Posts Tagged ‘Marylin’

By Marylin

Chrome Hubcaps, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Chrome Hubcaps, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am baffled by most of the high-tech inventions that have come into our lives in recent years, so I am going to express my appreciation for one that is really low-tech. How low? Well, how about wheels? Not just any wheels. I’m talking about the ones that have made my traveling life so much easier and better! I have been an enthusiastic traveler for many years, and being a woman only five-feet tall, with mighty muscles-of-mush, the lugging of luggage has always been a challenge.

My first set of wheels was on a metal cart, in the mid-1970’s. I had observed airline attendants using these and thought they would be great; and they were. It just took time to get my bags strapped on, and a few times the bungee cord wasn’t fastened in quite the right strategic position, and my belongings gradually looked like they were about to drop off, each going its own separate way! But my skill at hooking boxes and bags on the cart improved, and I was even able to keep apace with the British Railroad cars, which only allowed ninety seconds at each stop, for disembarking!

The first wheels I saw actually attached to luggage were on bags belonging to a group of Japanese tourists. I’m sure I turned a lovely shade of jealous green, with eyes glazed over. I had to have a wheeled bag! The first one that came into our local stores only had two wheels on one end, with a strap at the other. I didn’t linger to try it out; I just handed over my money, and could hardly wait to use it.

While it did save time and I didn’t have to bother with the cart, it wasn’t entirely satisfactory. As I mentioned, I am “vertically challenged,” which meant I had to lift my end of the bag by its strap. This proved to be worthy of being an Olympic event which, unfortunately, I had not trained for and so was very tiring.

There had to be a better way. There was, or so I thought when I spied a different version. Yes, it still had a strap but it came with four wheels, one on each corner — a proper set-up for wheels, right? After all, this is where cars, trucks and buses have their wheels; it can’t miss! It rolled along behind me, smoothly, about 90% of the time. Unfortunately, the remaining 10%, it fell onto its side as if it had lost its balance. This happened at very inopportune times, usually while I was entering or leaving crowded elevators in posh hotels. The cause had to be something about going over uneven surfaces (like doorways) that made it behave like a falling-down drunk!

Two decades have passed since my quest for the perfect luggage began, and I am finally satisfied. Again, in observing flight attendants I decided to purchase the same kind of luggage they were now using — a bag with two wheels on the bottom and a rigid, collapsible double bar on top. I can pull it, push it, turn it any way I want; it follows without falling or even faltering! I love it!

In my opinion, frequent flyers should be rewarded for time spent in the airport, as well as in the air. In the meantime, I am just happy that someone thought of the “moving sidewalk,” enabling one to either rest a bit or make “double time” when racing to catch a plane. That telescoping walk-way that we now use to board the plane can only be truly appreciated by those of us who used to sprint out on the tarmac to the plane and up the stairs during a blizzard, with a wind-chill factor of minus 60 degrees!

Ah, so many inventions connected to travel to be grateful for, but luggage with wheels is still my favorite!

    Free Wheelin, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Lock & Key, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Texture, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Marylin (aka oliverowl) is a freelance writer living in Wyoming. She has written essays for a weekly column in the Ventura Star Tribune and collaborated on two picture books for children with her grandson. She currently writes with the Cody Writers. This is her second piece for red Ravine. You can read more from Marylin in her post, Kindness.

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By Marylin

Recently, my daughter, a friend and I were on our way to our Chiropractor, who lives and has his practice in a small town east of our homes in Cody, Wyoming. We arrange our appointments on the same morning, and enjoy our commute together. However, this particular morning was different. My daughter was the driver, and it was our first trip in her new car, “Crystal Blue,” a cute little car, so named because, as she drove it off the Dealer’s lot for the first time, the old tune “Crystal Blue Persuasion” was playing on the radio and Tracy took this as a sign to name her car, as it is a beautiful, bright blue with a sparkling undercoat that gives it a depth, like looking at fresh, unspoiled snow on the ground when the clouds have gone and the sun first shines on it.

There is nothing in between these two towns, threaded together by a two lane highway, taking infrequent travellers east and west across the high desert landscape. The land is mostly rough, sparse clumps of sage and some native grass, that in the fall of the year, is almost as brown as the rocky soil. There are a few small farms still in evidence, many already abandoned by the rugged homesteaders, who tired of waiting for the promise of success, touted by Buffalo Bill and his vision of an irrigated paradise. The only evidence of life we see that day is a herd of graceful antelope in the distance.

“I don’t understand why we’re not getting any heat,” Tracy commented. She had just returned from Billings the day before, having taken the car in for its first “check-up” (like a mother taking her new baby to the pediatrician after the first six weeks). She no sooner had spoken, when the car began shutting down…all the needles on all the gages dropping backwards, simultaneously! She pulled off the road onto the shoulder, got out of the car and opened the hood to a cloud of what was steam or smoke, hard to tell which. She came back to tell us that the cap was off of the radiator, but she found it, and stated that it would probably be best to let the car cool off before trying to start it.

Almost immediately, a van pulled off the road in front of us and a man got out and asked if he could help. Although he was headed east, as we were, he offered to drive us back to Cody. We were about 25 miles out of town, and I was amazed that this individual would take the time out of his work day to do such a kind deed! He did not act in a manner that suggested that this extra “jog” in his journey was even the slightest inconvenience to him, although we all knew that it must be.

He apologized that the interior of his vehicle was “kinda’ messy,” as he scrambled to move empty plastic juice bottles, spare gloves, maps, etc. from the seats. He was as cheerful as though he had planned a rescue of damsels in distress as part of his day’s routine. We kept thanking him profusely, and his only response could have come out of an old Western movie, as an “Aw’ shucks, ma’am, ‘twarn’t nuthin’. To quote the Bible, ‘The Lord loveth a cheerful giver’.”

Marylin did this 15-minute writing practice based on the post WRITING TOPIC – KINDNESS & POLITENESS

About writing, Marylin says: I guess I’m a “dabbler,” as far as writing goes. My first work was done for North Hollywood High’s weekly newspaper; reporting and editing; good training. I enjoy both non-fiction (mostly in essay form) and fiction; short stories, song lyrics, one billboard (it was a Prairie Public Radio contest). I’ve written some poems (still into rhyming) and even a play, as yet, not produced.

My Grandson, after graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute asked if we could collaborate on picture books for children. So far, we have completed two, and are looking for a publisher. While living in Simi Valley, from 1997-2000, I published five essays — all humorous, tongue-in-cheek — in a weekly column in the “Ventura Star Tribune.”

As an adult, I took a course in Journal Writing, in which we used Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down The Bones. Now, I am writing childhood memories. I decided to do this after realizing, in doing genealogy, that I longed to know how it felt to be living in a certain time and place, and wondered why my family moved from place to place. Simply listing dates and places does not satisfy anyone’s curiosity! 

I recently joined the Cody Writers, an informal group of women who enjoy writing and sharing what they write. We meet once a month. I introduced them to Goldberg’s “laws of Practice” at our last meeting. We all wrote like mad for ten minutes and then shared what we wrote. I know we’ll be doing it again!

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