The Bookend Teresa Kindred

Hody Reader’s, how are y’all today? I’m doing good. My brother Tommy called last weekend to check on me and he asked me about a road trip I took when I was very young. The story fascinated him after all of these years because I traveled with a big mean Siamese cat. Oh, yes, I did.

I have never written this story. I’m not quite sure why. If you have read my column for any length of time you know I have done some pretty outlandish things. But this story takes the cake. And it’s all true. I want to dedicate this column to my dearest friend Sherry, who was 5 years older than me, looked like my sister, and was like an older sister to me. She died two weeks ago with cancer. A finer friend no one ever had.

When I was first married to the father of my daughters we lived in Texas. My husband at the time was a nuclear engineer and we moved to a little town on the gulf, 100 miles south of Houston. My husband was gone all the time on business trips, and he was sent into the Three Mile Island mess for six weeks. I was footloose and fancy free. I spent a lot of days with Sherry, a lot of days with my friend Trisha going to Baskin Robbins, and a lot of days at the pool. But I was getting antsy. I wanted some adventure. And I was homesick for my family and family home on a private lake in the mountains of Tennessee.

So, on a Sunday morning I was at my bible meeting with Sherry. I went into the bathroom during the meeting and there was a new friend of ours we called the mushroom kid. She had been very into drugs and would talk a lot about her trips on mushrooms. She was very much a hippie. This all sounded so alien to me but we really liked her. She was trying to turn her life around. When I saw her, I overheard her saying to someone that she was moving to Tennessee. My ears perked up. I interrupted the conversation and excitedly asked where in Tennessee. She was moving to Chattanooga! I immediately offered to go with her and help her drive so I could go home.

I practically skipped back to my seat next to Sherry. I had a little trepidation about telling her because she was constantly in a motherly state of panic over what she called my dangerous ideas. I told her after the meeting that I would be leaving first thing the very next morning with the mushroom kid, I thought she would faint to the floor. I went home and packed.

Sherry tried every way to stop me from going. She called one of our ministers crying. He was Spanish and he told Sherry in his beautiful accent, “Don’t worry, that car will not make it around the block.” The mushroom kid had a huge old boat of a chevy from the 60’s. Sherry called to tell me what our minister had to say, pleading with me not to take on this foolhardy trip. I was not dissuaded. I was going to Tennessee!

Dear reader’s, I will tell you all the rest of the story next week. It involves a 13-pound vicious Siamese cat, and a 40-hour drive, among other things. I short, the trip fulfilled Sherry’s worst nightmares.

Until next time dear reader, do not try the things I’ve done. And have a great week, and have a literary week. Teresa Kindred