This weekend was a bit eventful. My girls and I were traveling to Dublin – Ohio, not Ireland – for a soccer tournament and planned to enjoy ourselves as fully as possible. We packed clothes for all types of weather, thereby assuring the forecast for sunny and 70 degrees remained accurate.
We fueled the car, said our goodbyes and even hit the road within 15 minutes of our planned departure time.
After such an uneventful start, how could I know what would await us?
We traveled for nearly two hours when the girls decided they were hungry. My plan was to swing through the drive-through so we could arrive at the hotel before dark, but the girls needed to use the bathroom, so we pulled into the lot. I ordered, paid and received our food before they re-emerged, then we were back on our way.
About 30 minutes – and miles – later, my oldest shot up like she was struck by lightning and said, “Oh, crap! I left my class ring in the bathroom at the Wendy’s!” I can’t really repeat what I said to that, this being a family newspaper and all, but I jumped off the next exit and turned around as fast as I felt was prudent.
As we traveled back toward Wendy’s, I called my brother and asked if he could play technosleuth for me. Could he please Google what Exit 160 off I-70 was called, and then see if he could find a Wendy’s nearby and get their phone number for me? He agreed, and succeeded.
I quickly called, and by the grace of God, someone found the ring and turned it in to management. It was being held in the safe for us until we made it back. We retrieved it and set out again. I only mentioned once or twice how we should have been checking into our room at the time we departed Wendy’s on the second round.
Other interesting happenings included having a hotel door that refused to open, nearly getting rear-ended by a teenage driver on an Ohio parkway and assisting a lost trucker with directions. Yes, me – the nearly phobic when lost – was able to help an experienced driver find his way.
We were on our way home, following an 18-wheeler for several miles, wondering why he would be on the road he was on, when we saw him pull over. Thinking perhaps he was looking for one of the many gas well sites nearby, I pulled over to offer some assistance.
But when he showed me his paperwork, I realized he should have taken Exit 11 in Triadelphia, W.Va., and instead took Exit 11 in Taylorstown. He thanked me for my help and then performed a multi-point turn to head back the way he came.
My girls were impressed. “Who would have thought YOU could have helped him, Mom?” one girl said. “Yeah, you can barely find your way home on your own,” the other chimed in.
But we did find our way home, and after the weekend’s events, including a championship for my oldest daughter’s team, I was quite ready to do so.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.