Get Your Kicks

On my travels I routinely drive down Route 66 – love the bar-b-que at Devils Elbow and the scenic drive along the way, to include the Munger Moss Motel. I know enough about Route 66 to know the Munger Moss Motel is steep in history, originally it was a barbecue place located on the Big Piney River at Devil’s Elbow, MO but when the 4-lane road opened up, and business at the Munger Moss Barbecue died the owners started looking for a suitable place to relocate to and moved down the road to Lebanon, MO.  Full history at www.mungermoss.com/index.html

NOTE: This is NOT a review, I have never spent a night at the Munger Moss – I am not recommending it one way or the other, this is just an observation from a marketing point of view.mungermoss2

The Munger Moss Motel is more than just a roadside establishment, it is a living legacy to all that was and is Route 66. My question arises from the neon sign that glows to signal to visitors along the route.  After years of smiling at the old neon sign as I drive by – I noticed something the other day. The sign has a marquee, the old school kind where you place the plastic letters to spell out words of wisdom. The sign says TELEPHONES and REFRIDGERATED????

Of all the things that could be advertised on the marquee that is what they thought would woo patrons through the door? Let’s ponder the first line – TELEPHONES – I understand the need to be able to reach out and touch someone or be touched by someone but in a time where almost everyone has cell phones I can’t see someone saying, “boy I sure am tired, we need to pull over and rest for the night, look that hotel has free Wi-Fi, that one has an indoor pool & happy hour – WAIT, let’s look no further the Munger Moss has telephones – we are home!!”

What about REFRIDERATED – I haven’t figured out if they mean refrigerators or air conditioning.  “Ma, pull over now – that motel is refrigerated!”

I think the draw would be the history itself, the tale of the Mother Road, the pop culture, the scenic route. There MUST be a story as to why they chose those two words “TELEPHONES and REFRIGERATED” – I’m sure it is something historic, maybe the Munger Moss was the first motel to have telephones and “refrigerated” in the rooms. Whatever the reason – next time you find yourself on Route 66 in Missouri tired from the long haul – check out the Munger Moss Motel, stay in the Route 66 room, take a dip in the pool to cool down and relax, enjoy the antique toy truck collection in the office, say hello to owners Bob and Ramona. Take in the history and listen to the stories of fellow road travelers and most of all “get your kicks on Route 66.”

Book Review – Light A Penny Candle – Maeve Binchy

lightpennyMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

Evacuated from Blitz-battered London, shy and genteel Elizabeth White is sent to stay with the boisterous O’Connors in Kilgarret, Ireland. It is the beginning of an unshakeable bond between Elizabeth and Aisling O’Connor, a friendship that will endure through twenty turbulent years of change and chaos, joy and sorrow, soaring dreams and searing betrayals. Through those years of friendship Aisling and Elizabeth wind in and out of each other’s lives. As they grow, fall in love, through happy times and disappointments, they come to realize that not all troubles will be solved, nor all wishes granted by lighting a penny candle.
I first read Light a Penny Candle years ago when I was a teenager, it was the first Maeve Binchy book I read and by far my favorite, and through the years I have re-read it several times. I have read all of Binchy’s books, most are what I would call “easy reads” – light hearted and warm but a bit predictable.  However when I recently read Light a Penny Candle again and remembered why I loved it so much and I still find myself completely immerse in the story.

The characters are well written and strong; the story is one of friendship and the growth, struggle and joys that happen along the way.  Maeve Binchy paints a glorious story of the lives and loves of two women bound together by friendship.  I felt as though I was right alongside Aisling and Elizabeth in Ireland watching them grow into adulthood and confront family conflicts, love affairs, and failed marriages.

The story evolves over 1940s to 1960s, and illuminates the stifling lack of privacy typical of small-town life.

The only thing I disliked was the abrupt ending – it left me thirsting for more (a sign of a good book if you ask me), I wanted to know what happened to Aisling and Elizabeth after the book ended.

Over the years, each time I would reached for a new Maeve Binchy book I found myself thinking of the girls of “Light a Penny Candle” where were they nao and how were they doing.  I still have my original book (I got it from a church book swap) – it is old, tattered, and worn, but opening up its pages brings me home to a place I feel happy and comfortable, home to Kilgarret!

Spiders & Mentors (or Things That Leave Marks on Your Life)

A few months ago I awoke in the morning with a few spider bites in a rather inappropriate place (my left bosom). The bites were nasty, but with medication and time the infection stopped and I was left with 5 small scars to remember him by.  One night with my eight legged intruder that I will remember each time I get dressed!

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There have been a few people in my life that have left their mark as well. My Mom, whose strength and courage never ceased to amaze me. Mom raised seven girls by herself after my father’s death. Five of us were the ages teenage to four years old. Mom taught us that we could do anything and be anyone we wanted, that no one could stop us – she gave me strength, courage, humor, patience, love and so much more. (I’ll write more about Mom later.)

Mr. Owen, my 10th grade English teacher who taught me to never take myself too serious but always have a purpose! Mr. Owen, kept things light and fun but taught us along the way. I remember him swinging from the desk to desk and speaking to “Harvey” (the invisible rabbit from the James Stewart movie Harvey). Not everyone in the class understood “Harvey” but thanks to my Mother’s taste in good movies and Sunday family movie night, I knew exactly who Mr. Owen was talking too. Mr. Owen was also the first person who got me interested in writing; his feedback was never negative and he was always open to my point of view.

My high school Guidance Counselor (her name escapes me but trust me I will remember it!) – she left a mark on my life when she told me that if I continued to hang around with a certain young man, who later became my husband, that I would regret it and that he would amount to nothing and bring me down with him. I ended up marrying that young man and while after 26 years of marriage we separated (and still are) – I NEVER regretted marrying him as it is because of our wild ride over those years that I grew to become who I am today. I also have a wonderful family because of him so there is no doubt it was a good decision!  She was even wrong about him amounting to nothing as he was a very good Soldier who saved many lives and continues to serve his country today.

I met Becky in grade nine. Becky was “an original” she never caved to peer pressure or cared what others thought, she was a free spirit and that sometimes got her a bit osterized. But Becky danced to her own drummer (probably one playing a bad TV series theme song) and I loved that about her! Her strength always amazed me and when she “outed” herself to me – I admired her strength and conviction. Even though over the years we have lost touch, as we leave in 2 separate counties, whenever our lives do cross paths it is like we are back in high school dishing over the latest gossip.

My former boss and friend, Tammy, who showed me that women can be a strong influence in the work place. Tammy ran the large organization, that I still work for, for many years – she has since moved up the ladder to a position of higher authority where she can make a bigger difference. Tammy always held her ground and stood up for what she knew was right, but also knew how to give a little when necessary and pick her battles. Tammy treated everyone with respect and encouraged her employees to reach beyond their limitations to accomplish their goals.

These are just a handful of people that have moved in and out of my life. As a Military Spouse I have met many, many people who have left footprints on my heart, who have taught me many things (good and bad). Everyone who I have ever spent time with, from my youth to present, is etched within my soul and has altered my character – you can say that I am the product of many.

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Like that spider who befriended me that fateful night, I see the marks of all the people who made a difference in my life. I see them in the decisions I make, words I speak, and paths I travel. I hope that in turn, I will be able to make a mark on the life of at least one person – a friend, a coworker, a family member or a stranger. I hope that in my life time, I will be able to make a difference, even a small one, to someone.