Thursday, January 7, 2010


Men and their toys! Christmas really brings out the kid in them. This year’s gadget of choice was a Garmin. Sounds like an exotic rodent to me but it’s a GPS. That’s basically a woman’s voice doing what I’ve done for years–telling Doug how to drive. And I do it for FREE!

Tom toms used to be drums used by Native Americans for communicating. Now it’s yet another brand of GPS. According to my husband, Garmins are better than Tom Toms.

My brothers like gadgets too and when we took a cruise together last spring, we drove straight down I-95 in our own three cars. I read Reader's Digest as Doug drove, following every verbal command from his GPS. There were no turns through three states to Florida, yet every time we stopped for gas, a drink or restroom she gave verbal instructions. Even while cruising on the interstate she’d interrupt my reading just to tell how many miles we had to go.

“Doug, could you turn off her voice?”

“I don’t know how yet.”

“Then could you turn her down or the whole thing off? I’m trying to read here.”

“I like it.”

“It’s a straight shot for the next six hours and you never appreciated ME doing the same thing!"

Come to find out, Bert and Ricky were both using their new toys too. I’ll admit not one of us got lost or made a wrong turn. Then again, there was ONLY one turn and Bert just followed our car right to the motel!

This Christmas we decided to give Garmins to our kids. Now living in Minneapolis or Canada means a lot of travel, so for John and Dave, our sons-in-law, this was ideal. Kent, our son, actually bought his before Christmas. We met at a beach house for the holidays. Doug and Kent used their Garmins, the others had clear print out instructions. I drove down early. Over the next five days, all five vehicles got LOST within one mile of finding the house!

I'd wandered in circles for 15 minutes, passing Sea Trail entrance signs over and over.

Finally in the literal fog of night I spotted a fire department.

“Sir, I’m lost but I know I’m close.” I read my address to him.

“Just make a left here and an immediate right, ma'am, and you’ll be there.”

I was. Finally.

Next night Doug drove down to join me. My phone rang.

“Kat, I’m close but got mixed up.”

"Ohhhh, so Miss Garmin didn’t get it right either, huh?" I didn’t say. I thought it but said instead, “I know, Honey. I got lost too.”

I tried to direct him but my brain was still in the fog and his landmarks were not lining up with my memory.

“I’m on the right street. I just saw the sign.”

So I stepped out onto the deck, peering up and down the dark street. No red truck. Still on the phone, I suggested, “Honk, Doug! I’ll listen for your horn. Then I can tell you hot or cold.” No horn, except for the faint sound on my cell phone.

Maybe Indian tom toms were actually better!

Finally he made a turn and I phone-cheered him from the deck, “I see your headlights, Doug!” Come on down two more houses...”
Later we realized he’d entered the street information as West instead of East. "Of course it wasn’t HER fault, Miss Perfect Garmin!" I didn’t say again.

Hard to believe, but all three kids got turned around and meandered in too. John called for help, “Mom, I just passed Sea Trail."

"Oh, good! That means you're close, John. I remember passing it."

"Was it on your left or right, Mom?"


Well... I DID pass it several times going back and forth too. I just couldn’t remember where it was on that last jaunt, just before I found the fire department! (They really are heroes. Even if they laugh at you.)

I turned the phone over to Doug. Then I heard him say, "Food Lion? Just stay there, John, I'll come get you." That works too. Heroes don't always wear uniforms. But Deputy Doug did rescue them in his red truck!

A few days later, when the kids opened their gifts, it was, “Wow! If there ever was a family who needed a GPS, it’s ours! These babies were made for us! Cool! Thanks, Mom and Dad!”
Progress? I’m not so sure. Spivey’s Corner, NC, has an annual hollaring contest and I’ve always thought my “Woooooo hooooooo” could win. It embarrassed the kids when they were small but when it signaled them to come, they always found me.

My Papa Tippett had a rebel yell that he once whooped out of our car window as he approached his home, after a week away. The whole neighborhood knew he was happy to be home, even if I nearly wet my pants!

Hog calling works too. Even better, I have an old dinner bell on my deck.
Farmers used it for generations to signal anything from dinner time to “Fire!”

I once was lost...and so was every member of the family.

But now am found...eventually getting home, with or without gadgets!

Wooooooo Hooooooo! Ya'll come back next week for more hilarity from
The Hendersons

1 comment:

  1. Must be genetic...Robbie calls me "GPS" (voice dripping with sarcasm) after some of my adventures. Glad to know I'm not the only one!