Maloneys on Tour

September, 1999


Yes! It's not toasted, it's not dated, but look out----it's imitated! The Read and Delete Newsletter for August and September 1999 is officially in your face!

ON THE HOME FRONT-- James is back in school, now frustrating the second-grade teaching staff. There aren't many seven year olds who can get a bad behavior notice and have the teacher apologize for it. James and another boy were playing during recess, and the teacher thought they were fighting. She reprimanded them and wrote up the paperwork. James, always polite, waited for the teacher to finish before explaining the situation to her. The other boy corroborated the story, and the teacher is still scratching her head. 
Peter is now in pre-school, in head-to-head competition with the speech teacher. Peter is pretty adamant about how he wants to talk. So much so that he is trying to change the teacher's enunciation to his own. (Peter's dialect is a cross between Opie Taylor and an Indian character in a cheap western.) He tells me things like, " Daa-ie, The tea-er ties to may me taw fuh-ie. I no yike it." He may win this battle. He's pretty well entrenched. I'm afraid that the speech teacher might call me up and say, " Mr. Mo-ie, Pee-er taw yike uh-er yittle boys he yage. He O.K. Pee-er be big boy soon." 
Wendy is back at the reins of higher education, teaching immigrants that the language spoken over drive-thru speakers is not proper English. She was looking for a videotape that would demonstrate the English language--- I suggested that she tape a few episodes of "Jerry Springer" and "The Price is Right"( the two most used skills in communication are arguing and selling, right?) -- but she opted for "Groundhog Day", with Bill Murray. This proves that there is a reason why I'm not an English teacher. 

MALONEYS ON TOUR--Last month we took our camper down to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (Smoky Mountain National Park) The boys got quite a kick out of camping right next to a mountain stream, and we got to do some hiking too. We went to the top of Clingman's Dome (6600ish ft.- the highest point in Tennessee) and the boys acted like we climbed Mt. Everest. We drove around some inside the park on the motor trails (until we had a wheel bearing go bad), and I had a first-rate culture shock buying auto parts outside Gatlinburg. 
I went to the local NAPA store and asked for a wheel bearing to fit a 1990 Caravan. The clerk put down his gun magazine, pulled up his suspenders, waddled up to the counter, looked me over and said, " We ain't got much call for them foreign car parts. I'll hafta look." I was going to say something, but I looked out into the parking lot and saw three rusty old Ford pickups (with corrugated tin body repairs and rifle racks) standing alone- so I decided that if my Dodge minivan was a foreign car, then foreign car parts were just fine with me. The bearings were $4.00 each, the tub of grease was $0.82 and the channel-lock pliers (American-made) were $6.50.There was a picture of Jimmy Carter hanging on the wall. I got out of there before the kid with the banjo could challenge me to a duel.
The true joy of motoring comes from towing a loaded pop-up camper through the mountains with a marginally powered minivan and ending up on the flats of North Carolina in 100 degree weather (200% humidity). It was 65 degrees on the top of old smoky when we left it, but by the time we got near Charlotte, we thought it was just a hair warm until we looked at the thermometer. 99 degrees. We don't use the air conditioner when we tow, (it keeps the cooling system from having a hernia) but for two hours we weren't uncomfortable with the heat. Then we stopped. As soon as the van came to a full stop, the humidity got us. Within fifteen seconds we were all drenched in sweat and choking for breath. My brother, who lives down there, turns on his a/c in April and turns it off in October. But don't let me kid you. It was a fun trip. We got to see a lot of new places, and spend some time with my brother and his family.
Two weeks ago Wendy and I got to go camping without the kids at a church couples retreat. It was a quiet, romantic weekend for all 23 of us. (One of the speakers' wives was detained, but the husband came anyway) Wendy and I provided some of the music. We played our guitars together at the bonfire. One of the high points of the weekend was when one of the husbands turned to another and said, "I'm glad I got to know you, Dave." To which the response was, "My name is Mark." Oops!

Anyway, on that cheery note, we will close. Next week we will take our cemetery tour. (No, I'm not shopping for plots) I was web-surfing and came across some interesting sites. You've got to see this! 

Gotta go, the barium is getting cold.