Needing Chutes and Ladders

Beautiful Albemarle Inn of Asheville, NC

Beautiful Albemarle Inn of Asheville, NC

“You know what used to drive me crazy as a kid?” Mom asked as we made the journey by car to Asheville, NC, for some R&R.

“Grandmother telling you that you were going to get cataracts if you hung your head out the car window?”

Mom paused. “Well, that, too. But no, what really worried me was that God didn’t have a birthday. When the preacher would say that God has always been, it worried me. How can you not have a birthday?”

“Or a belly button.”

“A belly button? Glad I didn’t think of that one when I was eight. I wouldn’t have slept for days trying to figure it out.”

We still had an hour and a half to go when the rain hit. And then the hail. We didn’t talk as much then, unvoiced fears of four car pile ups, jaws of life, and a dinged paint job on a car less than a year old hanging thickly in the air. And yet I’d wager that even with the Brillo pad hail and the water pressure like that of Niagara Falls that we’d still have love bug guts on the grill of the car when we stopped.

The rain had finally slackened enough for us to see a few yards off the road when Mom spotted an antique store. I followed her pointer finger and yelled over the noise of the rain, “Don’t think we’ll make that one!”

“We’d need Noah’s Ark to get over there!”

“And even then there’d be the concussion to deal with from the hail!”

“Last thing I need is for someone to hit me on my weak spot!”

After this jolly banter at volume 42, we rode in silence until the rain finally abated. We pulled into the inn’s parking lot at a little past six and stretched from the long ride.

“Look at that,” Mom said with disgust. “There’s still bird poop on the windshield.” If only the betting windows had been open an hour ago.

Inside we found a room worth the ride and deluge. “Look at that carving on the bed!” Mom exclaimed, as she knocked her fist against the headboard to test the quality of the wood. “That’s good stuff,” she declared, but then she took a step back. “How in the world are we supposed to get up there?”

“I think we’re supposed to use the steps.”

Mom took one look at the wicker aid and said, “Yeah, when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I’ll break my neck on those. Take those away.”

I put the offensive baby ladder in the small sitting room and returned to find Mom with one leg scaling the bed, one arm wrapped around the hand carved post, and the other clawing the air for a grip on the headboard. She finally made it with an Oomph! and then leaned over the side to gauge her altitude.

Alley oop!

Alley oop!

“If I roll off in the middle of the night, I’ll be in full body traction until I’m 80.”

I took my own turn in climbing up the other side, and without those baby steps, it was quite a challenge for the hip flexors. That nautilus machine in the gym doesn’t do half the number on your hip that taking a nap in this bed does.

After an hour of watching TV, I heard Mom sigh. “Great. I need to get down. I guess I’ll just make like a fireman and use the poles at the end of the bed.”

I watched with amusement as she maneuvered along her side until she dropped over the edge and I heard her feet make contact with the floor.

“Bend at the knees,” she said and padded off.

© 2014 – Traci Carver


21 responses »

  1. Three cheers for your flexible Mom and her can-do attitude. I’m glad you can be together during these days of remembrance, Traci.

    And I’m happy you both are in a higher altitude (NC) and not in hot, hot Florida these days. What a breath of fresh air you are right now!

    • I hope that you enjoyed your respite from the heat, too! After spending a week one June in Maine, I’m all for being a sand bird and flying north for the summer 🙂

    • It’s definitely not a starter bed for a toddler! But I’m sure a death would make a wonderful ghost story for the old house … Not that I want to be the ghost 🙂

    • We were thankful it was made from sturdy wood considering the grip she had to take to pull herself up. But we do try to have fun no matter what comes our way 🙂

  2. Awww. I need to take my daughter somewhere…without the grandkids, just the two of us. Glad you managed to find respite from the rain…even if you had to climb mountains. I need a step ladder for mine.

    • Mom and I have been on several mother/daughter trips. Maine was the best, but it’s more about the memories along the way. I hope you plan one soon!

  3. Love the ride and the destination. Your Mom sounds like a real character, fun to spend time with. I don’t know that I’d want a bed like that. As you say, one tumble in the middle of the night and traction for long after. Enjoyable post, Traci.

  4. I hope you had a great vacation–once you got through the hail, pondered God, and figured out how to mount and dismount from the bed! It sounds like you had a fun time with all that. 😉

    • In the South I’d say it was for keeping a sow and her pigs underneath. Of course, with the way those piglets can jump, they’d be the only ones in the bed.

  5. Your mom is a riot! Wish I could travel with mine, but she’s been gone since 2009, and ten years of Alzheimer’s before that! 😦 I would have loved to have been able to show her the wondrous things in this country.

    Virtual hugs,


    • My own dad lost his battle to dementia this time last year, so I’m making the most of my time with Mom. Memories are worth so much after they’re gone. Thanks for the encouragement, Judie 🙂

    • It was probably too much philosophy for an anecdote, but I’m glad I could give you something to obsess over. Better than those trivialities of paying bills and raising teenagers 🙂

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