Travelling B.O.B.s : A Halloween Bedtime Story

When I said I had stories for years, I meant it.

In the 16 years we’ve been travelling as a pack, Jefferson, Texas, made it into our top three B.O.B. Girl’s Weekend destinations.

With the official title of the ‘Most Haunted Town in Texas’, Jefferson stole our ghost-hunting hearts years ago when we learned they also have an annual Mardi Gras celebration every year.

So, most years we went there twice – once for the ghosts and once for the beads.

The first time we travelled the five hours (10 hours if you are us) to Jefferson, we stayed in the famously haunted Jefferson Hotel.

We pulled into the town of 2,000 people with two goals: to hunt for ghosts, and to find the legendary Murder Alley where a murder had presumably happened, sometime in history. Nobody seems to know for sure, and anyone who might have is probably dead.

We accomplished one of those things. Murder Alley wasn’t the one, but we stand firm by the notion that we found the hounds that guard it.

It was about a month before Halloween on a full moon night when we went on our first guided ghost tour throughout the town, and it really was scary. In fact, by the end of the tour, we could have been the official spokeswomen for a Depends commercial.

Already primed by the stories surrounding some of the best stops on the tour – the Jefferson Hotel,  the Grove and the Schluter Home, to name a few – it was a natural that we decided in the middle of the night it was time to try and find this Murder Alley without the benefit of a guide, or even anyone who had been to the town before.

What could possibly go wrong?

So, so much.

We set out, all giggles and carrying flashlights and our Bubba mugs filled with liquid nutrition.

After finding some seriously fascinating historical tidbits – a 200-year-old church with a tree growing out of the baptismal pool in the back; an historical ghost giggling in Shawnee’s ear and some natural and very woodsy restrooms, we sensed we were close to finding Murder Alley.

We approached the suspected area which was marked by old stone fences on each side, and body fluids of ghost hunters before us. It was ominously dead quiet.

But that didn’t last long.

Out of nowhere came the words, “you are about to die.” Only it was spoken in loud, menacing barks from the frothing mouths of the hounds of hell that we could not see.

Without speaking a word, all five of us turned around and began running, the ice in our Bubba mugs sounding like festive maracas.

Lynda, the only B.O.B. who regularly works out, passed all of us high-stepping in a way that would make any marching band hire her as a consultant. She beat us all handily, mostly because the rest of us were laying on the ground winded from our first 10-yard sprint in 20 years. But we survived.

Happy Halloween. When you go out there this year, arm yourself with a workout plan, a flashlight, a Bubba mug, and a slow friend … just in case.

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In honor of women, specifically funny women, I want to share with my readers my favorite blog of the week.

Click here, y’all! —->True Confessions of a Soccer Mom

This week’s funny woman is Kathryn Mayer, whose hysterical and socially-aware blog is entitled Writing Out Loud.

I met Kathy, a native and resident of Newtown, Connecticut, at an Erma Bombeck Writer’s Conference a few years ago. I am obsessed with her humor, her humanity and her grit. I encourage you to check out her piece on soccer moms, because really, there’s a soccer mom in all of us.

To support these writers, I ask you to share their work on social media, your own blog, email or here in the comments.

I’d love to hear your favorites, because we all need more funny in our lives.

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Call that friend, today

The general foul mood of our countrymen continues this week, along with the ongoing shortage of unicorns and rainbows.

This kind of week reminds me  to keep reminding myself – as it did last week – that love bats last. It also laughs last.

So I call a friend, or two or three. It always does the trick.

I think we all should call a friend whose parents have been sick and see how everyone is. Or, call the one who has survived cancer because she reminds you she has faced death and your problems are not so bad.

Call the one who suffers from depression, because she is having a good day, or because she isn’t. Call the one who figuratively wants to wrap her fingers around the necks of her lazy children. All involved will thank you.

Or, call the one who lost her husband a few years ago, because she still misses him.

My friends and I have all these contingency plans in place because, life happens.

So we call each other, we travel, we meet for dinner, drinks and laughter.

When things get rough, we can throw together an impromptu weekend getaway with a text message, as we have this week.

We are just that good.

This weekend, a bunch of us are getting together for a weekend swim because the suckage of life has been great, according to us, and this is how we survive it.

We also survive it like this … (shout out to the Boston Fire Department!)


… and this. (shout out to Medicine Park….remember us?)

And this. (Shout out to a tipsy Christmas Lights trolley extravaganza)

The next weekend, I will probably repeat the same with another group of friends. One good thing about friendship is it’s totally polyamorous. You can have as many as you want or can handle, and it’s legal and encouraged. Win/win.

I also have a totally different type of rarified friends whom I know through the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop that only meets every two years in Dayton, Ohio. Our friendship is definitely long distance most of the time, but when we get together to write it is like no time has passed. We are just a bunch of hilariously and beautifully-matched friends who happen to meet every two years and will probably be lifelong friends.

Because of these wonderful women in my life I have experienced things I would not have otherwise. Many I cannot publish because of some statute of limitations mumbo-jumbo, but several priceless ones I can.

We’ve had a pre-hysterectomy going away party for a uterus.

I have been witness to the holding of horse reigns by one of us during a girls trip to the Stockyards while a thirsty and trusting  cowboy went into the White Elephant Saloon for a beer. You can’t make this stuff up.

I have hiked the Lost Lake in the Wichita Mountains, something I would never have done without a friend to say, “Hey, let’s do this.”

The ninth hole at midnight

We have hunted for ghosts here at home in Iowa Park, Texas and as far as Jefferson, Texas. We’ve  sung “You Don’t Have To Call  Me Darlin’ (Darlin’) at full volume on karaoke night five hours from home. We’ve taken selfies laying our backs on the ninth hole of the Cliffs Golf Course at midnight; and I have personally watched a woman laugh so hard she threw up in the bushes – it was a proud moment in my life.

Judy and Gina at Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop – they know about the bush incident.

This is all recently, and I am getting old, y’all. The older I get, the clearer it becomes that these women remind me the world does not, technically, suck and it’s because of them. In fact, the love is palpable.

I’m betting on that.

So get on the phone and call a friend, get together and laugh. Your world will look better instantly.

My happy hope for the future … my daughter and her beautiful tribe. Keep it going.

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Cookies, Saints and Ghosts

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day that ultimately ended in mystery and intrigue, mostly on the part of my sweet husband, Bobby.

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The Patron Saint of Hips, Thighs (& Happiness)

I talked to both of my children who live out of state. I looked on adoringly while everyone and their mother wished everyone and their mother Happy Mother’s Day on Facebook. Then I put some pants on and took my own mother some flowers and a tray of cookies that included her favorites – the Macadamia Nut white chocolate chip variety. That should have made me her favorite.

But no.

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The Patron Saint of Animals (and now Mother’s Day)

My sister, Kay, got our animal lover mother a Saint Francis of Assisi Statue. Her gift probably trumped a plate of cookies because Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals, while cookies are the patron saints of hips and thighs. Also, the flowers are certain to die eventually, and that I know of there is no patron saint to keep cut flowers alive.

Next year, Kay. Next year.

Later that night I settled in for some solo viewing of a Ghost Asylum marathon on TV, which is a reality show about ghost hunters from the south. I had never watched this show before, but ghost hunting shows are my guilty pleasure.

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After a couple hours of this new show, I emerged from my cave and my husband asked what I was watching.

I told him, “It’s this show about ghost hunters from the south. There’s this one good-looking redneck who wears a thumb ring. And their thing is …  they want to catch a ghost.”

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A Southern Ghost complete with a thumb ring, grandma’s quilt and Vans

“On film?”

“Oh no … no, no, no, no, no. In a contraption of some sort. Like GhostBusters, only being a  southern ghost trap, I’m pretty sure it is made with WD40, duck tape and spot welds. Their entire body of work depends on getting a ghost to get into that contraption and frankly, I’m rooting for them.”

“You are kidding me.”

“I wouldn’t do that. But, I haven’t even gotten to the good part. One of them actually said, ‘We need to figure out what we’re going to do with it if we catch it.’ Apparently it’s still early in the season and they haven’t figured out all the details.”

“How can you watch that garbage?”

“The bigger question is how can I not watch it? Because if they catch the ghost, I want to know what they do with it.”

They didn’t catch the ghost this week, which would have been a great Mother’s Day gift to me.

Next week, Bobby. Next week.

 

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