Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hounds, Black Cats, and False Alarms

It was the 31st of December. The snow was falling as well as the temperature, but the task was simple. How difficult could it be to deliver Christmas cookies to a neighbor? Well, in Allerton, Iowa a neighbor resides at least a ¼ of a mile away. Decked in layer upon layer of clothing and winter gear, my Uncle Terry and I strolled out into the winter wonderland. After loading the back of the truck with bags of empty pop cans, we set out on our expedition, Christmas cookies and all. Destination- Theresa, a widowed woman in her later years with enough cats to choke out anyone with feline allergies in merely seconds. Driving on the gravel driveway and nearing her old farm house, she is nowhere in sight. No dice. I sprint to the front door while wading through snow and wild barn cats only to find it locked. We begin the trek down the gravel driveway once more, but what’s this? Theresa and her car are nearing the driveway. What luck? She is grateful for the Christmas cookies, but proceeds with a question of, “Would you please lift that blade over there?” My uncle Terry and I look around in the direction of the barn. We’re standing outside of her car, while the snow is falling as well as the temperature. “The blade on my windshield wiper,” she says. After minutes of brushing off snow and chipping away ice, the blade is soon recovered. With a quick exchange of goodbyes my Uncle Terry and I return to the warmth of the truck (heated seats and all) and continue on our expedition.
Only seconds after leaving her driveway, the ever so popular missing basset hound of Allerton, Iowa comes strolling down the highway oblivious of our 4X4 King Ranch Truck heading in his direction. “It’s that darn basset hound!” we say in unison. Well, the bed of the truck is filled with pop cans. Long story short, the basset hound ends up on my lap in the backseat of the truck. What a grease ball. While driving down the dead end road leading towards the home of the basset hound there’s another surprise. He smells. Actually “smells” is an understatement. The hound reeks. As the stench travels to the front of the truck’s cab, my uncle drives faster. Nine-O down the dead end road we’re greeted by another old farmhouse. Accompanying the hound to the front door, his owner bestows us a simple thank you followed by, “I don’t know what I’m going to do with him.” (Well to start, a bath is more than necessary). The snow is falling as well as the temperature, and we head back towards the truck and heated seats. The expedition continues.
After stopping in Allerton at my Uncle’s work site, I look down only to find my brown Carhartt covered in dog hair and smelling like the darn basset hound. Back home we go. Only minutes later while driving down a back alley, a black cat runs out right in front of us. My uncle quickly takes off his ball cap and spits in it in with an attempt to remedy the superstition. After arriving home and exchanging the hound hair covered coat for another, we continue back towards Allerton. The pop can recycling building is closed, enough said.
About 6 hours later… In celebration of New Year’s Eve my Aunt, Uncle, and I enjoy a dinner at a steak house in a neighboring town. We then drive to Centerville to see the new Sherlock Holmes film. (*shout out to Sherlock* if you like mystery novels and /or movies such as “The Prestige” you just might enjoy this film) We arrive at the theater parking lot full of vacant parking places. After finding a convenient parking spot another car wheels in right next to us only inches from taking off the side view mirror. “Do we know them?” “Are they trying to get close so they can say something?” No, they’re just a couple of woman who thought it would be appropriate to prevent all possibilities of getting out of the truck. We find another parking spot.
While sitting in the theater waiting for the movie to begin, guess who walks in a sits right in front of us? Yea, it’s the parking lot female bandits. Greeeeeeeat. Just wait, that’s only the beginning. About 12-15 minutes into the movie an alarm conveniently begins to scream throughout the theater. Oh goodness, it’s the fire alarm. Really? What’s even more peculiar is that everyone just sits there motionless. If this happened to be a test, this has been one epic fail. The siren stops. Nice. The siren begins again. Not so nice. The movie stops, the screen goes black, and everyone finally begins to file out of the theater. Honestly, the movie was good, but not worth getting charred. The entry way of the theater smells of burnt popcorn while the employees scamper quickly behind the counter. Over the commotion, “Start up the movies, start up the movies!!” is heard. “False alarm”, and after filing back into the theater the movie continues. We miss about 10 minutes of it. But what’s worse was the absence of free popcorn, movie tickets or any form of reimbursement. Fail.

Steak Dinners (3) – give or take $50
Movie Tickets (3) - $21
Pop (1) - $3.50

Remembering at the end of the day why I love small town living, priceless.

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