Used to be that Bill, the kids and I would bundle up on winter Saturday mornings, climb in the pickup and head west.
Our ultimate destination: the Safeway store just across the Washington border in Newport.
The object of the trip was for me to purchase lottery scratch tickets.
At the time, we couldn't gamble with the lottery in Idaho.
Twas at a time when it seemed that winning the lottery was gonna be our only way of ever striking it rich.
I must say that teaching salaries have improved dramatically since those days.
Anyway, I've always like taking a chance or two, and for those readers who may worry about addiction, I've always been a moderate, never an extremist at pretty much every facet of life.
Same is true with playing the lotto---moderation is my MO.
I have a husband who, to my knowledge, has never bought a lottery ticket in his life.
Also, when we've been together in Nevada, he walks around while I try my luck with maybe twenty bucks at a machine.
Bill has never stood in the way of my lotto habits. He's one of these people who won't participate but remains supportive if his wife wants to earn a few black marks on her soul.
Besides, when we drove to Newport, there were dumpsters, and Bill would load up the garbage to deposit in those containers.
There were also fresh donuts and maple bars at the Newport Safeway. That's why the kids loved these trips.
Everyone got a reward, and once in a while Mom scratched off a winner---maybe 30 dollars or less.
That was our Saturday entertainment. Bill reminded me this morning that we hit other dumpsters on other outings with the kids----Blanchard, Rapid Lightning, etc.
Well, yesterday Bill came home from work and I remarked that we're living in "petrified" times cuz the whole gray and white landscape seems frozen and lifeless.
After that comment and with the afternoon ahead, he asked, "How would you like to drive over to Oldtown to the Super 1 or the Tractor Supply and see if there's any Festus food?"
"Sounds good," I said. I have once more resorted to ordering Festus food from Amazon.com because the stores have not had it available for at least a week. It's a specific flavor of Purina Beyond, and the only variety he will eat.
We stock up wherever and whenever we can.
So, we soon loaded up ourselves with no 40-something kids and no garbage and headed west.
The overall impression of the landscape from my morning rounds seemed pretty much the same as we went from sunshine in Sandpoint to gray from Dover on.
Once we reached Oldtown, though, the sun came out. While Bill (who had the only mask) went into the store looking for Festus food, I took off on a walk around the Super 1 parking lot.
Pure delight, it was, walking on bare, unobstructed pavement. Behind the store, I saw turkeys running through a field and a nice patch of cattails, which are certainly the winter posies around here.
As I returned to the pickup, I saw Bill coming from the store with a bag of soda and no Festus food.
Twas the same experience at the Tractor Supply. So, we headed home.
I had to use a restroom somewhere, and with no mask, it had to be someplace where I would not encounter people.
So, we pulled into an historical display at Oldtown. That's when Wordle and the need to think of every five-letter word I've ever known came to mind.
There was a "men's" restroom and an "Omen" room.
Dang, I thought, "women" would be a good five-letter word for the second time I ever play Wordle," but certainly not "omen."
Twas an omen, though, as I walked around the corner to the restroom which was lit up with reminders.
I had to take a picture. Then, I reached for the door that needs to be closed, and, by golly, it was closed AND locked.
Shoulda paid attention to that omen, but, at least, I didn't need to be reminded to shut the door. I do wonder if the management has had women in there doing their duty with the door open.
And, so a grand and dramatic afternoon adventure in January took on a new sense of Marianne's bladder urgency.
With all the traveling around the area that Bill has done over the years as a forester, he knows where the convenience store chicken is and he knows the restrooms.
So, just a few miles down the road, he noted that the Albeni Falls dam visitor center has restrooms, and they're inside.
Sure enough, and the best part, the place is unlocked and no reminders to shut the door, not even on the men's room.
Reading this, you probably have concluded that it doesn't take much for the Love family to get excited.
Times have definitely changed since the days of kids and lottery tickets and Saturday donuts at Safeway.
We can buy a lotto ticket any ol' place we wish here in Idaho, and living not too far from the transfer station, we can take our garbage to Colburn.
The only sad part: those kids have grown up, and it would be so fun to take a drive with them on a January day to get some fresh donuts.
We'll have to look into that.
In the meantime, I've got a busy day ahead, thanks to my story assignments, and I have to take my second stab at Wordle.
My first stab was not so good, but that's okay.
What a nice community from around the World, Wordle has attracted.
The article in the link suggests that the game is a metaphor on life, specifically for how people strategize to play the game.
In my brief encounter, I'd say it has created a lovely metaphor on life through the people who come forth with kind support and encouragement of newbies.
I would submit that no savvy politicians have come anywhere close to uniting the people and bringing out the better angels like Wordle has done in its short existence.
Who cares if you come up with the correct five-letter word when you've got peeps who actually care about you!
Just sayin' !
Please keep those bathroom doors closed, ladies! It's a bad "omen" to leave 'em open.