Yesterday morning, Younger Daughter, Luna, and I headed west. We were to drive into Missouri and across the state towards Kansas. Mountain Grove was our destination. That’s where we would meet Mindy Slimmer and Mindy’s Mom (CJ) to hand over the lucky Miss Luna. However, before the meeting ever took place, Younger Daughter and I almost ended up in Arkansas. And that wasn’t the worst of it. We ended up in what Mom CJ, after hearing our story, aptly named for us The Bermuda Triangle. (I’ll explain.)
I got up extra early and got the animal rounds made. I left Husband in charge of the kennel pick-ups for the day. (It was a work day for Older Daughter.) Younger Daughter and I got on the road. It should have taken about four hours one-way . . . it took almost six. We were to take a particular interstate to a particular route. When the interstate suddenly ended just inside the Missouri line, I pulled over to ask where I might find the route we needed. An extremely helpful lady inside a local business explained that when the interstate ended, the route began. So we were ON the route we needed without knowing it. At the time, I didn’t pay NEARLY enough attention to something she said to me as I was thanking her and leaving. She said - Since you’re headed to Mountain Grove, let me just say this. Pay attention and stay towards Poplar Bluff. You don’t want to get past there. You’ll end up in Arkansas and I assure you, you’ll be lost. I remember thinking that I didn’t need to worry about that. Once on the route we needed, we would stay on it all the way to Mountain Grove. But that’s not exactly what ended up happening.
Luna, who is such a go-getter, a talker, an extroverted personality, discovered quickly that she did NOT like the movement outside the vehicle windows. Whereas the other cats we’ve traveled with walked around in the vehicle or sat on our laps, Luna would come out of the carrier, see the movement outside, and quickly return to the safety of her carrier. We tried and tried to coax her out. But after about the third try, she decided that the best place to be in this vehicle world was right inside that cozy carrier. That’s where she stayed for the rest of the trip. And what a trip it was.
Back at the crate door.
Ahhhh. Much better.
We did eventually see signs for Poplar Bluff. There were two or three exits if I remember correctly. And then, without knowing how it happened, we started noticing that the signs were all for towns in Arkansas. Yep. That’s right. We were headed to Arkansas. I had no idea how it happened. I got pulled off the route and asked directions. Two very nice people inside a gas station got us turned around. We went back to Poplar Bluff and headed west again. Funny - we both said - That’s exactly what that lady told us could happen. But now we were fine.
For a short period, the atlas showed that our route would co-exist with another route. Younger Daughter and I got caught up in a conversation about Sasquatch because the surrounding land began to look as if it could harbor one. Soon we discovered that we were driving through a national forest. It was beautiful. But it only remained beautiful for a few more miles until we realized that we were (again) NOT on the route we should be on. Younger Daughter got the atlas open and we found a place where we could exit the route we were on, drive through two VERY small towns (like 300 people small) and end up BACK on the route west to Mountain Grove. We found that road and took it. All we had to do was stay on this road through the two tiny towns. We should come out right where we needed to. What we didn’t know when we turned onto that road was that we had entered the Bermuda Triangle - or rather, as we later named it - the Bermuda Circle.
We drove and drove and drove. There was no way out. We were on a narrow country road for a very long time. And then we were driving IN THE MIDDLE of the national forest that we had only been observing from the highway. We kept hoping that we would suddenly emerge from the forest and find ourselves at the western route we were looking for. But the national forest soon consumed us. I remember mumbling at my daughter at one point - People end up in areas like this, and are just never heard from again. We kept driving. Just when the two of us were ready to shift into full-blown panic, we very suddenly drove OUT of the national forest. I pulled over onto the shoulder to get my bearings. And then it hit us both at the same time - we were back in the EXACT spot where we started. We were back at the very place where we turned onto the road that would take us to our western route. We had driven in a giant circle. The circle did NOT exist on the map in the atlas. We had lost over an hour.
OK. I dialed Mindy’s number to report to her that we were way behind schedule. But the message I received was that the number was no longer in service. My daughter and I began to wonder how we would ever reach our destination and how we would find Mindy when we got there. When Mindy and her Mom got to Mountain Grove, she called my cell phone. Hooray! Contact. Maybe we hadn’t slipped into another dimension after all. I told her I would be there as soon as I could be. Mindy said not to worry one bit.
We did finally arrive in Mountain Grove. We met Mindy and Mom CJ. Was it worth it? You betcha!! I cannot express how wonderful they both were. I apologized for their wait (they had come a LONG way, too). I explained that the Luna we had been traveling with was NOT the real Luna. I said she had become a shell of herself while traveling. But once transferred to their vehicle, Luna was already purring. After Luna went to the Slimmer vehicle, the Slimmer women began to bring things to our vehicle. A dog carrier, an entire tub of dog toys, and a gift sack crammed full of goodies like dog treats, cat toys, dog food, a beautiful card w/note from Mindy, and a monetary donation to our rescue. WOW!! I could have sat over a cup of coffee and talked with Mindy and CJ for a long time. But we and they each had l-o-n-g trips ahead to get back home. We separated and Luna went on to her new life, her new home, her new family.
I said this before. To get ANY of our kitties into wonderful homes is just amazing. But remember - Luna has been living in a cage because of her diet issue. Before that, she was living in the cathouse - a far better life than what she had before (she was one of the Fantastic Fifteen), but not like what she has now - a home and family of her very own.
THANK YOU, Mindy, Mindy’s Mom, and Mindy’s Dad. For everything! Especially taking Luna out of a cage and into your home. Mindy, you’ve outdone yourself. You have supported this rescue in SO many ways. Now you’ve given the ultimate gift.
[I heard from Mindy via email. They arrived home safely, and Luna immediately went to hide. Luna is a cat with personality. Tons of it. It may take her a while, but I know she will come around and show the Slimmers her playful, talkative, happy side. Of course you can always visit The Slimmer Pugs (and Luna) from my sidebar.]
See you Monday when I will begin to tell the stories from this Week Between. ALL good news. Great way to start the New Year.