It was a rainy day in 1982. : 12

It was a rainy day in 1982. : 12
by Barbara Lynn Terry

Part I - The Chicken Ranch restaurant.

Both cars pulled in to the parking lot of the Chicken Ranch, with the girls
still talking about how much fun they were going to have at the cabin. Both cars had to park away from the door, but within sight of it. The restaurant[ looked like any Denny's or Perkins on the outside.
Once they got inside the restaurant, any resemblance to any other restaurant went out the window. There were lantern type lights hanging from the ceiling. Flowers lined the walls where there weren't any tables or booths. There were pictures of sailing ships from the 1700 and 1800's, as well as their captains. There was a picture of the Titanic and its crew. It looked like a picture that was taken before the Titanic sailed on its fatal maiden voyage.
The waitress came over dressed in a red skirt with a black apron, white, ruffled shirt and black, low heeled, court shoes. She set the water and the menus in front of them, and then said she would be right back, after taking their drink orders. The adults sat in one booth and the girls sat in another. The girls were still talking about the cabin, when Dawn said, mischieviously.
"There are these two brothers who stay down the shore. They come up now and then and we go water skiing on the lake. We have cookouts, and we play croquét, volleyball, softball, and we have lots of fun through the whole summer."
"Sounds like fun," Patti said, with a wry smile. "So, they accept Dawn, then?" It was a question more than it was a statement.
"No, I don't know, maybe. They don't know about Dawn, yet."
"Girl, what is taking you so long? I bet these boys are very open minded. Like we keep telling you, you looked like a girl, even dressed like a boy."
"Yes, Patti, but, this will be the first time they have ever seen Dawn."
"One time is all it takes, girlfriend. I will bet you they tell you it is high time you started acting like a lady."
"Yes, Nikki, but, what if they don't say, and start calling me names?"
"We have your back, chica," Nicole answered.
"Chica? Wow." The three girls just giggled.
The waitress, whose name is Jan, according to her name tag, took their orders. Everybody wanted the Chef's salad entrée and smaller bowls so they wouldn't have to "double dip" into the large bowl. The girls just sat there, not wasting words, simply because they were eating. Nicole and Patti had never been this far north before, and certainly not at a lakeside cabin for a summer. So, they listened as Dawn told them everything, including the names of the boys at the lake.
Dawn said that these two boys were always at the lake, at least every summer since she had been coming there. They sat there taking their time, and after they were full, they sat there and slowly drank their sodas, while the adults finished their coffee.
"Now, I want you to remember, Josh has sandy blonde hair and Jerry has thick brown hair. Their last name is Harrington. They live 3 cabins away from us. But, they are always on the lake, speed boating, fishing, water skiing or swimming. Let me tell you another thing, too." She leaned closer to Patti and Darlene and said: "These guys are very well built, muscle wise, and not an inch of fat on them."
"So," Patti said, in a mock, serious tone. "Do we go looking for them, or do they just drop by?"
"Well, silly, they just drop by. How many boys do you know of that need to be chased all over creation? No, Patti, they just drop by. When they see us drive by, they come up to the cabin and help us move in. They even help me with big boxes and other heavy things. Patti and Nicole looked at each other.
"See, girlfriend, these two boys will accept Dawn. They already suspect you are a girl. Have you ever gone swimmig with them?"
"Yes, Nikki, but I always wore one of my t-shirts as a top."
"So, they have never seen your bare chest?" Asked Nikki.
"Well, there you are then. I bet they think you are already a girl, a tomboy, but, still a girl. That is why they help you with the heavy things and big boxes."
"You really think so, Patti?"
"Yes, Dawn, I really think so. Wait until we get to the cabin, you'll see."
"I think so, too, Dawn." Nikki added.
Dawn's mother looked back at the booth where the three girls were sitting and asked if they were ready. They said they were, and they paid their bill and left. Dawn, Patti and Nicole never stopped talking all the way to the car. Dawn was full of information about the cabin and the people who lived around Cranberry Lake.
Making sure everybody's seat belt was fastened, Dawn's mother started the car and drove out of the parking lot. When Patti's mother looked in the back seat after not hearing the three girls, she saw that they were fast asleep. Talking in low tones, the two women talked among themselves.
"They talked ever since leaving the house. They're tired. I think we should let them sleep until we get to the cabin."
"I think just until the next restroom stop, anyway. If they sleep all the way to the cabin, they won't be tired when we get there."
"You're right. The next restroom stop is about ten miles yet. So they can sleep a bit. You want to know something I just had a fleeting thought of. I don't think we introduced ourselves. I'm Geraldine Palmer, or Geri to my friends."
"I'm Olivia Sanger."
"Good, now we can call each other by our first names. This way we don't have to be so formal with each other."
As the two families kept going north, Geri Palmer saw the rest stop coming up.
"Better wake the girls up. We're at the rest stop. We could all use a soda and a candy bar. Girls, time to wake up and use the restroom before we head further north."
The girls woke up, rubbing sleep from their eyes.
"Where are we?" Patty asked, in a sleepy voice.
"At a highway rest stop. I figure we could all use the rest rooms, get a soda and get a candy bar, then be one our way," Geri Palmer answered.
"When will we get to the cabin? Nicole asked.
"In about four hours. We're almost to Wausau, where we will take State highway 29 west to U.S. highway 53, north to U.S. highway 8. Then we will go west on U.S. highway 8 to county trunk K and go in to Worcester. When we get to the cabin, My husband will bring out the grill, which is why he packed it last," the girls giggled.
"That's my dad," Dawned said, playfully.
Geri Palmer parked the car on the auto side of the little building. On the other side of the building, the girls could see semi trucks parked with their engines running. They would fill their gas tanks in the morning and be on their way, where ever it was they were going to. They all got out of the car, and went in the little building. It had a large wall map of the state as well as vending machines and restrooms. There were benches along the wall by the map and by the windows.
After everybody was done in the restroom, The two women bought the girls a soda and a candy bar of their choice. Geri and Dawn showed Nikki, Patti and their mom exactly where they were going. On the map it looked farther than what it was. They covered quite a distance from their homes.
"This looks like we are in the center of the state," Nikki said.
"Yes, we are. Stevens Point, Wisconisn Rapids, Wausau, and all the little towns in this area are in the geographic center of the state. When we get to Wausau, we will take state highway 29 west. This will save us about thirty minutes. Alright, I say let's get started. Cookout as soon as we get there."
"Mom," Patti looked at her mother. "I think I need to get back in the restroom." She whispered in her mother's ear.
"Alright, dear."
While she was in the restroom taking care of aunt rose, the rest were in the lobby talking mostly about nothing and everything. About eight minutes later, Patti came out of the restroom.
"Feel better, dear?"
"Yes, mom. I think we can go now."
Everybody piled back in to the cars, and headed towards Wausau and the last leg of the trip. There would be no stopping now until they got to the cabin. The rest of the trip would be all countryside and small towns to go through.
Nicole, Patti and Dawn talked and talked until they fell back asleep. It was an amazing trip for Nicole and Patti's mother, who was in awe of the countryside as they went through it. She saw people on horse back, herds of cows, and tractors that had seen better days. She saw barns that were falling apart, deserted farm houses and even saw an old outhouse without a door. Never having seen an outhouse before she had to ask Geri Palmer what it was.
"That is what they call an outhouse. I remember using one when I was growing up."
"Even in the winter!" Olivia Sanger stated, increduously.
"Yes," Geri Palmer giggled. "Even in the winter."
"Were they heated?"
"No, Olivia, they definitely were not heated."
"I would have frozen my bottom."
"We did, Olivia, we did." Then Geri Palmer giggled again. "But, don't worry, the cabin has indoor plumbing."
"Phew!" Was all Olivia Sanger could manage.
Olivia took a sip of her soda, and a bite of her Snickers candy bar. After she put her Snickers bar away, and set her soda in the cup tray, she herself, fell asleep.
As Geri Palmer drove, she was humming to the radio. As she got to Wausau, she turned on to state highway 29, west. It won't be long now, until they get to the cabin. As she drove, she took in the sights of the multi colored flowers along the highway. Worcester was not that far, now. She kept driving and eventually turned north on to U.S highway 53, north. She took that to U.S. highway 8, west and would turn off on to County Trunk K. Geri, of course, was in no hurry. She admired the countrside as she drove through it. Before long, she was on U.S. highway 53, going north to U.S. highway 8, west. As she went along, she saw an Amoco gas station, and decided that it was time to make a last restroom run.
"Ahem! Does anybody have to use the restroom?"
Six sleepy eyes in the back seat opened wide and said in unison, "Yes."
Geri pulled in to the Amoco station and also noted she should fill up before getting to the cabin. Geri went in to get the restroom key, and everybody took turns. When everybody was done, they decided to stretch their legs a little before getting back in the car.
"How much further, Geri?"
"About an hour, if that long, Olivia. County trunk K is just up the road. This is where we get on to U.S. 8 and head west. Worcester is just around the next turn.

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