So, this weekend, we were in Southern Indiana at a family wedding.
But this post isn't about that. It's about what happened on the drive home.
The drive is about 300 miles. I would drive the first leg, and since I'm the only one who doesn't get carsick reading in the car, I would quiz our daughter on her homework in the backseat while Cora drove the middle section, and then we would trade off again, and I would drive the last bit. Cora doesn't really like to drive, but the fact that is was a divided highway through the countryside made it a breeze.
So, our first stop was
McDonald's the Meth Lab McDonald's on the north side of Terre Haute, right by Indiana State University. When we pulled in to the parking lot, there was a sketchy/strung out dude, wandering the parking lot with his cup on McDonald's lemonade. We parked, but when he didn't really move on, we drove to the other side of the building, parked and waited for the daughter to get out of the car. (The child takes FOR-EV-ER!) When we got to the building, the sketchy dude, tweaking on meth met us at the door. He'd gone back inside and came out the other door!
Fine, we needed the restrooms, so we pressed on. The guys bathroom looked more like one you would expect to find in a dive bar, not McDonald's. Turns out, the women's was worse. There were reports of used toilet paper on the floor.
While waiting for the girls, I watched the counter, and knew we should have just left, but I ignored that voice, and we eventually ordered. Our order took forever. They kept serving the drive-thru, but didn't care about the people at the counter. They put my cup down on the counter rim down. They got Cora's order wrong. It was just awful.
So, we switched off, and Cora drove for a while. Near the end of her stint, she said she had a bit of an upset stomach, and wanted to hit the washrooms again. Well, we pulled into a town that looked like it had 1,000 people or so, but drove all over, and couldn't find a gas station. Finally, we got back on the highway, and there it was (arrg!), so we pulled in.
While I pumped gas, Cora went inside the restaurant / cashier building to use the facilities. The daughter and I then waited in the car until she came out. When she sat down, I could tell something was up. I asked what was wrong, and got the "Nothing" that meant it was something. I pressed, and got a "No, it's all right." I reached over and held her hand, and gave her the look that said, "I'm not moving this car until you tell me what's wrong."
And she broke.
Turned out, that the bathroom door didn't have a lock, the guy who was in there before her peed all over the seat, and after she cleaned it up, the stage fright of the "no lock" made it impossible for her to even use the toilet. I hugged her, and dried a tear. She just needed a moment, and then she was fine. We drove off, and pulled into another gas station a few miles down the road. I tried to get the daughter to go in with her to guard the door, but Cora made the fateful prediction, "What are the odds that two bathrooms in a row would have no lock." (Turns out, 100%!)
While Cora was gone, the daughter looked at me and said: (paraphrasing) "I'm so glad you married my mom. I could see by the look on your face when she got in the car that something was wrong and you were really concerned. I'm just really glad that she married someone who will take care of her."
And then I hugged her.
Later, after Cora came back reporting that she wasn't using a bathroom until her butt cheeks were planted on her own toilet, the daughter told the wife what she'd just told me.
And hearing it again, I cried a little.
How did I schmuck like me end up with such a great daughter?