Chapter 13 – Swelling Itching Brain

by Christopher Gronlund on December 26, 2010

When Michael’s put in charge of caring for Lucky, things go very wrong and Mary becomes very angry! Fortunately, there’s a moment of peace between the morning mayhem and arriving at Clyde McAllister’s Gator Village and Civil War Memorial.

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Giveaway Reminder — LAST WEEK!!!

In honor of the holidays, I’m giving away a signed copy of Troy Paiva’s awesome book, Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration (affiliate link), 1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A. & Canada Before You Die (affiliate link), and three copies of Pirato Ketchup’s debut EP.

What do you have to do to have a chance at winning something? Leave a comment for Chapter 10, 11, 12, or 13 telling me what you like about Hell Comes With Wood Paneled Doors. Sharing a story about a favorite road trip works, too!

On January 8, 2011 — on what would have been Elvis Presley’s birthday — I’ll assign a number to everybody who replied and randomly select 5 winners.

Oh, and don’t worry if you live outside of the United States — I’ll still send things your way if you win.

Okay, on to this week’s chapter!

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J.J. Abrams’s “Mystery in a Box” TED Talk.

{ 6 comments }

Tammy December 27, 2010 at 9:58 am

From the few chapters I’ve listened to, I love Michael’s sarcasm. I really need to catch up! I wanted to share a bit of my own trip from hell, but it’s best to send you to my journal rather than explain it all.

St. Martin:
http://amavia.livejournal.com/175054.html

Click on the “next entry” button (facing RIGHT) to read the following three entries, where getting our stuff stolen gets seriously one-upped by MORE whacked-out stuff.

Christopher Gronlund December 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

I haven’t had anything taken on a trip, and hope I never experience the hell you and Nahn experienced!

Wow…that’s just nuts! (And I agree…it seems weird how you were kept separated from things by staff and then POOF! nothing there…)

Carolina de Witte December 30, 2010 at 11:51 am

I’m still enjoying the story. (I subbed to your feed so I won’t miss any chapters!) As a military ‘brat’, I have plenty of horror stories of my own. (My father was also addicted to ‘roadside attractions’.) Anyway, I can almost relate to this story.(Almost, cos we never had a ‘possessed’ car!)

Christopher Gronlund December 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I’m glad you’re still enjoying the story, Carolina. I took many a road trip with my father in cars that may as well have been possessed as much as they broke down or ran out of gas.

We had a Toronado that had alignment problems and was prone to having its front tires blow out…which always made for a fun time on the highway at 80 mph…

Carolina de Witte December 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm

OMG!! Burma Shave signs! I LOVED those. Reading them was often the ‘highlight’ of the trip for me! (Oops! I just pretty much gave away my age…LOL!) Still, I do miss them. I almost feel sorry for kids today…they missed a lot of ‘cool’ stuff!

Christopher Gronlund December 30, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I came along right after Burma Shave ads, but I remember my mom talking about them and they sounded cool.

I saw plenty of other places using the technique on the highway; it’s probably how the Burma Shave ad conversation came up. On rare occasions, I still see some signs on roads that owe a tip of the hat to Burma Shave.

Some of my friends still pile in their car/mini van and head off on the highways in search of adventure. A good friend and his wife have taken their daughters all over the place; they’re very lucky kids and love seeing the National Parks out west. But I agree: I feel for a lot of kids today. My wife and I have chatted about how we’re one of the last generations to really play outside without having adults around. I can only think of a few friends who’ve taken their families on long road trips to see cool things; whereas when I was younger, almost all my friends — whether they liked it or not — were crammed into backseats with siblings and forced to see America.

I’m sure as a kid I would have loved having DVD players in the car, but I’m glad we played silly games based on things we saw out on the highway — and that I know the excitement of going into Stuckey’s and buying all kinds of things to keep myself busy as we rolled along flat lands offering not much in the way of scenery for hours.

It really was cool. I remember some of those trips being hell as a kid, sitting between a big sister and big step brother who picked on me…but when we all got home, if only for a short time, we were all glad to have made the long trip somewhere.

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