I mentioned in my last post that I was thankful for all of the friendships that I have made thanks to The Texas Tenors. It is true that we have become one big family. I always have fun when I am with other Tenor fans, even when there is no Tenor concert for us to attend.
This is how I came to be in Keokuk, IA this past weekend with Judy, Dave, Jeanette, Sabra, and my mom–other fans. You see, there are absolutely no Tenor concerts nearby (unless we want to drive to New York) during the whole month of August. As a result, we are all suffering from major withdrawal. The group of us had so much fun together a few weeks ago when we drove to North Carolina that we decided to get together in August to have some fun without a Tenor concert. I suppose you could consider it our therapy session too.
Originally, we were planning on meeting in Keokuk next Saturday, August 18. Judy and Dave are from St. Louis, MO, Jeanette from Bettendorf, IA, Sabra from Cedar Rapids, IA, and my mom and I from Newton, IA. Keokuk is basically in the middle for all of us. However, Friday morning, I stopped at the Newton clinic on my way to the Bondurant clinic to see if I could take off next Friday. Instead, I discovered that I would without a doubt be working on the 18th. Saddened and crushed, I called my mom with the news that we wouldn’t be able to go to Keokuk with our friends. At that point, I came up with a brilliant idea and immediately called Judy and Jeanette. By the time I got to work 20 minutes later, we had set up a plan to meet in Keokuk that day instead.
After getting off work an hour early, I rushed home, packed in about 10 minutes, and then we took off. What does it say for us when 5 different people can spontaneously decide to go on a trip for the weekend like that? We must need more exciting lives!!!
All of us got to Keokuk at about the same time and decided to have dinner at Pizza Hut. Not exactly unique, but it worked. The worst part was trying to cram everyone in my car to drive to the restaurant. I drive a Chevy Impala which, even though it is considered a sedan, does not have the roomiest backseat. Thank goodness I was driving and didn’t have to squeeze back there. Instead, I had to move my seat forward until I was practically driving with my elbows! I’m not sure which option was really the best. After leaving my pizza box on the dashboard of my car to bake for the next day, we went back to the hotel and talked until we fell asleep.
The fun part of the weekend came on Saturday after we all met in the breakfast area of the hotel in the morning.
We got a surprise phone call from Sabra saying that she was on her way home to Cedar Rapids from Branson, and she wanted to stop in to see us. It was so good to see her! After chatting some more (we Tenor fans really know how to chat!), we finally decided to find something to eat. Sabra wanted to continue driving home, so we said goodbye and headed to the Hawkeye Restaurant. We couldn’t figure out if we were eating linner or lupper. What do you think sounds better? My vote is lupper, but Jeanette seems to think that sounds like leper. Hmm…
We were apparently too wild for that restaurant. It was so quiet in there, and all we wanted to do was laugh. It didn’t help that one of the first items we saw on the menu was a propane tank! I’m still not sure what that really was.
After that, we once again crammed into my car to go for a drive. There really isn’t all that much to see in Keokuk, so we ended up crossing the river into Illinois and heading to the town of Nauvoo. To me, that sounds more like a planet from Star Wars than a town in Illinois, but it certainly proved to be an interesting place to stop. It turns out that Nauvoo is a historic community that offers a temple for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormons). Visit http://www.historicnauvoo.net/ to find out more about this community!
We drove around the town for awhile until Judy decided she wanted to stop at the bakery. Just as we pulled up, parked, and piled out, we noticed that there was a group of people coming out of the tiny building munching on cookies (or half-cookies, according to Judy). Then we realized it was a tour of what used to be a bakery, not an operational bakery. While contemplating cramming back into the car, a lady in a long dress with beads around her neck came up to us and asked what we were doing. Awkwardly, we said we were trying to decide that and walked down the sidewalk a bit.
Then Dave realized that he left his window all the way down in the locked car, so he and my mom went back to guard the car. Jeanette, Judy, and I continued on past the little outhouses to the Family Living Center. We peered in the window and were scared by another lady in a dress standing right there. Laughing hysterically, we started back up the path to the car. Of course, we had to stop and pet the fuzzy plants right next to the path first! I’m not kidding, they really were fuzzy. Imagine seeing three adult women standing on the sidewalk, leaning over, and petting the plants. How odd! I hope they weren’t poisonous…
The adventure picked up with us driving back to Keokuk without any bakery goods. I realized that the bumpy streets of Nauvoo and the curves between Nauvoo and Keokuk made the ride very uncomfortable for those in the backseat. The evil Sarah came out then as I started speeding up around the curves and searching for the roads with the most potholes.
This got even better when we opted to tour the National Cemetery–one of the few things to do in Keokuk. My mom is a huge Civil War buff, and the cemetery is a Union cemetery. However, what she really wanted to see was the Confederate statue that she learned was there. The cemetery has quite an interesting history behind it. Go to http://www.keokukiowatourism.org/cemetery.htm to learn more.
Judy, Jeanette, and Dave can attest to the fact that the roads in that cemetery were the bumpiest yet, and they got the pleasure of experiencing them over and over and over again. After about the fourth time around, we found a different direction to go where I wasn’t slamming the brakes on for squirrels crossing my path. We finally found our statue.
Finally satisfied, we went back to the hotel. At this point, we prepared for our 8:00 concert of The Texas Tenors. Actually, we were just watching their concert DVD on Jeanette’s laptop, but it’s close enough. Just don’t tell Marcus–I’m pretty sure we had him worried for a minute when we said we were excited for the concert. He said it must be The Texas Tenors tribute band that’s now touring. Can you believe they were just as good as the real Texas Tenors?
The rest of the night was spent playing the hilarious board game Imaginiff. If you’ve never played it, definitely check it out sometime (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2750/imaginiff). We were all laughing so hard we were in tears at times. I think this game is going to become a must anytime we get together in the future. Here are some of the things we discovered while playing this game:
- If Jeanette were an insect, she would be a louse (actually a firefly, but I really wanted to pick that one)
- If Judy were a wheel, she would be a hamster wheel because she kept going around in circles in Nashville on her trip to North Carolina to see The Texas Tenors a few weeks ago.
- When Helen has an impatient driver behind her, she likes to wink and lick the window (we had to call and tell her that one).
- If Mom were a parcel, she would say “This Side Up”.
- Mom is also the item in the vending machine that is still stuck.
- I am a shrub.
- And much more!
To make a long story short (even though I literally just wrote a novel), we had a blast this last weekend. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time (or at least since we went to North Carolina). We’ve decided that whenever we have a month in the future with no concerts, we will have to add Keokuk to our schedule. It definitely broke up the monotony of Tenorless weeks. Plus, it was so good to see some of my newest (and best) friends. Only 4 more weeks until the concert in Godfrey, IL!!!