Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy November First

I usually forget the significance of November 1st until it arrives, and then i think, "Hey!  This is a special day, isn't it?"  Eleven years ago today, we were on our way home to Texas, for the first time as a married couple.  We had no idea what would challenges would meet us by the end of the day, but at least we would be in Texas.  I thought i had written this story before, but i can't seem to find it, so here's a walk down memory lane.

When GSSH and i got married in 1998, we lived in Ohio.  And by October 1999, our youthful stupidity (i tried to think of a nicer word; it just wouldn't come) had us facing eviction from our high priced apartment, and we decided it was time to make the move back home to Texas.  We stuffed every corner of our poor beautiful LeSabre with as much of our belongings as we could, kissed my mom and dad goodbye, and drove off.  With less than $300 between us (gas was cheaper back then, y'all), one set of keys, and everything we now owned, we left on a 1000 mile trip.  Thank God for His angels protecting us.

I remember that we drove through the night.  Well, mostly GSSH drove through the night.  It was dark and storybook stormy.  Besides the horrible storms and the dark of night, we were driving down narrow roads through construction zones.  I remember that i had been driving for a while, but when the dark and stormy night-type circumstances arose, i thought it would be good to pull over and wait it out.  That's when GSSH took over for the rest of the trip.  I did some sleeping, and it's so good that i did because i remember the scenes i saw each time i woke up. And i could never figure out how GSSH could see where we were going.

Eventually, morning came, and the storminess broke, and we pressed on.  And sometime in the evening, we broke through the Texas border (there was nothing to break, but it sounded good just now) to familiar territory.  If your'e a Texan, and you've ever left Texas and come back, you know this.  There's this wonderful ease of breathing when you cross the line onto Texan ground.  It smells better, it feels better, and everything looks better.  It's like Texas knew you were missing and reached out and gave you a big hug when you came back home where you belong.  (I think Heaven must be a little bit like that....only times a gobillion plus infinity).

Texarkana, as the name might imply, is a small Texas town that sits all the way up in the corner of Texas that juts into Arkansas, right on the border.  It is also the intersection between two major highways, and where we would turn south on Highway 59, toward home.  Having pushed so hard for so many hours, now finally in Texas, we decided to stop for gas and a little break.

For some reason that i cannot recall or deduce, i recommended to my husband that i take the keys with me.  I took our key chain - two keys on a chain with a yellow smiley face - and my pocket book.  When i went inside, to the ladies room, i placed the pocketbook on the back of the toilet, and the keys on top of the pocket book.  Then i did my business, flushed, turned around, and picked up my pocket book, but not my keys.  I forgot about the keys.  And as i picked up my pocketbook, the keys tumbled straight down the already flushing toilet.  Gone.  Gone forever.

You cannot imagine my panic.

You also can't imagine my husband's angry face panic when i told him.

We tried to fish it out.  That didn't work.
We tried to find a late night plumber.  That wasn't going to happen.
We spent anguished hours making phone calls from the gas station - and me periodically apologizing.
Then, finally, we decided to get a locksmith.

We spent the night in the car in the parking lot next to the gas station, my husband forgave me, and early in the morning, a very kind man, whose name i wish i remembered so i could thank him, came and disassembled our steering column - which was necessary to get us a new key for our very fancy coded key - and charged us a very discounted fee for his trouble.  (He also reassembled the steering column/steering wheel and got us back in working order with a key that worked).

That was November 2.  Then we drove home.

Eight years later, we drove through that same intersection, and we stopped at the same gas station, and i took a picture, just 'cause.  But i didn't take the keys to the bathroom.  I don't think i was allowed to hold the keys at all while we were there.

I thought about taking a picture of the infamous toilet that stole my keys, but that seemed weird.

So Happy November First!  Our eleven year anniversary of our return from non-Texan exile.  It was an adventure, but we really like it here.

I hope you enjoyed the story of how we finally made it home, how i got us stranded in Texarkana overnight, how God is faithful when we're ridiculous, and how marriages can survive all sorts of weird things.

Oh!  If ever you stop at that gas station in Texarkana, i might suggest you let someone else hold your keys while you go to the bathroom....just in case.


  1. OH Beth, I can see this happening and the panic as you knew they were going down the drain. I don't even know what I would have done. I can see my hand going down that way too public toilet though. I also am thrilled to know that it is possible to have a new key made in a situation like this. I have often wondered what one would do if they lost keys like this as I just know this is something that could happen to us! Thanks for sharing a great story :)

  2. I loved your story! Thanks for sharing.

  3. There seem to be some pretty awesome things that happen on November 1.

    Oh, and btw...I once dropped my only set of keys into a 10 foot deep latrine in Sequoia National Park. It took a MacGyver moment to get them out, but I did.

  4. What a great story! BTW - it feels that way entering Texas even if you aren't a native! Loved my visit there in Feb of '07. I really need to get back :)

  5. Laughed myself to tears! I love the way you articulate. My visual mind panicked with you at the memory of your flushing keys.
    Yay for happy endings.

  6. Excellent story, wonderfully told!


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