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Dear Furry Friends,

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOklahoma where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plainANN-oklahoma. Here I am practicing that opening line appropriately in front of the Route 66 sign (just so you believe I’m really really here). I’m thinking of trying out for dinner theater. I do know all the words to all the songs in the musical Oklahoma — as well as a few dozen more shows — so why not? How good do you have to be to sing Broadway musical tunes in front of people eating bad food in a dim light? In Oklahoma I’ve always wanted to play the part of the girl who couldn’t say “No” but I wouldn’t even mind being part of the chorus and wearing one of those sweet gingham dresses. I know you think I’m too old for all this. But, guys, I have to tell you this trip has taken years and years off my spirit. Really, I’m telling you the truth. Getting out of Toronto does wonderful things for a person. You should try it sometime. Oh, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought that up. You did have your grips all packed and ready to go with me on this trip. Oops!

But, just to make you a little bit less jealous, I’ll tell you straight out: Oklahoma City ain’t “pretty” as the song claims. Even my sister, Susie, who’s lived here for years would agree. I think the song writer just couldn’t think of a word that rhymed with “city” except for one that begins with “s” and which certainly wouldn’t be appropriate for crooners to croon. Oh, it certainly has its pretty spots — most of them centered around Susie’s family. And it sure was pretty to see those hundreds of pelicans swooping down over the lake on their way somewhere for the winter. You wouldn’t see that in Toronto, that’s for sure. Maybe Mr. Troup, the lyricist, who wrote that line saw them too. You never know.

Well, as we travelers say, the road beckons and I must follow.

Your friend and benefactor,

Ana

P.S.: Sister Susie is sending you some souvenirs. I told her not to but she felt sorry for you being left behind. She’s nice that way. Don’t start fighting over who gets what when they arrive, ok? Share!

Dear Stay-At-Home-Pets:

I was hypnotized! Seriously. No, I didn’t start clucking like a chicken whenever a bell rang, as much as you two would have enjoyed that. I was mesmerized by The Highway. Road trips can do that to you. You get behind the wheel and start cruising and before you know it you get into the groove of the road and that’s it. You’re hooked — you don’t want to ever stop. My Dad was like that so I guess I come by it legitimately. Mom would tell me stories about their trips when she would want to meander down side roads and read all the Historical Plaques or buy homemade blueberry jam at a roadside stand but by the time the words, “Freddie, let’s stoppppp” left her mouth, he was long past the turnoff. I understand just how he felt. You have to be a driver to appreciate the appeal to just keep going. I wonder if Mom had been a driver and not a passenger whether she would have stopped? So, see it’s better you two didn’t come with me — you would have been like Mom wanting to stop for Temptation breaks or something and I wouldn’t have even heard.

So, even though the song promised that “You see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico” — I didn’t. It was my own fault. I got so wrapped up in the getting there that I never stopped to look around. Yeah, I know that was stupid but you two just don’t understand Road Trip Mentality! There it is. I had the pedal-to-the-metal (no I didn’t speed — well not too much) and just plain didn’t want to stop. Ever. But I did, obviously since I’m writing you this letter and really there is a limit to how long a 66-year-old woman can drive, you know? So the next letter will come from Arizona! Get ready.

Just to keep you posted on where I am and where I’ve been, here’s a map.  It’s actually a picture of one of your imagesouvenirs that will be coming in the mail. I’m sorry to ruin the surprise but I wanted you to see how “close” I am to the end!

Sincerely,

Slowing-down-to-smell-the-roses,

annie

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