Summer vacation for me this year was the RWA Conference and afterwards a long road trip up through some of the western states on the way home. By the time we got home I felt like a little fourth grader whose teacher asked everyone in the class to write about what they'd learned on their summer vacation.
My paper would have looked like this:
I learned that when the road sign says it is 103 miles to the next services they mean ALL services, not just high dollar gasoline and ice cream sandwiches that cost four bucks a piece. And that 103 miles is different when driving across the desert than it is when driving to Oklahoma City for a shopping trip.
I learned that no services also means no bathrooms!
And that it is not a good time to hydrate oneself. I learned that 60 ounces of water will swell up the bladder the size of a watermelon and that the skinny cactus out there by that barbed wire fence is worthless as a place to hide.
The signs for the next service station started to tease me fifty miles back as I crossed and uncrossed my legs, thought about everything but water and cursed every mirage of a mud puddle out there in the Mojave.
Finally, three days past eternity, the exit arrived. I felt like Christmas had arrived. I bailed out of the car and trotted across the parking lot unaware of the three digit temperatures trying to melt every single fat cell in my body.
I bypassed women who evidently had not just crossed the desert. They were chatting and laughing and telling stories. I heard something about Blake Shelton so I wondered if they were all standing in line for his autograph. Now don't get me wrong, I love Blake Shelton. But there were much more pressing matters at hand than standing in that line to get his autograph. The ladies' room sign beckoned to me and I rushed toward it like a ship in a storm zeroed in on a light house.
When I reached the door I discovered that there were two stalls and the line formed out there in the parking lot. There was no country music stars in the store and the line was the one for those two stalls in the ladies' room. And believe me the women were close enough together that there could be no cutting in line.
There was no line in front of the men's room. They were all out in the store buying soft drinks, candy bars and ice cream. Why? Why? I screamed silently and then I remembered those little green spots out there along the side of the road in the desert and I understood!
Finally, it was my turn and I rushed inside the stall, parked my fanny and sighed. But alas, there was no paper on the holder, not even a couple of squares stuck on the brown roller. Thank goodness, I had a couple of McDonald's napkins in my purse. As I opened the door to let the next customer into the stall I wished that I'd stuffed my suitcases with rolls and rolls of toilet tissue. I could've stood right there and sold it for a dime a square and paid for our trip to California.
And that, teacher, is what I learned on my summer vacation.
And will I use my experience in an upcoming book? Yes, ma'am, I surely will!
About the Author:
Brown's books have been translated into eleven foreign languages and fourteen have been reprinted in large print format. Her books have been reviewed in Library Journal, Booklist, Romantic Times, Romance Reviews Today, Publisher's Weekly, Cataromance, USA Today and Romance Reader At Heart. Two of her romances have been published as Japanese Manga books.
She and her husband have three grown children, enough grandchildren to keep them young and two tom cats that rule the back yard.
Find Carolyn online at
My website is: http://carolynlbrown.com/
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