ISawArkansas

64

A friend had a quadruple heart bypass several months ago. When he went dark for five or six weeks I finally texted him, “Are you dead or alive?”

“Why, what have you heard?” was his immediate reply.

It reminded me of when, in January, a friend and I had to make an emergency trip to Texas, which we organized by text. “I’ll drive you to Texas,” she said, and I thought that was a cherry idea.

We decided to leave the next morning as close as humanly possible to 6.

We started texting at 5:45 a.m. “You ready?”

“Yes, just about.”

At 8 a.m. we figured out that each of us was still waiting for the other. I thought she was driving, she thought she was driving my car.

We got on the road just in time for pouring rain that intensified so hard that everybody’s windshield wipers were maniacally trying to keep up with everybody else’s. It rained all the way to Ft. Smith, then all the way to where, after monsoon hypnosis, we saw a sign that read, “Tinker Air Force Base 3 miles.”

Nuts. We had splashed right by the Hwy. 69 turnoff. No McAlester where they manufacture 2000-pound bombs, no Durant where I always get a ticket, no Dallas in five hours. We were way far north and west of where we needed to be.

All we could do was turn left, so we did. Suddenly a sign, Doug’s Peach Orchard Terral, Oklahoma, 18 miles. We said yes. The Peach Orchard was home to fried pickles, fried mushrooms, fried catfish, fried chicken livers and calf fries. Don’t ask, I didn’t. We ate and ate and it didn’t angry up the blood.

The woman we were to see in Dallas texted at 2 p.m. that she wasn’t at work that day.

This is known as a big bust. So we settled back with a beer as cold as the Victorian Age and wondered how to mess up the rest of our day.

We decided to head to Nocona because we were sort of close and there was some family there that might be happy to see us, maybe, maybe not, how do you know until you try?

We wound up at the VFW in Nocona, home of cowboy boots and baseball gloves. The Nocona VFW looks like it was built by the richest veteran ever. Vaulted ceilings, dance floor, great sound system, second story balcony and muscular swivel bar stools.

There were three or four veterans sitting around a table that kept them all six feet apart. We asked if we could change the music to Imagine Dragons or Huey Lewis and the News, or something else anyway.

Pretty soon the vets were laughing and telling stories on themselves. The bartender, a woman, called her friends and said, “Two chicks from Arkansas just came in here, you might want to come down,” and they did.

This enormous bar with 14 people in it started moving – not dancing, exactly, but conversing, laughing, relaxing.

Texting is a brilliant way to miscommunicate and misinterpret. Texts are easy to send to the wrong person so they can get the wrong idea. But if you call someone, they think you’re on fire.

I’m just saying don’t have high textpectations unless you’re prepared for it to go all wrong before it’s all right.

Leave a Comment