Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Trip to the Renaissance Festival

How many incidences have occurred in your life which you look back on now and just laugh? At the time, however, you were either so angry or embarrassed or scared, that you saw absolutely nothing funny. You never thought you would ever see the humor in it. And today when you try to tell someone else the story, you can hardly get the words out for laughing.

Have you ever had the opposite happen? As you lived the event you were in hysterics, tears ran down your face, your sides ached from laughing. Today, you can smile nostalgically when you share the story, but any tears that bubble up in your eyes are not brought on by joy.

It was August 1994. My sister and I had talked for several years about going to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, just north of where her college friend Phyllis lived. We finally made the arrangements and a friend of Pat’s from work, Angie, came along and drove. We were going to stay for free in Phyllis’s basement apartment and just have a fun all-girls weekend.

One problem. Pat had been diagnosed with cancer the year before. The specialists all had hoped that the hysterectomy had gotten all the cancer and didn’t see any reason for further treatment. A year later, though, the terrible pain returned in her abdomen. The doctor set her up for some tests the following week, gave her some pain pills and told her to have a good weekend.

I don’t know how other people function on Vicodin, but it quickly became obvious that my sister could not. Luckily, Angie and I were able to find Belle Plaine, Minnesota, without Pat’s help. But when we tried to find Phyllis’s, we were useless and turns out so was Pat.

We hadn’t even brought along the address because Pat kept swearing she knew exactly where she lived, right across from the school. With my sister in her own little narcotic world in the back seat, we thought, it would still be ok, Belle Plaine was a small town and we should be able to find the school. Wrong.

In the dark, we must have driven up and down every one of the twelve or so streets in town without success. About the time we pulled into a convenience store to ask for directions, Pat’s head popped up in the back seat. As Angie went inside and asked where the school was, Pat, watching through the window, began to heckle the gas station attendant as her arms swung to and fro pointing out the streets we had to take.

“She isn’t even pointing to where the school is.”

“Pat,” I answered as best I could through my giggles. “You don’t even know what state we are in.”

“Oh, you silly, I know we are in Minnesota.”

“Are you sure?” I had to tease.

“Umm, I think so. Unless you guys got us lost.”

Angie got back in the SUV and immediately joined our laughter without even asking what was so funny. Somehow we found the school, and the house where Phyllis lived. We were still in hysterics as we stumbled down her stairs and she just thought we were nuts.


Patti Lacy said...

Nice blog! So proud of you, Chris.

Chris Loehmer said...

Thanks, Patti, make sure you read tonights....