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Crow’s-Feet Chronicles: When the tough get going...
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Aug 17, 2014
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My dad didn’t always measure distance in miles.  As he grew older, he measured distance in OTHER ways.  At age 60, he’d comment, “Dallas is about one bladder from home.”  The highway between Dallas and home must have lengthened because it’s a two-bladder trip these days.  Similarly, I can think of a one-coffee-mug trek that I take every Sunday.  I guess the cup of joe drive is relative to Daddy’s measurement.  During my dad’s short trips from the house to the town square, with an intermediate stop to fill the car with gas, he’d quote Winston Churchill when he returned “the key” to the attendant:  “Never pass up the opportunity, no matter how slight the urge.” 

As I see it, Daddy’s calculation system is in a perpetual change.  I’m certain that Route 66 would grow in length if I drank a Route 66 Root Beer in Amarillo, Texas; a Jolly Rancher Grape Soda at the Soda Ranch in Arcadia, Oklahoma; a Bumper Boat Blueberry Banana Smoothie at the Route 66 Twin Drive-In in Springfield, Illinois; and a Lucky 66 Lime Soda at Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, Arizona.   Nah, I’d better not try it.  I’d get a speeding ticket for sure. 

Back in 2005 President Bush wrote a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a UN General Assembly meeting:  “I think I may need a bathroom break.  Is this possible?”   Surely Condoleezza gave our President the green light, to ensure that rational decisions would be made for our country.  After all, when “it” taps us on the shoulder, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else.   

At a rest stop during a family vacation potty break, my then 11-year-old daughter got back in the car, folded her arms, and announced, “I’m not using that bathroom.  It’s gross!  I just won’t think about it.” 

Her older brother whimsically warned, “You’d better watch out or you’ll forget about it all together.” 

When I spent the night at my grandmother’s house as a kid, I slept in the front bedroom.  It was the coldest room in her house and was thereby designated as the chill chamber where her Jell-O would set.  Mother Nature had a way of taunting us on an extra-cold night.  Just when I was nice and warm, the call would come.  I’d try to throw her off track by concentrating on deserts, droughts, sand dunes or petrified forests---all to no avail.  I would eventually make my sister get up and go with me to the bathroom.  (The darkness didn’t scare me nearly as much as the phosphorescent glow of my grandmother’s teeth in a glass in the kitchen.) 

Later on, I’m sure my listening pleasure was altered when I confused Creedence Clearwater’s lyrics, “There’s a bad moon on the rise” with “There’s a bathroom on the right.”