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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Adventures with Kerri Part I

(Note: Here is another chapter of my Travels With Kerri. Once again you have several choices. You can read the whole thing, read part of it or delete the whole thing and don't tell the author. I will somehow know who my real interested friends are)

Traveling with daughter Kerri is always an adventure and last week was no exception. She performed at Cumberland Community Church in Smyrna. Ga. on Tues. night and that was a pretty uneventful evening as far as mishaps, except that Dick had to drive to and from the event in pouring rain. We arrived in the area early in order to avoid rush hour traffic so had a couple of hours to spend in Cumberland Mall Macy's store. Kerri wanted to purchase some Origins skin crème and while she was talking to the clerk Dick and Ron wandered around the store killing time. Kerri told the girl at the Origins counter that she was doing a comedy show that evening and the girl insisted on doing her makeup which was nice since she wouldn't have to do it herself. So Ron and Dick walked by as she was being made up and just kept walking around in the cosmetics section. All of a sudden Dick came over and said "look Ron is getting made up too". We looked over at the Lancôme counter and this girl had a huge makeup brush and she was just powdering his face and they were laughing and talking. Kerri was flabbergasted that Ron would let a woman put makeup on his face. After Kerri's makeup was finished Dick and Ron came over and joined us and Ron was rubbing his hands over his face and asking how he looked. We of course said he looked wonderful and Kerri said she couldn't believe he had makeup on. Well about that time Ron started laughing and said that Dick had asked the Lancôme lady to pretend to do makeup when in actuality she was only brushing his face with an empty brush. The lady said Ron was the first male she had ever had in her chair and might be the last. Dick gave her a nice tip for going along with their joke so I image she was pleased.

The ladies at the church treated Kerri like a star with a dressing room supplied with a big vegetable platter, cookies, soft drinks, and water and even a bouquet of flowers. Of course we all helped her dispose of the goodies. Ron introduced Kerri on stage and was hilarious; all the women in the audience loved him. Then Kerri did her act for 50 minutes and added a few new mother jokes which everyone loved. Afterwards quite a few women said I was a very good sport. Kerri was very pleased that 3 young women came to see her after one of them bought her book at a book store and emailed her. She asked Kerri to let her know if she was ever performing in Atlanta so Kerri emailed her the date of her performance. Jennifer Fenstamacher and a friend also came which was nice for Kerri. So the evening was quite a success, but we were all exhausted by the time we got home around 1:00 A. M.

The next afternoon; Wednesday, Kerri and Ron went with a group from our church to play bingo at the Ga. War Veteran's home in Milledgeville. Of course the guys loved having a cute young blonde to talk to and she and Ron enjoyed visiting with the guys too. One of the patients had a drawing pad and during the event drew a picture of Kerri and gave it to her when he left. Others asked for her picture and she gave some of them the CD with her and Ron on it. A few of the guys kept asking them to do some of their comedy routines and Kerri said, "no way", but Ron finally agreed to do a few minutes. Dick and I both knew that those guys only want to play bingo, and told Ron he was in for a challenge to which he replied that he had performed for tough audiences before. So before the last game of "blackout" Ron went up and tried his hardest to make the guys laugh. One guy yelled out "keep your day job", but Ron just kept on doing his routine. After a couple of minutes another guy yelled "blackout" so Ron changed his tactics and then just began to thank them for their service to our country to which they all responded favorably. We finished the day with the blackout game and many of the guys stayed and talked to Ron and Kerri and said they enjoyed Ron's comedy. He said that wasn't his toughest audience ever but it ranked right up there with the top 3.

On Thursday evening Kerri and Ron were scheduled to perform at Shorter College in Rome, Ga. so we piled in the car once again and Dick drove the 3 hours to Rome. Now having been in that part of Ga. once before with Kerri I knew that was the area with their own unique accent but felt like we had it mastered after the first trip. Since the college was paying for Kerri and Ron's motel, Dick and I decided (against our better judgment) that we would just stay in the same motel instead of having to drive back and forth between motels. We passed several relatively nice looking motels on the drive into Rome, but it's a small town and doesn't have a Ritz or even a Marriott for that matter. We drove through the downtown area to the west side of town and began to pass through what I called "a little shabby" area. We passed the entrance to Shorter College which looked rather pretty and then continued on until we saw the sign for our motel which shall go unnamed in case some of you have interest in the company. The motel actually sat back off the road behind an auto parts dealer and a used car dealership. We were set if something happened to our car. As we drove up, Kerri said, "see mom there's a pool out in front". The pool was about 6 foot square and was closed for cleaning which wasn't a problem since I was sure none of us would be using it.

To describe the motel as used is an understatement but it had definitely seen better days. When Dick called to make reservations they told him they had suites so he booked one for $75. That should have been a tip off to what we would be getting. So we checked in and unpacked the car and Dick and Ron took the elevator while Kerri and I walked up 2 flights of stairs. No way was I getting in that tiny elevator. Our "suite" consisted of a queen size bed and small loveseat that made a bed plus a small refrigerator and microwave. The first thing I did was go over all the surfaces with an antibiotic wipe. Unfortunately I couldn't go over the stained carpet and furniture. I had visions of contacting a deadly disease and wished I had brought our own bedding. Kerri has learned to travel with her own sheets as she is allergic to so many things. It didn't help any that I had just read an article about bedbugs in all of our hotels in USA Today that morning.

Since it was almost 5:00 and the kids had to be at the college by 6:30 we decided that we should find a place to have something to eat. Dick asked the young man at the desk if he could recommend a "southern" restaurants and he said "not really" so we thought we would just drive until something looked interesting. That took only 3 minutes because as we drove out of the motel entrance we saw "Tammy's" (not the real name) Southern Buffet and Dick said "how about trying that" so we agreed. We also wondered why the young man at the motel hadn't mentioned it if it was good, but we are always up for a new experience in fine dining. We walked in and were greeted by a very friendly young girl who showed us to a booth, took our drink orders, and said help yourself to the buffet. As we got up to walk over to the serving line Dick asked the girl what her name was. She said Christy which I understood very well, but Dick thought she said Tracy (remember the dialect is different up there) and she said no it's Christy. So he asked her to spell it and she did, CHRISTY and then he understood.

Now I have been to a lot of Southern buffets, but I've never visited one that had Chinese good before. It was also interesting that the salads were the first course, followed by desserts, then vegetable, entrees, and then the Chinese dishes. Since Dick is a big dessert fan he didn't mind the desserts being first, but we did wonder how they determined the orders of courses. There was quite a variety of dishes and I tried to sample a fair number but we all agreed that it wasn't going to rank up there with the top southern food we had ever eaten. Even the Chinese food wasn't very good and Dick wondered why I had even tried Chinese food at a southern café and I really had no answer for that question.

Now even though the food wasn't so good, Christy was a treat. She kept coming over to our table and asking if she could get anything for us and of course Dick engaged her in many topics of conversation. We had to listen closely (at least everyone except me did) to understand what she was saying and I had a pen and pad and tried to copy down some of the conversation. The thing is that later I couldn't read my dialect writing. I do know that she said she was from Sinner (Center) Ga. and she had to wop off (wipe off) the table. She had just graduated from high school and was dating a boy younger than she was who was still in school. He should have been a senior but was a sophomore so there was some problem in that scenario. She said they met in church which we heartily approved of and her mother (the other waitress) was standing nearby and heard our conversation. She said she liked the boyfriend and insisted that they go to church because "God don't lak (like) ugly" and we think she meant ugly behavior. She then went further by telling us that he'd better not ever hit her daughter because "you just don't let no man hit you more than once". I was thinking "why even once".

Dick asked Christy why they served Chinese food and she said she didn't know about that, but that the café was owned by a Korean man who owned several other restaurants in town... Well that's when we knew it was providence that we had picked that particular place to eat. Of course we said nothing about Ron being half Korean at first and Dick asked her all about the owner and if he was nice and easy to work for, etc. just to see what she would say. She answered very positively so then Ron told her he was half Korean. In the mean time Kerri went out to the car to get a copy of her book and CD which she signed and gave to Christy as we were leaving and enclosed a $20 bill. Dick also added $20 so I would say that was one happy little girl.

By then it was time to head to the college and get ready for the big show. Kerri had been on the cell phone off and on all day with the student Carrie who arranged their performance and she met us at the entrance gate so we could follow her to the site of the show. Carrie was a very sweet girl who seemed very much in awe of Ron and Kerri. After all they are big stars. Everyone at the college was so nice and friendly and it's always a pleasure for Dick and me to be around Christian young people. The program started with a band playing and leading praise songs. Everyone was asked to stand which we did, but the songs went on and on as praise music tends to do and my back was letting me know it was time to sit down. However, there was a young man in a wheelchair sitting in front of us and he stood with a walker during the singing so I just kept telling myself if he could stand up so could I. Dick told me later that he was saying the same thing. What an inspiration!

There were about 150 kids in attendance and they loved both Kerri and Ron's performances as did we. They served pizza after the show so we met and talked with quite a few of the kids including the young man in the wheelchair and they were delightful and very friendly.

Then it was back to the "Ritz". Dick and Ron had found a wonderful family bakery and bought pastries so they came to our "suite" and we indulged ourselves and talked about the evening's success. Kerri and Ron left and in preparing for bed I removed the bedspread and wished I hadn't when I saw the blanket. It's hard to describe except to say that I wouldn't dare let any part of it touch any part of my body. At least the sheets looked clean and I prayed that they were. I didn't look for bedbugs; ignorance is bliss. Neither Dick nor I slept very well because of the radiator AC which made a lot of noise and I don't think we could relax enough to sleep. I got up early the next morning and walked down to the lobby to check out the free breakfast. There were bagels, white bread slices, cereal, and make your own waffles so I decided to make a waffle. What a mistake as it was tasteless so I threw it away and ate a piece of toast. Fortunately back in the room, there was a leftover donut from the bakery so I added those calories to the toast.

Since Kerri and Ron wanted to sleep in Dick and I explored the shops nearby and spent some time in Tuesday Morning. I just stood in the aisles and listened to the conversations around me and was fascinated that we could be in the same state and have such a different language. Once again I jotted down notes but couldn't read them. I know it was lite, rite, and nite for light, right, and night. When I gave my credit card to the lady at the check out she had it upside down and when she noticed, she said something like, "if I could git yo head up rite I mite can read dat". Or sumpin lite that.

We picked Kerri and Ron up and I told them that at this stage in my life I no longer feel the need to stay at cheap motels that are less than clean. I know that they don't get to pick where they stay as the people who they are performing for book their accommodations, but I'm too old and spoiled to stay at those motels with "atmosphere". I also just mentioned in passing that I felt certain in the near future that their "star" status would merit them staying in five star hotels as well. I don't know where that would be in Rome, Ga. but there had to be something better than where we were.


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