As I less-than-coyly hinted at in my last post, my work life has been incredibly busy the last few weeks. Regardless, I wanted to make sure I squeezed in a post tonight. One: because I feel guilty when I shirk an obligation (I’m a proper American laborer in that way; blame it on the Puritans). Two: I feel reinvigorated whenever I get to relive the trip in my own way.

Short on time or no, I’ll share a quick story from Missouri, which the crew and I still get a kick out of.

We were doing a bit of camping and realized there wasn’t a whole lot of dead wood to be found around the campsite. Not having the means to cut anything substantially dead down, and being fairly close to civilization, Lauren and I headed out in search of a small town we passed a couple miles back.

Rolling into a small strip mall that had seen better days, we split up. Lauren went in search for the truly important items we needed (water and beer), and I went looking for some fire wood. What I found was described to me as a cord. Now, if you’re at all familiar with cords of wood, they generally measures 4ft x 4ft x 8ft. I didn’t know that at the time and was just happy to have found some fuel to cook dinner with, so I bought two and headed back to the car.

In my absence, it seems our van had become quite the topic of conversation, which Lauren managed to eavesdrop on. It went something along the lines of:

Local Resident 1: Jersey? You know where Jersey is?

Local Resident 2: Naw.

Local Resident 1: Jersey’s out by New York.

Local Resident 2: New York? What’s some New York boys doing out here?

Local Resident 1: I don’t know, but they best be careful.

Veiled threat or helpful suggestion? It’s probably the closest I came to feeling unwelcome somewhere, but even then I didn’t take much offense to it. I’m sure there were times in my life or even on the trip when something I said seemed unfriendly in passing.

Either way, we made it back to the campsite just fine and I happily declared to the rest of the cast and crew they should fear not, for I brought them two cords of wood. Well, Jeremy and Ryan, who are a bit more experienced in certain things than I am, just about fell off their seats laughing. As it would turn out, I merely bought two bundles. Luckily, I was only charged for such.

It would seem the city boy in me is more obvious than I previously thought, and folks certainly had my number a mile away. I found myself the victim of a clerk’s harmless joke, and a few locals’ posturing, but I still wasn’t mad.

It was another story from the road.


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