It was 5:00 am and time to rise and shine. My wife had just returned from Idaho and was camping with family in Leduc. I was to make a quick trip to Leduc and return the next morning.
A quick shower and a nutritious breakfast fast tracked me to a quick exit from the driveway at 5:40 am. The sky was clear with promises of another warm and sunny day. I quickly checked my travel coordinates and the directions were simple.”Drive to Mayerthorpe and take Highway 22 South. Drive past Drayton Valley and then dovetail onto highway 39. As you approach Leduc……” and so the e-mail from my son-in-law continued.
It is very difficult to drive carefully, observe all speed zones, read hundreds of road signs and at the same time try and read an e-mail that is sitting on your lap. I tried. I really tried to follow the directions but I messed up big time. I got lost.
I pull over on the side of the highway and made the call. “Mike, I’m lost. I messed up on whether I was to turn right or left at the overpass.” “Where are you, George?” I almost shouted but calmly said, “Mike, if I knew where I was then I wouldn’t be lost, would I?”
I saw a million signs and vehicles were rushing by as if everyone was rushing to or from a fire. “I see directions to the airport,” I said. Mike gave further directions, but I just gave up on him and took it upon myself to find 4314 Lions Park Road, Leduc AB. My first turn was to the right and it was an absolute nightmare. I circled the same big building three times and could not for the life of me find my bearings.
I went into the big building that I had circled three times, the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation building, and asked for directions to the Lions Park. I approached a lovely receptionist and with a slight panic in my voice I said, “I’m lost!” Her smile and body language assured me that I would soon be on my way to the Lions Park. Seeing at the look of desperation on my face she knew that her verbal directions could not penetrate my brain. This sweet little thing actually took the time and printed me a beautiful colored map and said, “Follow the directions that I have highlighted in orange and you will not get lost. Guaranteed!” I was excited and headed in the well-marked direction to my destination. I was excited and texted my wife that I was now on the way.
I drove a couple of blocks and suddenly hit gravel road with a sign reading, “You are now leaving Leduc.” My first response was, “Holy crap! I have now been lost twice in less than an hour.” I hurried back to the AFSC building to get the lovely receptionist to redirect me in the direction already given.
When I got back to the building the business was closed for the day. It was 4:35 PM. A man sitting in his vehicle, he was just leaving the AFSC building, noticed that I was a little frustrated when I discovered that the building was closed. Getting out of his vehicle he approached me with the typical question, “Could I help you, sir?” “Yes.” I responded. I quickly showed him the map that was supposed to get me to my destination. He took the map and slightly bending his neck forward said to me, “Oh! Your map. Your map upside down. Yes. Yes. Upside down. You got lost because map upside down.”
I was in no mood to be entertained and said rather sarcastically, “No! No! No sir! Map not upside down. If map upside down, then you and me should be standing on the other side of the city.” Looking for the second time he casually responded, “You right, sir. You right. Map not upside down. Map rightside up. You not lost. You confused.”
We kinda looked at each other and I was ready to explode in uncontrollable laughter—you not lost, you confused. “Are you from out of town?” he asked. I tried to keep my composure for after all he was trying to help me.”Yes sir,” I said. “I am lost and I am confused because I am from out of town and this map is absolutely useless.”
The next question I anticipated was, “Are you a Newfie?” There was no way I was going to play his game and taking the map back I said, “I will drive the very opposite to what the map says.” He looked at me with the kind of smile you just have to love and extending a handshake he said, “You need good luck. You need good luck.”
I sat in my little Ford Ranger and studied the map. I realized that the map given by the lovely receptionist was accurate. Now I’m really glad the gentleman didn’t ask, “Are you a Newfie?”
I followed the map and finally arrived at 4314 Lions Park Road. My wife and the kids were camping in the park and I was rather anxious to see them and tell my story of being lost and found. I enter the park office and make the simple but exciting statement, “Hi! I’m George and I am to meet the Harringtons here.” She paid little or no attention to me and while she was looking for some paperwork I said, “Alright! I can see the Harrington campsite,” and pointing at it I said, “Thank you for your assistance.”
“Are you staying for the night?” she asked. “Yes I am, just for one night.” “That will cost you $5.00. Will you be leaving the campsite anytime during the evening or the night?” I was almost afraid to say yes fearing it would cost me another $5.00.
“Sweetheart, I have had a long day. I am frustrated. I got lost. I was given an upside down map and a gentleman told me I was confused. I will not be leaving the campsite until morning.” “Great!” she said. “Now here is your map and the lot number for the Harringtons.” I take the map and I am thinking, “This is not for real. A map to get to a destination that I can reach out and touch.”
I was courteous and said, “That’s fine. I can get there without the map. Thank you.” She then took the map back and said, “I will indicate the direction on the map with an orange marker.” And she did. She passed me back the map and I jumped in the Ford Ranger and following the marked map I drove at least 100 meters and parked by the Harringtons. “Hurrah! Hurrah! Thank God for maps and oranges markers.”
The family spent a lovely evening while enjoying a great meal and then roasting marshmallows. We told stories, shared a few jokes and of course much detail about the trip to Idaho. I wanted as much information as possible and it was such great fun to hear the stories being told and listened to heightened laughter as one experience after another was told in great detail.
A storm was developing on the western horizon and we could see some lightening and heard the sound of distant thunder. Within an hour the storm was right overhead and the rain brought to me the quick realization that I needed to pee. To the grandchildren I asked, “Where are the washrooms?” I was hoping no one was about to present a map. “Just around the corner in the ‘common’ building. “Thanks,” I said.
While the family was quickly picking up things and hiding them from the rain I ran around the corner of the ‘common’ building and rushed into the washroom. I was again in a panic mode as my zipper got stuck and my internal plumbing was about to spray the inside of my shorts while I was desperately trying to unzip.
There were great sounds of relief as the flow was in full stream with no obstructions. I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the moment. Slowly coming back to reality my eyes focused on a sign on the wall right above the toilet. It started, “Please, do not flush…..”
Several times already today I had been in a panic mode but this was the real squeaker. My brain sent a message to my lips as I blurted out almost unintelligible words, “I am in the ladies washroom! Get out you idiot!” I was not finished doing what I was doing but desperately wanting to get out of a possible embarrassing situation I quickly “zipped” before I “tucked” and the feeling of sensitive flesh being caught in a zipper sent excruciating pain through my entire body.
In a low and controlled murmur I screamed while trying to unzip and free up my very delicate plumbing. I kept saying, “It hurts! It hurts!” and not wanting to prolong the pain or to avoid getting caught in the ladies washroom, I did the inevitable and with much force in a downward direction I zipped and I screamed and running out of the washroom I said, “Thank God I didn’t get caught.” I hobbled back to the campsite and because of the rain I crawled into the bunk and moaned for the next two hours. The next morning I checked the plumbing and there was no permanent damage and all this while the sun was still shining.