Friday, February 02, 2007

Monday, Monday...

(I know it's really Friday, but I had started this on Monday...really!)

And, it's like Groundhog Day all over again! It's Monday, and guess where we are again? Yep, back in the classroom. Thankfully, it was just for a department meeting, but then we had to meet with our supervisor in a conference room to discuss all the stuff we'd sat in the classroom listening to last week...whoot! And then, after lunch, we got to go BACK into the classroom and listen while the lesser new than us newbies did an initial call with a new customer. Aaauuugh!

Speaking of Groundhog Day, which I really do love, but not because of Andie McDowell, she of the godawful accent and one dimensional acting, one of our customers is in Punxsatawney, PA, and we've got a couple of peeps who are onsite there this week. The really exciting thing happened to them last week, when along about Thursday, the customer called to let them know that their hotel had burned. Evidently, there are only two hotels in Punxsatawny, and lodging is tight with the big fiesta coming up!

I jokingly made the comment about hoping it wasn't that cute little B&B where Bill Murray stayed in the movie, and someone else says, "you know, that movie was filmed in Wisconsin."

It was like someone said that there really was no Santa Claus or Bigfoot...I had always envisioned that little picket fenced hotel in a small Pennsylvania town, and how it might be cool to visit Punxsatawny for Groundhog Day sometime...kind of along the lines of that side trip we took to Chincoteague Island so I could fulfill my 10-year old self's dream of seeing wild ponies and where Misty lived, and my bubble was flat busted. Actually, according to, the movie was filmed in Woodstock, IL., and Bill Murray was bitten twice by the groundhog during filming. This is what happens when you try to drive over a cliff with a groundhog who doesn't want to go over a cliff.

I know, I know, deep down inside, I know that movies are hardly ever filmed where it looks like they are set (how's that for sentence construction), but I guess that's part of the wonder and magic of the movies...kinda like the wonder and magic of books. Which brings us back to Misty and that ill-fated side trip to Chincoteague that wasn't really a side trip, but more like 4 hours out of our way, but dammit, when you are thisfreakin'close to fulfilling a deep-seated, long standing desire that you've had since you were 10 years old, 4 hours is nothing, baby, nothing.

As we are driving through the wilds of Maryland and Virginia towards "Pony Island," as The Man dubbed it, I tell him the story about Misty, and Paul and Maureen, and Grandpa Beebe, and the whole cast of characters in the books. (I think this is when the lightbulb went off that maybe, just maybe, his blushing bride was seriously touched in the head...and also went a loooong way towards explaining why packages bearing old withdrawn copies of children's library books bought on eBay kept showing up on our doorstep.)

We finally make it Chincoteague, which of course looks nothing like those wild and wonderful Wesley Dennis illustrations in the book. We go to Assateague, the barrier island where the ponies and the biggest damn mosquitos you've ever seen in your life live. We barely escaped with any blood left in our bodies after we stopped to take pictures at the Assateague lighthouse. And, the damn ponies were out in the middle of the marsh and refused to come closer for pictures. (My mother-in-law stops at Assateague the very next day, while coming home from the Outer Banks beach trip, and the traitorous ponies are the fence, practically posing for her. Grrr.)

We drive around the island, looking for the Beebe Ranch, because surely someone has turned it into a national monument. Can't find a thing remotely resembling a national monument. We stop at a little local restaurant and have some damn fine oyster stew, and I find a flyer in the rack by the ladies room and that mentions the Beebe Ranch and the "Misty Museum."

Finally! We are on our way back around the island to find the ranch. We had a veryclosecall moment when I almost wrecked the car by slamming on the brakes and veering wildly to the side of the road when I saw a little bronze statue on the side of the road that commemorated where part of the ranch used to be.

I get out and make The Man take pictures of it, because I can't see to focus the camera because I'm all teary-eyed, because we're actually here!! Where Misty was!!! Where I've dreamed of coming since I was 10 and discovered that little dog-eared paperback on Mrs. Freeman's 5th grade reading corner shelves.

We continue down the road until we find this little frame house with a sign out front that proudly proclaims it is the famous Beebe Ranch. For a national monument, it's looking a little worse for the wear and tear, and a lot smaller than I imagined it...

I hop out of the car and rush inside to see what they had to offer. Basically, it was a lot of clippings, some prints, and a few horseshoes. And the sign...the one that said, "See Misty," with an arrow. I think this must be leftover from the glory days when Misty really lived there, and even though the flyer had said something similiar, I had dismissed it.

The Man is wandering around outside and comes to tell me that they won't let him go in the barn, because "it costs extra." I want to know what's in the barn, and he tells me it's the horse. At first, I think it must be a descendant of Misty's, because while horses are long-lived, this book was written in the 1940s. Then, it dawns on me--she's gotten the Trigger treatment and they stuffed her! At this point, we have to leave, because I am just verklempt, to put it mildly. And, I've still not completely come to terms with it, even though it was 3 years ago, so we'll just leave it alone and go to our happy place--the Chincoteague of our 10-year old dreams.

Which is really where Punxsatawny Phil evidently wanted to go this morning, when he was hauled out of his hole and expressed his displeasure by taking a dump on the stage, according to the eyewitness reports of our folks on site in Punxsatawny. Way to go, Phil!

More next week from the wilds of the road--we're headed to rural Illinois, where the high will be 11 degrees...with a low of -2. Remind me why I wanted to travel again?


SUEB0B said...


That is the worst thing I have ever heard.

I loved that book, too, and when we drove from our house in rural, coastal california to the town where we shopped, I would pretend I could see Misty running across the fields of grass.

Linna said...

I'm sorry you're still angsting about Misty. (The stuffing part really got to me too.) It's the whole thing about book-fantasy being every so much more satisfying than real life.

I found you a very nice B&B in Puxatawney:
But I think you'll do better if you go in the summer time rather than during the zoo of Ground Hog's Day. The Bill Murray movie has made it more of a circus than it was before.

I didn't realize that Puxatawney was just down the road from Clarion. Clarion, PA, was where the Clarion SF writers workshops got it start. It started there between my junior and senior year in high school. I know they because that was the summer I was lucky enough to go to a National Science Foundation summer school in archaeology at Clarion. The archaeology students knew Something was going on across the tiny campus because very strange people were there and we could hear the distant clatter of typewriters (no word processors in those days). Eventually I spotted a flyer (which I still have) for the writers workshop, and I invaded their dorm. Oh, how I wanted to stay and type stories instead of digging in the hot sun every day.