My Week: Road Trip!

It isn’t often that I venture out of the area. You can ask my kids or my sisters and they’ll agree. However, when I don’t have to do the driving and I can go see an old friend, I jump at the chance. That’s exactly what happened but not until Monday.

Sunday was the usual Sunday—even more so since I didn’t have to go to a nominating committee meeting. DD and I had our weekly conversation and it was filled with exciting developments like new furniture and getting settled. I played in the dirt some and ate strawberries.

Monday, I got up BEFORE bright and early and started getting ready. I’d hunted up an old bra of Mother’s that had been ‘way too big for her and was a size or two too big for me. At least it was wirefree so I wouldn’t set off the alarm like I did the last time. Yes, I was going with the pastor and his wife (why don’t we ever say the wife and her pastor?) to see our friend in Federal Prison.

The day started out overcast. I’d taken an old umbrella with me that wouldn’t break my heart if I lost it. We met at Bi-Lo at 9 EDT (8 Tommie Time). We were on our way.

Cloudy sky

The trip there was uneventful. I couldn’t see much but there seemed to be something of interest to the driver and he had the radio tuned to the road conditions. Seemed there was some trouble somewhere but it didn’t have an effect on us. I didn’t pay much attention.

Instead of parking across the road from the entrance to eat our lunch, we drove onto the grounds and into the parking lot. We sat in the car to have our “picnic”. While they ate their sandwiches I had my two mangos I’d peeled and cut up and two bananas. I also had a few carob covered raisins (which I shared) and a Super Duper Gut Bomb. I was ready.

While we were waiting for it to get to be time to start through the process of getting inside to visit, I got my camera and walked a little way from the car and took some pictures of the prison. I was sort of aware of some agitation from the car as I was walking back. It was the pastor’s wife. “You aren’t supposed to take pictures of federal buildings!” Well, I didn’t know that. “I guess you could plead ignorance in court.” Okay. I said, well, I suppose I can’t post one of those pictures Saturday night.

True to my inquisitive nature, tonight I had to Google the policy on taking pictures of Federal buildings. Seems it isn’t a crime, after all so…

The prison

It’s an old, old building and the brownish parts of the windows seem to be plywood. I’m not sure of that but it’s pretty shabby. DS2 wanted to know if it was nice and I had to tell him no. The inmate’s quarters aren’t air conditioned. I’m not sure of the heating situation in the winter. It’s definitely a pretty depressing place to visit and it’s got to be much worse to actually live there. From the pictures I found online, it’s much larger than it appears to be from the front.

When the time came, we started lining up with the others. It was the same wait and walk, wait and walk as before. There was some conversation with the other visitors and remarks that the crowd was small that day. From what I could gather, the weekends are the busiest.

The paperwork was filled out and we waited. And waited. And waited. Up on the hill, it seems the wind always blows. It was a nice day, temperature-wise, so that wasn’t unpleasant.

Finally getting inside, I filled out the visitor roster and prepared to go through the metal detector. I’d left everything in the car except for my driver license (I thought). When I walked through, I set it off. Walking back through, I set it off again. No underwire. What could it be this time? Turns out it was my scalar resonator. I took it off and passed.

THEN, when we were lined up to go to the next station, I heard my name being called. The large female guard said, “You are unlucky number 8! You have to have a pat-down.” Then she explained I could refuse but had I refused, I wouldn’t have been allowed to go any farther so I submitted. I had to stand with my feet apart and my arms held out from my sides. She donned gloves and parts of me were touched that hadn’t been touched by another person for a long, long time. It was very impersonal and professionally done and not particularly embarrassing. At least it wasn’t a strip search like the pastor’s wife had to do once.

A couple more bits of red tape and we were shown into the visiting area. When the prisoners came in, I had no trouble recognizing our friend. He hadn’t changed appreciably even though he’d had a birthday the day before.

We had a good visit and he was treated to a huge chicken sandwich, cheese snacks, banana bread, a candy bar and a soda. I don’t know how he held it all but he did. At 5:30, we had to leave. It was a long way back.

It was to prove to be even longer than we thought. The sun had come out and it was turning into a good day for traveling.

On the road

Sunshine!

We’d seen signs warning of a detour for miles and miles. Stopping at the rest area at the Tennessee state line we found out why. While I was waiting for the others, I looked at the brochures on the desk when something caught my eye. It was a picture of a slide just about two miles down the road. That’s what all the alerts on the radio were about. Later, I found the article and pictures online. There were handwritten and photocopied directions for the detour we’d have to take later.

A narrow winding detour

The directions assured us the detour was only five miles farther than it normally would be on the Interstate. What it didn’t say was the top speed would be around 40 mph.

Then it took us through a little town

Driving through town

and we were on our way again. We ate our supper in the car and didn’t bother to stop.

It got later and later

After dark

and it was well after 10 EDT (9 Tommie Time) when I got home. It was quite an adventure.

I had a package in my mailbox from merm (and I would assume DD). There was a Facebook shirt (merm went to some kind of workshop or seminar at the headquarters) and a picture of the two of them. I since washed the shirt and it “drew up”. If I can’t wear it any more, I guess my younger granddaughter will get it. I did wear it once!

Tuesday, I all but finished up my life story. From that point on, you’d have to go back to the first post in my blog and follow it through from there. I also promised one more chapter that sort of tells the rest of the story—but not quite because it isn’t over yet.

Wednesday, I had to head back to town to do some shopping. My gas consumption isn’t what it used to be but it’s more than when I filled the tank once in a couple of months.

My hummingbirds are back! I haven’t seen many but maybe the word will get around that I have the best sugar water in the neighborhood! When I go out to sun on the deck, I can hear their wings whirring.

I have a container of eggplant on the deck and I’ve found, so far, four tiny fruit. The Black Prince (heirloom variety) tomato has some little toms on it. This time of year can be so exciting!!

My niece asked me to write a “two or three paragraph bio” of my sister. There’s no way her life could be compressed into that little space. I emailed what I came up with to her yesterday and haven’t heard anything back.

When I got to the church this morning, I was the first one there who had a key. I went in and performed the deacon duties of turning on lights. The church service was very interesting. It started out rather abruptly because the elder opened the door by the organ to see where the speaker was. I thought the signal light wasn’t working so I launched into the introit. The ones who had gathered went ahead and walked out onto the platform, knelt, and the elder prayed. During the Doxology, the speaker dashed down the aisle to join the others. That’ll teach ’em to be on time! 😀 The principal of our now closed school was the speaker and he told how things fell into place for him and his wife to move on to another position in Texas.

This week has been taken up with calling nominees and asking them to fill roles in the church. I’ve gotten mostly yeses, thankfully. There’s another meeting tomorrow and then, hopefully, it will be done.

And now, the hour grows late. There’s lots more I could write about but I won’t. And aren’t you glad??!

2 Responses to My Week: Road Trip!

  1. Mary Jane May 24, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    Unlucky number indeed! How embarrassing! However, it might be even worse to be the one doing the searches.

    In spite of that, it seems to have been a good trip and a blessing to the one you visited. Hope next time someone else will have the “privilege” that you endured.

    • Tommie May 24, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      Yes, it was a good trip. Longer coming back but even that made it interesting.

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