Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I've made up a poem about Alabama.
Nice warm days has September
April, May, and November.
All the rest are quite warm too,
except for January, which is sometimes blustery.

Not so in lovely, frozen Gillette, WY. In fact, the forecast is calling for snow tonight. SNOW. In SEPTEMBER.
I think that the following accurately sums up our feelings toward the weather.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6mbrycXMd4&feature=related

Gillette's view almost makes up for its weather. The view goes on so long that one can see the earth curving away under the sky. There are no illusions about a flat world here. The people are not as friendly as those in Nebraska. We did meet a very nice man in Newcastle, Wyoming, but he was from Wisconsin. (He also had a very cool collection of old firetrucks. There was one from 1949 that his father had sold brand new, and another from 1959 that he had sold brand new. Years later, his son bought them, and they drove them to Newcastle. Unfortunately, I somehow came away without the name of the shop, or a picture of the firetrucks.) I have a theory about the Wyomingites lack of friendliness. They just don't have enough oxygen. The air here is too thin. There is a big difference between 338 ft. and 4500 ft. 338 is better. A person can really breathe there.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ten things we've learned here on the Road.

#1. It is wise to stand back a little when opening cabinets after bumpy drives.

#2. The best way to get the Commodore to replace a thing is to allow her to experience the malfunction. This is not because the Commodore is mean or stingy, but she does remember better if she sees the product failure. It is more likely to be fresh on her mind. For instance, if the water hose that I said needed to be replaced flies off the black tank cleaning wand's handle and soaks the Commodore and the bathroom, (Don't worry, it's just hose water, perfectly clean.) I can count on the hose being replaced.

#3.When cleaning the black tank, have someone outside and ready to shut off the water. And prepare for the possibility of getting wet.

#4. Get the Admiral, not the Captain, to check the tire pressure.

#5. Get the Captain, not the Admiral, to put the little cap things back on the tires.

#6. Walking through a small Nebraskan town with a pretty Border Collie creates a reaction among the local ranchers that is similar to walking through a college town with a pretty blond. The difference is that no one honks. That might scare the dog.

#7. When grocery shopping for seven people with no vehicular transportation, carry a cloth bag to put the groceries in. Plastic grocery bags split, (sometimes depositing a jar spaghetti sauce on the roadside, where no one but the grasshoppers can enjoy it) and split grocery bags are no fun at all. Paper bags are either hard to carry or the handles fall off.

#8. Supercilious does not mean something that is very funny. (This was something that the younger crew members learned.)

#9. When in Nebraska, do as the Nebraskans do and eat ice cream. However, when one walks to the store in the cold and drizzling rain to get the ice cream, one should remove one's hat and gloves during purchase. Otherwise, one should be prepared for the ridicule of the cashier.
Also, the best place to get ice cream is Cody Park in North Platte, NE.

#10. The underpasses and bridges over the interstates are high enough, and everyone knows it. Just for fun though, we like to discuss these hazards. The conversations sound like this.
Commodore: 13'11? Can we get under that?
Captain: Yes. We can. We're 12'6. Besides, we went under 13'6 yesterday.
Commodore: That's right. I just like 14'2 so much better.
Pause.
Commodore: What about the air conditioners?
Captain: That Tractor Trailer Truck just went under. He's taller than us.
Commodore: Oh. Right. Okay.
The underpass is safely navigated, but both the Commodore and the Captain duck.
Commodore: You ducked.
Captain: You ducked.
Commodore: Reflex.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Promotions, Crab Claws and Travels.

Before we left AL, the Boy began a fierce and cheerful campaign to be promoted to Able Seaman. His efforts involved learning to swim under water, doing all things without murmuring or complaining, and hardest of all for our Boy, laughing at himself. His smiles, and "I will gladly do that for you!s" have paid off. The Boy is a Boy no more. He is officially A.B. 2.

The A.B.2 takes a moment to reflect on his years as the Boy.

Then he is overcome by the joy of it.

It has often been noted amongst the crew that we are fed much better when we are "roughing it" out on the road. The Admiral has superior tastes, and when we are traveling with him, we attempt to satiate his delicate appetite. Naturally, most of the crew does not object to this. Sadly, there are times when my tastes do not coincide with the Admiral's, and I have to recourse to Peanut Butter sandwiches and bread and cheese dinners. Which leaves me plenty of time for picture taking.

The Admiral's first home cooked meal since...um...his last home cooked meal.
A.B. 1 defending his crab claws. The crab claws were requested by the Admiral.


Did I mention that the 1st Mate really loves crab claws?

The Admiral demonstrates proper crab dissecting techniques.

Now on to travels.
We have left Thedford behind and moved our camp on to Alliance, NE, 120 miles down Highway 2. Both Alliance and the drive we made today are familiar to us, but it never gets boring. The Sandhills of Nebraska offer so much to look at. Today, the crew and the Commodore are convinced that a bird we saw was a golden eagle. Maybe it really was an eagle. The Highway-2 Scenic Byway cd narrator claims that it is possible. Maybe it wasn't an eagle. Quite frankly, it doesn't really matter what it was. It might have been a hawk. It was beautiful, and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the beauty. That's all we're really looking for on this journey.


Trees, a rare sight in NE.


Trains. Not a rare sight at all and On and On and On....
the whole reason we are out here.

A.B.2 got this picture of the cows grazing.
And a great shot of the windshield wipers.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thedford, NE

As we drive across the vast expanse of America, we gaze out of our windows, interested, but growing more and more detached. The sights are splendid and awesome, but so much at once can become overwhelming. It becomes difficult to recall towns or cities, or even what state we are in.
Then, through the fog of a thousand and more miles, there appears on the horizon a clear speck, beckoning like a lighthouse. Nearly 1500 miles from home, we come across a familiar harbor; a place of friends in an indifferent territory.
Two years ago, we knew of Thedford, NE only as it was reported to us: "the most boring place in the world." It is true that Thedford is sixty miles from the nearest town with a Wal-mart, and that it lacks some of the attractions of larger cities, but it is a far cry from dull. During our first three week stay, our time was stretched between the Art Gallery, the historical museum, the county fair (which
included a parade, a root beer float social and a bull riding competition besides the usual fair fare) Nebraska National Forest Bessey Division .We didn't have a dull moment.
The inhabitants of Thedford are far more welcoming than we have found almost anywhere else in our travels. The city has only 243 residents, so they make up for it by being incredibly memorable. The Sheriff, for instance, can be found patrolling the highways, or he might be found waiting tables in the Arrowhead Cafe, working as a paramedic at a local bull riding competition, helping locals out with water pressure issues, or helping out in the grocery store.
Athough it's been two years since our three week stay in Thedford, and our visits back have been
few and far between, the owners of the Arrowhead Lodge, the hotel where we stayed that summer, have welcomed us back every time, whether we are staying over or just dropping in for lunch.
The Boys and the dog and the Arrowhead Sign.

The art gallery is a small building, but it is chock full of beautiful paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs. The volunteers who run, as well as contribute to the gallery are generally ready to chat about the Sandhills, the art in the gallery, and whatever else, as long as they receive a signature in their guest book in return. I attended an art workshop there, and the Commodore, after spending two and a half weeks looking for a painting that she wanted to buy, fell in love with a painting that another artist, Dawn E. Bryant was working on and bought it on the spot. It was a rare experience, so she remembered us when we saw her in the gallery on Wednesday and mentioned it . This is the painting the Commodore has.

The Art Gallery

The museum is a similar endeavor, with plenty of information and history rolled up in a very tiny exterior. The museum includes some very unique items and collections, such as their display of all of the few hundred types of barbed wire. Before we visited the museum, we didn't even know that there was more than one type of barbed wire.
The Museum

Then there's the library, where the boys were welcomed into children's hour, and got to make kaleidoscopes.
.
The Library
And of course, there are the miscellaneous attractions and plagues.
.

Above: Horses we spotted while walking to the store.
Below: A locust the compared to a tennis ball. Sandspurs stuck to my feet.



Thedford does have a major drawback. Pizza. It seems a little absurd that that should even matter. When one really, really wants pizza, however, and there is no oven available, and no place to get pizza for sixty miles....
We have discovered 2 fail fail proof solutions: the cheap way, and the expensive way.

Expensive= Buy an RV. Then, you can make your own pizza whenever you want.
Cheap= Buy a frozen pizza. Go to the Thedford City Park, where they have grills and plenty of trees that provide wood for a fire. Build a fire and let the flames die down and the wood begin to smolder. Place pizza on the grill. Wrap everything up with aluminum foil. When it is finished, the result is very close to a brick oven pizza. Thus, the only major fault to be found in Thedford is negated.

We think that we will be moving westward tomorrow or the day after. We will move on to Alliance, where we have been, and then on to Wyoming. I can't wait to see what actually happens.



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mansfield, MO

Monday September 14, 2009

Yesterday, when the Commodore wanted to know which of two routes to choose through Missouri, I foolishly opened my mouth. She listened to me, and followed my chosen route. The drive is along state roads and US highways, not interstates, so there are some disadvantages, slower speeds, roads that aren't quite as good, and the real kicker, the exits are not listed in The Next Exit. BUT there is one enormous bonus in that it cuts down on the distance we travel through Missouri. Missouri is the unfortunate State that, way back on our first voyage, we hit just as we were getting really tired. And we apparently hit it just as every skunk in Missouri decided to cross the road and get hit, and all of the hog farmers decided to move their livestock. (By the way, the smells of hog and skunk combined are the only thing I have ever smelled that rivaled the smell of exploded rotten egg mixed with Lysol as the worst combination of smells.) The 2nd Mate found a note that I wrote in the The Next Exit book that sums it up "The landscape does its best to be romantic but the perfume of the air foils its attempt." Add to that the fact that it took us the better part of two days to get through Missouri, and you have the boys' nickname for the state "The Show Me How to Get Out of Here State."
Obviously, I picked the route with the fewest Missouri miles. It is also the route that winds through hundreds of miles of mountain roads through Arkansas and Missouri. I was afraid that the Commodore would never forgive me, or allow me to navigate again, but there was a surprise that saved me. The road passes within two miles of Rocky Ridge Farm, where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived, and wrote her Little House Books. The Commodore and I had been on the road before, and we had steeled our hearts and driven on, for the crew was at home, desperately awaiting our return (and Tallulah's arrival, as that was when we had gone to fetch her) and we had no time to spare. Not this time. We could not pass the place by twice.
So we went in. There is a little museum near the farm house that Almanzo and Laura built, and their "Rock House," which Rose had built for them, was up the road a little. We did not see the Rock House. The museum and the farmhouse were all we had time for.
Immediately inside the museum, so that it is almost the first thing that one sees is a large glass display case with the words "Pa's Fiddle" written across the top. I was simply enraptured, but very quietly. The kind where you can't say anything because it would ruin everything, because no one else could feel quite the same, and it's no use trying to explain because words don't cover it. Pa's fiddle, Laura's lapdesk and sewing box and Ma's books. All truly amazing. There were also newspaper clippings that were quite thrilling. It is one thing to read in The Long Winter about Almanzo driving forty miles to get food for the town, but it feels entirely different to read in a newspaper that he saved the whole town from starving. And of course, there is the glass bread plate that survived the fire, sitting in a display case looking just as it does in the picture in the book. And pictures of all of the people.
Then we moved on to the tour of the house. The first room one sees is the kitchen. It is miniscule, even for a kitchen, but it was originally the one room log house that they lived in for a year after moving to Missouri. In the next room, is the collection that rescued me from the realm of the Commodore's wrath, the thing that she was apparently most looking forward to, whether or not she knew it. Laura's Blue Willow China. It is all set out on a table, looking magnificent. I was more excited about Laura's favorite chair, standing beside the table, and a chair made by Almanzo in the opposite corner. To each his own.
Everyone else had their favorite bits. The Boy was just excited to be there, but I think the gift shop was his favorite. The 1st Mate liked the fiddle and the wagon that Almanzo, Laura, and Rose traveled in. The 2nd Mate and the A.B. liked a cypress table that Almazo built. The A.B. was also highly impressed by the chicken coop fastened to the back of the wagon. He has suggested creating a similar contraption for Tallulah. I don't think that that will happen, but who knows. He can be very perservering when he gets an idea in his head.
My favorite part was being in the same place as the person who wrote the books that I have loved for so long. Although I detested most of them until I was about thirteen, I did love Farmer Boy the very first time I read it when I was about eight.
So there is one dream accomplished. Time to move on. To Nebraska, where we finally are. We arrived last night around ten thirty. The Admiral already had a hotel room, so we parked Tallulah outside and crashed. Lo and behold, the parking lot was about a hundred feet from the railroad tracks. Ah the dulcet sound of freight trains thundering past in the night, blasting their horns. There is no lullaby like it. Nor are there any less effective ones known to Man or Border Collie. But we are in NEBRASKA! so the trains are forgiven, as is the early morning cold-enough-to-see-your-breath weather. And the smell of the Broken Bow feedlot. At least there are no skunks yet. If there were though, I would probably forgive them too.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bridges

Today started out pretty early. We got out of Clanton enthusiastically, and acceptably early, although it was definitely not one of our most stellar take offs. We drove happily along singing Jim Croce songs and Irish drinking songs as loudly and off key as we could manage. (Q. How do you know you are traveling with Catholics? A. The song Moonshiner is casually paused to say a prayer for a passing ambulance.) On we went, as happily as larks until we reached good old Memphis. We have, in past voyages, discovered various ways of getting through Memphis. (Going through at rush hour is not advised.) Today we thought that we would slip through without any trouble at all, since it's Sunday, and beach season is mostly over. We got stuck in traffic at the on ramp to I-55 N. We inched along the ramp up onto the interstate to find (gasp) three police cars blocking the way. Oh Joy. I am very grateful for all of the good that cops do, but standing on the interstate laughing at the baffled look on poor lost RVer's faces as they are forced onto the SOUTHBOUND ramp is not a public service.
The part of Memphis we were driving through is not at all RV friendly, being filled with 11 ft overpasses and other such beautiful things. In fact, we were back in Mississippi before we could turn around.
So the day was seriously delayed as we plotted our alternate route (which was a better road anyway) and ran into road work on the I-40 bridge as well. We were well into Arkansas before the road cleared.
There's really no excuse for me to complain. This is traveling. There are going to be setbacks and traffic jams and closed bridges. Our job is simply to get past them all without ripping each other to shreds.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Crrreewww!!!! Start your Engines!

Here I am, back from a lovely vacation full of bright sunny days and cheerful people and...Not.
We did not leave Tuesday Sept. 6 as planned. Instead, we packed, and I was forced to make telephone calls (I detest telephones. I mean I really loathe them. Unless I need to call a family member.) to my school to straighten out a crazy "miscommunication" problem that resulted in my being four days late for the beginning of my classes.
We are now officially underway though. We packed the necessities of the entire house into a thirty-four foot space in a week. (We took longer than that for the books, but the rest was done in a week.) We even squeezed in time to do some visiting and redecorating. Tallulah is now officially Named. (Picture to follow.)

We left today, Sept. 13 (Good thing none of us suffer from Triscadecaphobia) at around 3:15. We stopped in Montgomery for Mass and supper (Gyros. Thanks Admiral!) and then made it all the way to the Peach Park in Clanton, AL. We plan to drive all day tomorrow and see where that lands us.
It is hard to believe that after 2 years we are actually going through with this. But the camper feels like home (except that certain persons are not here) and the excitement is building.
Maybe it will seem real tomorrow.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Y.S. Wagon

The Boy, the Dog and the Y.S. Wagon. That's Tallulah in the background.

In a few days the Y.S. will be placed on yard duty. She will be cranked regularly by my grandmother, or the Harbor Master's fiance or the Admiral's friend, or whoever is enlisted for the job. As she will not be mentioned again for a while, I am giving her her full share now.
The Y.S., a 1985 Pontiac Station Wagon was acquired shortly after the birth of the Boy. She sported several undeniably wonderful features. 1) Nine seats. Everyone could fit into one car. 2)Decent gas mileage. 3) Low actual mileage, and only two previous owners. 4) A truly remarkable air conditioner. The Commodore could freeze us out. Anyone who has driven though the south jammed in a car with as many other people as can fit and no air conditioning will understand what a boon being a little cold can be. We drove to New Orleans to get the Y.S.. She had a dent on one side in the front, just behind the bumper. The interior was beautiful, considering that it was an almost twenty year old car.
She does not look like that any more. Seven years of us really shows.

On December 6, four or five years ago, we were driving home from town. It had been raining. A cat ran in front of the car and the Harbor Master swerved. We ended up in the ditch on the side of the road. The car was straddling a huge mud puddle. She was sitting longways neatly between a telephone pole and a signpost. Nobody was hurt. A couple stopped to help and the guy borrowed a tractor from across the road to pull the car out. We drove her home, and the Admiral beat most of the dents out of her that weekend.

We've blown a few tires in the Y.S.'s many miled career. Once, we lost a hubcap beside the interstate. We saw it lying there in the median for a long time after that. Another time, when the Admiral was not with us, a kindly police officer stopped to help us change the tire. Now, the Admiral can change a tire. It doesn't usually take much longer than ten minutes. The Admiral's children are not accustomed to being stressed out by a tire change. It took the cop 3 hours. Yet another time, it took a DOT guy and a truck driver 45 minutes. What lesson did we learn from this? If one does not keep good tires on one's car, one ought to travel with a mechanic.

Three years ago we took our first major trip in the Y.S. We drove to Staunton, VA. That trip went so well that we went on another the next summer.

We decided to go on the trip on July 4, and left for Nebraska, where the Admiral was working, on July 8. We jammed six people, clothes for two weeks, school books, reading books, drawing things, games, and camping gear in and on the Y.S. and drove 1,304 miles to Thedford, NE (pop. 248). Somewhere in the cornfields of Missouri, the headliner gave out and collapsed on our heads. We stuck it back up with tacks and drove on. We stayed in Nebraska for two weeks and a few days. During the two weeks, the Y.S. visited a garage to have her brakes fixed. (This was mostly thanks to Kansas City, MO, where we did not hit the gas truck in front of us.) Then she visited again to have her starter replaced. (This was thanks to some very touchy behavior when the Admiral was starting her) We stayed an extra day because the Admiral stuck her keys in his pocket when he went to work. (We have a thing with keys. The Admiral compulsively pockets them and the Commodore looses them. On a side note, I am pleased to report that we finally did find the Commodore's spare key after she lost it a few days ago. It was locked in the car along with the regular set.) No one was upset about our extra day. Thedford, Nebraska is a really great place with wonderful people, even if it is sixty miles to the nearest pizza place.

In St. Louis, MO which is on the way home from Nebraska, there lives a perfect match to our dear Y.S.. The twin makes the same rattly noise that the Y.S. does, and also has some damage to the front end. We know all this because we were in the St. Louis Zoo when we saw the Y.S.'s double. This was, of course, the same day we locked the keys in the car. We knew exactly how easy it was to break in, because we had just done it. Enough said.

We returned to Nebraska in October of the same year. This time, we really pushed our luck and went 1,428 miles away to Alliance, NE. Alliance, Nebraska is the home of Carhenge and the lady who brought art to western Nebraska. She has a beautiful little art gallery downtown. It is just down the street from a shop that sells the absolute best fudge that we have yet found. There is also a gorgeous library that has a reading room complete with a fireplace. And a pond where a Canada Goose lover can see all the geese she wants. There is also the playground where the Boy got a mild concussion.

We went to Memphis in the Y.S. and visited Graceland, where the Boy became an Elvis fan.

On Holy Thursday of 2007 I convinced the crew that there was a chance for us to go to Texas to meet the Admiral for Easter. The Crew had an obsession with Texas. We cleaned and packed and got ready while the Commodore was out. She called around noon and ordered us to be ready to leave that afternoon. We drove to Dallas, Texas that night. We were traveling with another family, and we all stopped for a rest somewhere near the eastern border of Texas. We alloted exactly one half hour for the stop, but at the end of the half hour, the drivers voted for another half hour. When we pulled out of the rest area, there was a wreck on the interstate. Using the crude evidence that we gleaned in passing, we pegged the wreck at about a half hour old. Divine Intervention is a beautiful thing.

Since we acquired Tallulah, the Y.S has mostly been retired from long voyages. The last great voyage of the Y.S. was when we went to see the Leonardo DaVinci exhibit in Birmingham, AL. The day started off beautifully with a horn malfunction. The horn just blew itself at random, with no prompting from the Commodore. Not good. An hour and half a dozen disconnected wires later, we found the one that killed the horn. We then faced the much easier task of returning all of the other wires to their proper places. Over the phone, the Admiral assured us that none of the wires were connected to things that work anyway. Either he was right, or we put the wires back correctly. Then we left town. The exhibit was great. It is very cool to look at five hundred year old sketches. We had a picnic lunch in front of the museum, and then made the unexciting drive back to Montgomery where we planned to spend the night. There, we went to a drivethrough for our supper. The Y.S. has some window problems. We knew about them, but decided to chance it anyway. It was a bad day to chance things. The Commodore's window did not go back up. We gave up after we had exhausted the list of ingenious ways to fix a reluctant window button without tools. We went to our hotel and cleared the Y.S. of all valuables (ha!) and perishables (Leonardo DaVinci posters) and left her to her own devices. It rained that night. In the morning, the Y.S. retaliated by refusing to start until the Commodore threatened her. Then she started, allowed us to back up into the middle of the parking lot and stalled. Eventually, she did start and run as she should. Then the window went up. We have stayed away from drivethroughs since then.

These are the adventures that created the Y.S..




Friday, September 4, 2009

For Medicinal Purposes

The crew has recovered from the flu. There is a little lingering cough, and we are still watching the A.B., who had the worst case of it, but he seems to be okay. Everyone's good, except me. It is lonely to be sick after everyone else gets better.
I am employing a combination of my family's most trusted methods of recovery for this flu.
Method 1 (the Admiral's method): Ignore it. Keep working. Sweat it off. Take Airborne.
Get Over it.
Method 2 (the crew's method) : Collapse somewhere and wait for someone to bring you pudding or soup or vitamin c drops. I don't like soup though, so they usually don't bring me any of that.
Method 3 (the Commodore's method) Take that stuff that starts with an O. Rest. Megadose on vitamin c. Drink orange juice.

Besides these things though, isn't laughter the best medicine? On the off chance that it works, here are a few things that make me laugh.

Rudolph Nuryev dancing with Miss Piggy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NjMsBHELh8


The Commodore stranded herself by locking her keys in her car.
The Boy: Where's Mom?
Me: In the Rite Aid Parking lot.
The Boy: Yeah, but where's the right parking lot?

We never did find the key that would unstrand the Commodore. Instead, we sent her the A.B. He has long, skinny arms. The back window of the Y.S. is broken. It can be pushed down a little, with very little trouble, but only a person with long skinny arms can get in. We know this because the Commodore is terrible with keys. Two years ago, we locked the keys in the car in the St. Louis Zoo parking lot. The Commodore pried the window open, and the A.B. unlocked the door. When we got to the hotel that night, I found the spare key in my pocket.
Which reminds me of the time that the door of Tallulah jammed in Arkansas. We assumed that since the door wouldn't open, we had locked it. We had one set of keys with us, but the other was inside. I had had some trouble with the keys that we had, so we figured it just wouldn't work. The window was open, because the dog was inside, so all we had to do was push back the screen and hoist the Boy in. HA! The bottom of the window is six feet in the air. Then the Boy couldn't get the door open. So we put the A.B. in, but he couldn't get it either. Finally someone just pulled really hard on the handle and it opened. After that, we learned that if you slam the door, it jams.

I think I feel better already.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pack Rat

Earlier today I decided to have a shot at packing my room. I've found out something interesting about myself. I am a Pack Rat. Somehow, in the 19 years I've known me, I've missed that little fact. It would have been nice to know.
I've decided that the source of my pack ratism is that I have a habit of attaching too much history to too much stuff. I wouldn't have a problem if it was just stuff. I could get rid of that. The trouble is that the stuff reminds me of things I would prefer not to forget. I have a plastic cone about six inches tall that came from Wiregrass Catholic Youth Day 2006. It is covered in signatures of friends as well as persons I don't even know. It was a great day though. I have a golden colored feather from Matilda, a very talented chicken; the last of the Golden laying hens. She came when she was called, caught tiny pieces of bread, stole food from the dog's dish, beat up the cats when they tried to steal from her, and survived multiple attacks from hawks and dogs. We found the feather the day she was tragically murdered by a neighborhood dog. I have a rabies tag that belonged to my first dog. I have a dragon puppet I helped my mom make for my brothers. Sadly, the dragon was slain the first time he faced a knight. He was slain very thoroughly indeed.
I thought I was doing really well after I finished mercilessly going through my wardrobe. Throwing away holey t-shirts and worn out shoes is one thing. Tossing Matilda's feather is entirely different. So I'll keep the feather on the off chance that I remember where it came from when I have finished traveling the world. The great thing about feathers and rabies tags is that they don't take up much room. I'll stash the cone somewhere, and decide what to do with it another day. I'll throw away something else instead. Something that doesn't make me remember anything. I'll throw it away just as soon as I come across it.