Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On The Road Again-Little Girls in Big Trucks Part V

 Once again my eyes opened as a door banged shut. This time it was an apartment door and Rob was the one who went through it. In the dim of the room my body snuggled deeper into the couch as sleep once again claimed me.

At some point later, Jan and I got up and headed for the coffee. Rob graciously left a full pot for us and we greedily partook of his gesture.

Once fully awake the shower beckoned me. It was a delight to perform the morning hygiene routine in a private bathroom instead of the terminal or a truck stop. Maybe that’s why they call it “personal” hygiene.

 Then Jan and I  made plans for the day. The sun was bright and the day promised high temperatures and lots of humidity. That didn’t deter us. We were grateful the heat didn’t reach 115 degrees.
Besides, I was too excited about meeting my friend Pam for lunch that day. She is from Texas but lives in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix.
She and I met in Fort Worth at Tarrant County Junior College while attending Scrub Tech School back in the mid-1990’s and have been good friends ever since. We had not seen each other since she moved to Arizona several years ago.

Although I have been a friend with both women  for a long time, they had never met. It would be a rare occasion that one of my Chicago chums got to meet one from Texas.
Even more extraordinary is the fact that Pam’s boss, Jeff and his wife Chris, both went to Thornridge High School in Dolton, Illinois, our hometown. And Chris was in my class! Until right before our meeting neither of them had any idea they were so closely connected.
The three of us planned to meet at a busy mall near Pam’s home. Jan pulled her red Ford F-250 named “Tigger” into the packed parking lot away from the other vehicles. We planned to go to Victoria’s Secret and were happy to find it on the same side of the mall as our parking space.

This is where Pam found us. Jan  shopped in the store while Pam and I gave each other big hugs and caught up on our lives. It was as if time had barely passed.
Once Jan 's shopping was done we made our way to a local diner for lunch. We sat for a while comparing notes and just enjoying our time together. Jan and Pam warmed to each other like I knew they would. I was in awe. Not because they got along, but because I have such good, good friends. If a person has just one real and true friend he/she is very blessed. But here I sat with two of them. Both have been there for me through mud, flood, hell, and high water. Neither has ever betrayed my trust.
I’m a lucky woman and hope they know how much they mean to me.
Too soon we were waving good-bye. There will definitely be plans in the future to visit Phoenix again. Pam wasn’t able to go out with Jan, Rob, and I that night but next time she’ll join us.

Phoenix felt comfortable and relaxed in spite of the heavy traffic. The browns, aquas, pinks, reds, and ochres of the mountains corralled throughout the city, along with the sorrel cactus and many palm trees were the perfect complement to the structures that dotted the area.
Arizona was new to me and no trip would be complete without a trip to the local Harley-Davidson store. A t-shirt with the store location was calling my name.

The bikes outside the establishment were beautiful, but we headed straight for the clothes and gifts. Even though neither of us rides we could easily spend all day long browsing here.

We’re not just “window shopper” Harley fans. Becoming riders, owning our own Harleys and riding cross country together is on both our bucket lists.

Jan got a pair of boots and socks. My purchase was an oversized muscle shirt to wear over my bathing suit or for sleeping. It’s white with a desert scene complete with cactus and animal skull.

That night Rob took us to a restaurant called Nello’s. I am half-Sicilian, thus I’m pretty particular about Italian food made in restaurants. My grandma’s cooking is the standard my family holds and most restaurants don’t come near it. I have to admit though that Nello’s was really good.

The atmosphere was casual with subdued lighting. Not enough so you couldn’t read the menu but enough to help a soul relax after a day of hard work. Reasonable noise levels added to the ambiance of the establishment.
But once we got a whiff of the delectable scents flowing from the kitchen our mouths started to water. The bouquet of herbs, tomato, and garlic tickled our taste buds.
We got cheesy garlic bread and a cauliflower and artichoke dip for appetizers. It tasted as good as its fragrance. Then it was pizza for the main course. Rob and I ordered the supreme and Jan got a personal sized cheese pizza.
As is often the case our eyes were bigger than our appetites, but it was also difficult to stop eating the delicious food.
After a stop to replenish supplies for our return trip, we headed back to Rob's place. We talked as Jan and I got  packed and ready to leave the next morning.
 With heavy eyelids heavy and tummies full, we gave hugs and said our good-byes just before dawn .Once again all snug as bugs in rugs, sleep overtook us before any of us could utter, “Goodnight John-boy.”

Like Claire's story about a lady trucker's life on the road? Please leave her a comment, so she will know you stopped by.
Read Claire's other articles on this blog. Little Girls in Big Trucks-Parts I-IV.
For Claire Hickey, writing is a newly realized passion. For Claire Hickey, writing is a newly realized passion. Read more of Claire’s work at Feed The Mind, Nourish The Soul in the Communities at the Washington Times as well as her blog Sustenance For The Mind.


Anonymous said...

Nice travelogue. We all should rejoice in having friends like this.

Ruby Johnson said...

Seeing old friends and being able to converse as if you've never been apart. How wonderful. I could almost smell garlic and cheese from your description of your meal.

Claire said...

Thank you both for your kind comments. I am very blessed to have a friend like Jan. Ruby ~ I can still taste AND smell the food we had. ;)

Kimberly Walton said...

Thank you for sharing, Claire! Nice piece!

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