Road Trip

Excerpt From Jane's World

I like a good road trip, even if it's only a two-hour trip to Madison. There is always something interesting to see or do, along with some familiar sights.

One of the first things I yell out while driving east on Highway 14 is “Got ham!” I don't think we've ever made it through Gotham without my screaming this and Dane nearly driving into the ditch. I'm not sure why my exclamation continues to surprise him.

I still get a kick out of Peck's, Heck's, and Peck's, three vegetable and fruit sellers along the road. It seems so silly to me that they are so close together. I love to chant, "Peck's, Heck's, and Peck's" as we drive by. Often I've stopped at Peck's #1 to pet the animals. Heck's is worth a yearly visit to see if they have any cool new statues. They usually don't. 

Once I insisted we stop in the Firm Worm in Arena. I had been admiring the name for quite a while and finally convinced Dane to pull over. It was a real bust. The store didn't have anything of interest and the worms looked anything but firm. If you wanted to stock up on booze, though, it would have been worth a stop. Evidently, we weren’t the only ones not impressed with the Worm because it closed a short time later. Now it has reopened as the Crappie Shop. I've yet to check it out.

That same day, after leaving the Worm disappointed, we got back onto Highway 14. Dane had bought something nonalcoholic to drink, and we were on our way again. I was looking down when Dane suddenly yelled, “Holy crap!” as the car swerved sharply to the right and he slammed on the brakes. I glanced around, expecting to see a dead animal in the road. Dane had jerked the wheel as he shouted, and I thought surely we had run over something. 

Dane flung open the door, jumped out, and ran back in the direction we had come from, as I looked on in amazement, not quite believing my eyes. There was money everywhere! Money in the road, money floating through the air as cars rushed by, and money in the ditch. Other cars stopped as Dane ran around like a madman, grabbing the bills and shoving them into his pockets. 

I got out of the car, still stunned and trying hard to grasp the scene. Dane was shouting at the other people, “It's my money!” Pieces of the puzzle began to come together. Dane had left his wallet on top of the car when we drove away from the Firm Worm. The wallet eventually flew off, and all his cash flew out! I tried to assure Dane that people were only grabbing his money to try to help. It was all over the road by now, and every car that went by blew it around some more. Chasing down the flying bills was no easy feat.

I'm not sure how many singles Dane had in his wallet that day. It looked like at least a hundred dollars in one-dollar bills being tossed about. When all the money was finally accounted for, we walked up and down the ditch until we found his wallet.

We got on the road once more, and soon we were in Mazomanie, where I begged Dane to stop at the shop advertising “Black Hills Gold.” They have a silver section that we love looking at. I once found a sterling silver buffalo there and surprised Dane with it for his birthday. You’d think, if he wanted to throw his money around, that would be a better place to do it.

Unfortunately, Dane was still fuming over the wallet fiasco, not quite ready to laugh. I, of course, had been laughing nonstop for the past few miles.

The rest of the trip was pretty low-key. Dane eventually saw the humor in what had happened. After all, he did manage to recover all his money and his wallet. Now when we go on a road trip to Madison and pass that spot, instead of yelling out something obnoxious I poke him and throw my hand up like I'm tossing money out the window. Dane just flashes me his hundred-dollar smile.

Originally Published March 23rd, 2017 in the Crawford County Independent & Kickapoo Scout

Every week Jane shares excerpts from her weekly column, Jane's World.