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Friday, June 12, 2009

HOM: Grand Rapids

We hopped on the interstate in Grand Forks, ND and headed SE to wander a bit in Minneapolis/St Paul, then skinned through Chicago and stopped up in Grand Rapids for a couple of days. I guess Grand Rapids was sort of inevitable, having served on the PG-98 and all, but the biggest reason to stop was a reunion with the Knights, Phil & Margaret, of the old San Diego Friday Knights. They got a chance to meet Lyn & Bec, and it was a good time for them to. This trip, a well-funded vacation, was probably the best time of our marriage. I met my first microwave at the Knight's, and I guess it's an example of my retardedness that I didn't realize that it was calibrated in seconds. Pressing "1" and "Start" resulted in a near-instantaneous BEEP, and doing it four or five times with the same result heated my temper faster than it did the cup of coffee I'd stuck in. Actually, if Phil hadn't stepped up and pressed the "0" twice after I pressed "1" and remarked that one second wasn't long enough, I'd probably still be standing there. Yeah, Phil, Margaret & Lyn all thought it was funnier than I did. We mailed home the first shipment of books to Jerry from the Knight's just before we left. We'd been wandering from bookstore to bookstore as we traveled and the accumulated stock was getting in our way in the topper. There were no guides to book dealers in those days, so when we'd hit a new town I'd stop at a pay phone and check out the yellow pages, noting down addresses. (In bigger towns, I guess I became a vandal -- I'd rip out the "Book Dealers, Used & Rare" pages and stick them in my pocket. Inconsiderate, huh?) We hadn't made any major finds, but did get some good prices on a basic inventory of gun & hunting books. Jerry said it was like Christmas to open the boxes and dig through them. Another incident that sticks in memory took place somewhere between Minot & GR. I'd pulled into a convenience store so Lyn could go buy some stuff she wanted. Bec was sleeping, so I stayed in the truck to listen to the radio but noticed that the speaker in the passenger's door was cutting in and out. I flopped down on the seat, wedged myself under the dash, and commenced to fiddle with the wiring. Bec woke up, saw that the truck was stopped, saw that we were gone, and screamed at the top of her lungs . . . That blood-curdling screech levitated me up and around, minus a hunk of my ear that hung up on the edge of the dash. I expected to see her bleeding and horribly injured, what I actually saw was two huge eyes and a dumbfounded expression. Whatever SHE saw made her dive out of sight with an "Oh. Hi, Dad!" She had good survival instincts. I was so mad that I was still shaking when Lyn came out. Yes, she thought it was hilarious. No, I didn't. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)