Mother, Curator Jessica and I took off for Steele this morning – eight miles from the Arkansas border – to photograph a Bootheel farmer I met at the Altenburg museum last week.
No journey ever takes us from Point A to Point B directly back to Point C, so we wandered around in New Madrid County for a bit, then meandered all over places that I’m not sure even the Lady in the Sky who lives in my GPS has ever heard of.
Let me explain the division of labor here: my job is to drive and keep us from getting killed by wayward 18-wheelers. The job of the Road Warriorette is that of Navigator, responsible for directing the Driver toward food and lodging (and, as we will find later, Natural Breaks).
We left New Madrid with the sun high in the sky and decided to find some roads that skirted the Mississippi River, some of which must have followed the paths of drunken cows. Shortly after I pointed out that we had already been through a particular intersection at least twice, we ended up going down a road aptly bearing a sign, Dead End, that led to a well-kept Sugar Tree Ridge Cemetery.
With the sun going down on one side and the moon coming up on the other, I suggested that Mother might want to start rationing the cookies we had brought along: “This might be a long night.”
A farmers work is never done
We weren’t the only ones picking our way though the dark: we spotted lights on farm equipment dotting the countryside.
We hadn’t seen a car behind us for an hour, but the moment I stopped in the road to take this photo, I heard the whizzz of one passing us. I’m glad he had room to pass: most of the bridges out there were labeled “One-Lane Bridge.” They didn’t bother to note that the road wasn’t much wider than the bridge.
A natural break
With 43 miles to go, my Navigator gently suggested that the trip would be much more pleasant for her if we would stop at the next convenient place for her to take, as they say in the Tour de France, a “natural break.”
While waiting for a chance to get back on I-55, we spotted this one-eyed truck coming toward us. Navigator Jessica asked if I had ever played “padiddle.”
Having led a sheltered life, I had to confess that I had heard the phrase, but didn’t know exactly how to play it or exactly what it was. My navigator demurred providing details.
Basic rules of Padiddle and Pedunk
Google being our friend, I was enlightened by the Urban Dictionary: A game in which you look for cars with headlight or foglight out (padiddle) [also spelled pididdle] or tail light (pedunk) and call it out. When someone correctly calls a padidle or pedunk, all members of the opposite sex present must remove an article of clothing.
Example: Padiddle! You have to take off your shirts.
Our trip from Missouri to Ohio has just become a lot more interesting.
As always, click on the photos to make them larger. Alas, there are no padiddling photos available.