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Tim Sandlin

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My Mom Knew Your Mom in High School (So You Won't Mind if We Sleep on Your Floor)

Posted: 01/01/2014 3:40 pm

Here's a piece I wrote a couple years ago. The next week I got four calls from regional newspapers wanting to do a story on Day Care Air. Journalists have no sense of humour.

One of the mixed blessings of living in Scenic Wonderland is that you get more company than you would if you lived some place like Garden City, Kansas. After years of careful observation and comparative analysis of past visitation data, I've broken this company down into two distinct groups -- people you know and people you don't know.

People you know are nice to have around unless they dribble through all summer, which happens about every third year. In June, last summer, Delores's college roommate, Mimi VanHoff, came to visit with her boyfriend Chub. Mimi works her sweet little heart out 50 weeks a year, so she was ready to cut loose and boogie. Every day Mimi and Chub slept till noon, then hiked or sunbathed or something to kill time until Delores and I got off work so we could all go out to eat, drink, and dance ourselves into the mind set of ripe cantaloupes.

Delores and I held up our share of the decadence every step of the way, right to the moment when we drove Mimi and Chub to the airport and poured them on a plane so they could fly off to their humdrum world. Then we raced home, washed the dishes, and restocked the bar before my brother Josh showed up.

Josh owns Day Care Air, which is a commuter service for children of divorced parents with joint custody. You wouldn't believe the money to be made shuttling tots between mamas and daddies these days. All Josh's stewardesses are licensed preschool teachers and the pilots dress like characters from Sesame Street.

Delores and I took Josh to Yellowstone -- and everyone knows how relaxing that is in summer. Then we rented a houseboat on Jackson Lake and had a three-day party. Then we poured Josh onto a plane, which, coincidentally, brought in Mary and Murray Earnhart who used to work with Delores at Signal Mountain Lodge about 20 years ago. Murray Earnheart brought in a load of diet pills so he wouldn't have to rest on his vacation.

"I can sleep when I get home," Murray said. "Want to run up Snow King this afternoon? Then we could tie some flies and split a cord of firewood before I light the barbecue and chug this pint of tequila."

Many's the Jackson Holeite who's zipped along at this pace all summer only to spend the fall catatonic.
However, company you know is far superior to the other kind.

I opened the door the other day to a couple who appeared to have recently stepped out of a computer-colourized personal hygiene movie. The woman's hair glowed like a blue football helmet and the guy had on slacks the color of Pepto-Bismol.

"Hi," the man said. "Is Delores Pym home?"

I should have known when he used both names instead of just Delores. It turned out that this was Phil and Eustacia Hattiesburr who go to Delores's parents' church back in Oklahoma. "We just love Francis and Bart to pieces," Eustacia said. Delores said, "My parents aren't named Francis and Bart."

"What's their names, sugar?"

"Kathy and Bert."

"Right. We just love them to pieces. They were at our house for melons and hand-cranked pecan praline ice cream last Sunday and Bart said he'd snatch us both bald-headed if we drove this far and didn't look in on his baby daughter."

"Bert," Delores said.

I said the obvious. "Where are you staying?"

Phil said, "We called a motel and the man there said they were full, and so was ever'body else. We don't want to be any fuss, but your daddy said that if we ran into trouble, you might put us up for a night."

"Or two," said Eustacia.

Delores looked at me. "I guess they could have Monroe's room and we could put him in a tent in the backyard."

"We don't want ya'll to make any fuss," Eustacia Hattiesburr said.

Phil Hattiesburr said, "Honey, go out to the car and get the kids, and make sure both dogs do their business before you bring them in. You know how nervous Fluff Puff gets around strangers."

Delores said, "Fluff Puff?"

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