probably because I mainly read non-fiction.

Where does your inspiration come from?
debi3   
I like to sit somewhere where there are lots of people, have a pencil and paper and just listen to conversations. You can get some great inspiration that way. Also, I love the books “The Pocket Muse.” There are two of them and they are awesome!

You organize many workshops and classes. When and why did you decide to help others with their writing?
    
I don’t think I “decided” to help others. It just transpired that way. I have always been a “nurturer” my mom calls it, and I love to help others. Writing is a passion and when I see someone else with that passion, it is my natural inclination to help them. I’m a real “people person.”

You publish PenIt! Magazine and Heritage Magazine. Tell me a bit about them.
    Pen It! Magazine is a bi-month E-Magazine for Writers (and readers alike). It started out as a published magazine, but has since gone to an E-Zine because of the huge expense involved in printing and mailing of magazines. Pen It! Magazine has a wealth of information for writers:  Articles on writing, poetry, short stories, information on local authors’ books, author of the month, and much more. This is our 4th year and I am very proud of it. Since it is now an E-Zine the subscription rate has been significantly decreased from $40.00 a year to $15.00 per year. debi pen it

     The Heritage Magazines are published individually for people who have researched their heritage and want to put it in a magazine-style publication, so that they can share it with relatives. I have done several of these and they are a great keepsake.

What has been your favorite project to work on?
  
I love working on the Workshops/Conferences that I promote. They are fun and I get to meet so many new/upcoming authors and make some lasting friendships. The one I sponsored at The Crump Theatre was really great. It was October, 2012, and we had a great turn-out.

Who are your favorite authors/books?
   
For someone who reads mostly non-fiction, my favorite author is a fiction author:  Jonathan Kellerman. He writes the “Alex Delaware” novels. They are about a psychologist/sleuth! I like them because they are continuing characters. I have been reading his books since the 80s. I am also a big Shakespeare fan! I saw a play when I was 14 (The Taming of the Shrew) through school and I was hooked!

Tell me about the books you’ve written.
 debi donnie dachshund  
The Daring Adventures of Donnie the Dachshund is my children’s book. It is about a little dachshund who thinks he is the “Big Dog on the porch” until his owner brings home a little puppy. I hope to write at least two more books in the series.

     The Quest for Shireman is my young adult to adult novel. It is about a young girl (14), Olivia Shireman. Her father passed away a year ago and on the anniversary of his death, she takes a horrible fall from her horse. She wakes up in another land where she finds that her father may be there, searching for something he lost. She makes wonderful friends and begins her quest to find her father.debi shireman

     Recipes from a Country Cook is my cookbook. They are all my own recipes and are just down-home cookin’ style!

     Ride the Spirit Horse is a collection of my poetry and short stories.

     Writing Creatively is my most recent book. It is a “how to” book on Creative Writing taken from the classes that I teach. I teach creative writing via one-on-one Email classes and have taught at the Mill Race Center in Columbus, Indiana.

What can we expect next from you?
     March 15th I will be doing a Conference on Publishing your book as an E-Book at the Bartholomew County Library in Columbus…and I hope to hold an Authors/Vendors Spring event.

     My sixth book, The White Sofa, will be out some time this year. It is a suspense novel about a young artist who has a nervous breakdown and the psychologist who works to bring her back to sanity.

To find out more about Debi Hurt, the latest Pen It! Magazine contest, and her upcoming events, contact her at: Debih7606@frontier.com.

Copyright © 2014 by Suzanne Purewal

World Cancer Day

CourageToday is World Cancer Day. And I am pleased to announce that I am 12 ½ years cancer free. When people asked me today how many years I have been cancer free, I’ve been rounding up to 13 years. That is what I posted on my Facebook Page. But for this blog post, I decided not to round. Perhaps because I need to express “the half.”

When we were children, we always gave our ages in halves. Back then, those milestones were important. As adults, we round. Sometimes we round up, other times, as with our ages, we round down. Of course some adults pretend to forget their ages, and others refuse to acknowledge them entirely. However, I just realized at this very moment, “the half” is important again.

It’s funny how something as basic as time becomes so critical, especially when one does not have much of it left. Or the perception of living on borrowed time comes into play.

I am one of the lucky ones. My cancer was caught early. The tumor was removed, albeit in multiple surgeries, but nevertheless, it was cut out of me. The radiation treatment afterward was otherworldly. In my opinion, the treatment and subsequent side effects were worse than the cancer. But I, like so many others, persevered. I moved forward, slowly but surely.

The scar left much deeper wounds than I anticipated. Due to the multiple surgeries, the incision did not heal properly. Even scar revision surgery did not work. For quite some time, all I saw when I looked into the mirror was that scar. I felt ugly and broken, exhausted mentally and physically.

People made unbelievable comments about my scar. “Frankenstein” came up frequently. One of the commonly used phrases was, “Well, it’s not that bad.” Never once did I ask anyone how bad my scar looked. So, the unsolicited comments made the situation worse. My brother thought their comments were as ridiculous as I did. He decided to mock them. He would joke, “Oh, it’s such a pretty scar!”

I have to say he made me laugh every time he said it. Thank you, Timmy.

Humor is how my family deals with adversity. And it helps. Tremendously. And it keeps everyone in the hospital wondering what we’re up to in our hospital room. And when the nurses and the rest of the staff started laughing, it would carry into other patients’ rooms. Laughter is contagious. And it is good for the soul. And that’s not just a line I’m trying to feed you. It works, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through those dark days without my loved ones and the laughter and mayhem they created. I can not thank my family and friends enough for their love and support, and the seemingly endless stream of “Get Well” chocolate.

Today, I am praying for each and every one of you who has been touched by cancer. I hope that you feel the love, peace, happiness and understanding that I am sending your way. All I ask in return is that you celebrate a part of each day with a little laughter, whether it is for a half an hour or a half a day. Because halves do count.

Copyright © 2014 by Suzanne Purewal