The Lap Of Luxury

By nature I’m a bit of a planner. A list-maker. And while I like to think that I’m just a person who wants to be prepared, I think there’s probably a little OCD in the mix. I mean, I am a person who typed out an itinerary for a SPRING BREAK TRIP in college, so basically, you know, I’m crazy.

So last Thursday, when certain aspects of Paul’s condition started to come to light, I started to make some plans. It wasn’t anything maudlin – just the pending matters of What To Do With The Child, How To Get To Jackson, When Would We Go To Pensacola, etc. Practical stuff, really.

When we first heard about funeral arrangements and realized that there was going to be a second memorial service in Paul’s hometown, Polly Planner here went straight to the phone. I called a hotel chain, asked about their properties in the area, and made a reservation. I knew that some of the girls would want to go, and I figured we would need a place to sleep. Being proactive was oddly comforting to me.

Late Monday afternoon, after the first memorial service in the town where Elise lives, Tracey, Merritt, Wendi and I got in the car and set out for the Mississippi Delta, which is such a unique place geographically and culturally that it deserves a blog of its own. Since I’m a girl who grew up in the piney woods of central Mississippi, I just can’t do the Delta justice, but it was always one of my favorite places to visit when I was in college. It’s a place where family is everything and cotton is king, and I’m fascinated by every single aspect of it.

It was getting late when we finally got to the hotel, which I won’t mention by name but may or may not rhyme with Barefield Binn, and it seemed like a pretty nice place, all nestled up against the Mississippi River levy, only blocks away from the church and the cemetery we’d be visiting the next morning. It seemed functional, efficient, practical – exactly what we needed.

But I think maybe the first indicator that it wasn’t quite time for me to pat myself on my planning back was that our “doormen” were a couple of stray cats who were jumping in the garbage can by the front door and – I kid you not – leaping out of the garbage can with chicken bones in their mouths. Merritt seemed concerned that the cats weren’t being taken care of and thus had been forced to forage for food, but I was just concerned that there were HUNGRY CATS LEAPING IN AND OUT OF THE GARBAGE CAN. That has to be some sort of urban legend omen. Has to be.

Once we got in the lobby and looked around, we had to wait a few minutes behind a gentleman who was also checking in. I couldn’t help but laugh when he asked the girl behind the desk if his reservation was for a smoking room, and when he heard that yes, it was, he replied, “Well, it’s a good thing – because if it’s not, it will be when I leave!” And then he went into a full-fledged coughing fit, which I feel is perhaps an indicator that he might should, you know, stop all the smoking. But maybe that’s just me.

I should probably tell you that Wendi and Merritt, who were roommates in college, are scaredy-cats extraordinaire. Before we even got to the hotel, they were plotting all the ways they were going to ensure our safety, either by moving furniture in front of the door, or – my favorite – PUTTING TACKS UNDERNEATH THE WINDOW, because, as we all know, tacks are an EXCELLENT crime deterrent, cited far and wide by Safety Experts as the #1 way to stop a BAND OF THIEVES dead in their tracks. I mean, a deadbolt lock can only do so much…you really need those tacks under the window to provide some extra peace of mind.

Once we got up to the room, we immediately noticed that it wasn’t just humid – it was DAMP. Borderline wet. The window unit was pumping out cool air, but seeing how the humidity in the Delta is about 98% at all times, we were pretty much standing in the middle of a cold sauna. And no way were we going to let our feet touch that wet-ish carpet. Oh no ma’am. Flip flops would be the order of the day – or night, as it were.

Everybody immediately got ready for bed – we were exhausted and pretty desperate for sleep. Merritt did read a page or two from her book (I had to include that detail because it’s something that has never happened before, and I wanted to capture the moment for all posterity – a bit of heritage for her children, if you will), but we went to sleep pretty quickly. Safe and sound, snuggled in our semi-wet beds. Just a little piece of heaven on earth, it was.

You can imagine our delight when, around 2:30 in the AM, the fire alarm in the hall sounded with the force of all nature. The four of us leapt out of bed so quickly that Tracey, when recounting our luxurious overnight stay, said, “All I could see were arms and legs flailing everywhere.” I think what tickles me the most is that, despite the fact that an alarm was blaring and we were awakened from a deep sleep, not a single one of us hit the floor without getting our feet in flip flops first. Because, I mean, if you’re in a fire, your number one concern is almost certainly preventing direct contact between the damp carpet’s mold and mildew spores and your bare feet. Right?

As it turns out, it was a false alarm – though that didn’t keep Wendi from plotting our escape as we dashed around the room with no particular destination in mind. We were all sort of running from bed to bed, from door to window, not doing a single one of the things you learn to do in fire drills, and at one point I heard Wendi say, “You know, we’re only on the 2nd floor. It’s not that far a jump, girls! It’s not that far a jump! I’ll get that TV and throw it through the window and we’ll be out of here in no time! I’ll throw it right through the window!”

The mother of four children, ladies and gentlemen!

We all slept fitfully for the rest of the night – and just like college, Tracey was the last one to get out of bed the next morning (by the way, one of my favorite tales from our week together was when T., who has three children, told her husband, in all seriousness, “Imagine something that you really dread doing. Something you HATE doing. That’s how I feel about getting out of bed in the morning”). And if you’ve doubted my assertions of the high level of humidity in the room, I offer you one more detail as proof: when I was putting on my make-up, the brush that I use for blush was wet. Not that I’d run it under the faucet or anything – it had just been sitting in my make-up bag.

Can’t wait to make YOUR family some reservations at the Barefield Binn, can you?

But you know, just like everything we’ve ever done together, the whole experience was oddly fun – not in a Oh-I-Can’t-Wait-To-Do-That-Again sort of way, but in a Well-If-I-Have-To-Stay-In-A-Hotel-With-Scavenging-Cats-And-An-Abundance-Of-Mildew-I’m-Glad-I-Was-With-Y’all sort of way.

The stuff of memories, you know?

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  1. That is too hallarious, You in the mix Boomama I can just see ya’ll jumpin up with that fire alarm!!!
    I absolutely love your sence of humor. You totally crack me up!
    I am so glad you are back,you were missed.

  2. I came from Diane’s blog & have read through your front page. Your experiences over the past week hits me directly as just over a year ago I was going through what your friend, Elise, is now when my Annie, to whom I had been married over 37 1/2 years, left me to go be with the Lord at only 62 years of age.

    We had both lost our parents to death & that was hard, but loosing the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with is the hardest thing I have ever had to face. I guess loosing a child would be right up there, too.

    Now Elise has a lot of people around her. In a few weeks, after everyone else returns to their lives, she will really need contact with others. Her life has been turned upside down & will never be the same again. Stay in contact with her.

    Last Sunday, the 23rd, was the one year anniversary of Annie’s death. On Valentine’s Day I found a wonderful poem posted on a friends blog that I felt could have been written by Annie for me. I posted it on my blog (with permission) that day and again last Sunday. You might go read it. I find it comforting and if you agree you might want to send a copy of it to Elise.

    My prayers are with she & her boys. And with all the rest of you who knew & loved Paul.

  3. I’m taking a break from sorting through EVERY PIECE OF PAPER MY CHILD EVER, EVER BROUGHT HOME FROM SCHOOL and I clicked over just on the off-chance that you had posted something new for my information or entertainment. BooMama, I cackled out loud over Wendi and the TV! I can just picture y’all flip-flopping furiously around, and Wendi wanting to throw the TV through the window so y’all can plummet gracefully down 2 stories, LOL. ;-) Thanks for the laugh, BooMama. I really needed that one. :-)

    Okay, back to sorting through another box of school memorabilia. Why did I ever think Jessica would want this stuff??? :-)

  4. Merritt says:

    YEAH!!!! I wish you had included the pictures of all of our feet in the flip-flops/slippers… Just in case anyone needed proof! Nobody can tell it like you!!! I would do it all over again in a New York minute! Only this time I would bring my earplugs — you forgot to mention that SOMEONE snored : )

  5. Wondering who ‘someone’ is that snored? You perhaps?

    I’m glad to hear that fun memorable times were there even through the sad circumstance that put you all together.

    Visit me at my new site (old site) whenever you get a chance…


  6. A-hahahahahahahahahahaha — that was TOO funny. It’s only 2 STORIES — that’s only about 24 FEET!!! Who’s IN!!

    DId I mention you crack me up?

  7. She’s Back! Hooray!

  8. That was hilarious..sounds like me and my friends from school.

  9. I wasn’t quite prepared for the whole television throwing as a means of an escape route description. My nose is still stinging as I was drinkning some orange juice at the time. You gotta warn people with stuff like that, S. Although, I should’ve known something was coming down the pipe with the parties involved. It’s glad to have you back on the blogwagon. Thanks for making me laugh, sosobee. Please give Boo a hug for me.

  10. tracey and i should talk because i hate getting out of bed in the morning too.

    glad you found time to laugh during this difficult time. i’ve been keeping your friend in my prayers.

  11. Laughing through tears…this is why we all love you, BooMama!

  12. You are stinkin hilarious!!! The true south is such a funny place. We crack up every time we go home!!!

  13. Is the Tour of Homes still on for tomorrow?

  14. I feel exactly the same about parting. The only way I can explain our bond to others is to say that we can just look at each other and start laughing. Katy called and told me to read the blogs. Kate and Adam think I am crazy. They can’t understand how I can be laughing my head off with tears in my eyes. I honestly will be jealous (even though that is not a Christian like emotion) if Katy moves to Madison. Everyone please look at Sept. 30 for a BR trip. I love you all.

  15. i can’t imagine what it’s been like for you the last couple of weeks, or for elise. what a phenomenal group of friends you are!

  16. This is just like Steele Magnolias… All southern declarations and ingenuity, even at, especially at, 2:30 in the morning. I can totally see that one playing out in my head.

    Only question I have is this: Who would be Weaser?

    Glad that you can find some comfort amongst the pain and loss. That really is a God-send for you all.

  17. Oh, but you have been missed. I agree with Merritt… nobody can tell it like you can!

  18. Yes re: Tour of Homes…I’m posting an update in just a little while…trying to wrestle with Daddy’s DIAL-UP. :-)

  19. I needed that giggle! Hope you’re able to relax a bit.

  20. Lea Margaret says:

    I spat on the computer because I was laughing so. You mean Tracey and Merritt were not both reading? You know that was a revelation at lunch on Monday that they were reading the same book! BM,you so got my homeland right. The Delta is a very colorful place. I am so proud of the TV throwing Delta girl. I knew she had it in her!

  21. Worst hotel memory- As a kid we went on vacation somewhere in the mountains. We woke up with FLEA BITES! Oh, yes we did. Pretty sure that the green pool was not a problem after that.

  22. You know what stuck out the most for me in the story of your trip? If I die at a young age, please, please, please enjoy yourselves like you were able to in the Delta. I know y’all are very, very sad for Elise, but I’m glad you were able to have a fun time. If I know my friend Merritt, she even washed the bag that her overnight clothes were in on the trip (or she may have been too busy reading – READING??)

  23. Oh too funny. I had that happen to me once when I went on vacation to FL. The fire alarm went off in the middle of the night. Being a woman. The first thing I did was grab my purse. Ya gotta have your purse you matches so well with your robe lol.

  24. I have been following your story with your friends….I live in that MS Delta and know pretty much where you stayed! I have some connections here at my church with your friend’s family. People have been praying for them.

  25. Oh my goodness!! I’m sorry for all you and your friend have been thru tho, sorry I haven’t been around to give support these past few days. *hugs*

  26. I can just picture the release you all experienced in that awful hotel room. There’s nothing quite so cleansing as a great laugh. It brought back memories of the trip to Miami Beach I took with my sis and friend to attend our church’s international convention. This was the WORST place I’d ever been in. We got there in the middle of the night and, as your experience, everything was very damp – including the cockroaches crossing the floor! We slept as fast as we could and hightailed it out of there in the morning to find a different place to stay.

    Elise is in my heart. I know it will be hard to face the next months, but she has great friends!

  27. I MUST say that was one I am glad I opted out. Seeing Marion read would not be near enough thrill for those wet makeup brushes.

  28. Y’all are priceless! I do believe I would have lost it with the wet make up brush myself! And I’m thinking that if you’re ever in a crisis situation, Wendi’s the one you would want with you.

    “It’s not that far a jump, girls! It’s not that far a jump! I’ll get that TV and throw it through the window and we’ll be out of here in no time! I’ll throw it right through the window!”

  29. I love it! That is too funny ~ fun-aye!!!

  30. Finally, a post that doesn’t make me cry! :) I got quite a chuckle out of this one. :)

  31. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us. I really feel like I’m getting to know you better everytime I read your blog.