During the mid 1990’s and thru 2005 I traveled these great United States fairly regularly. I’ll share more stories about my great adventures on the road as I continue working on these stories.
I spent a lot of time in Ohio cities like Cincinnati, Wilmington, Cherry Valley, and Cleveland working with Grass seed distributors. One adventure had me in Ohio on a business trip late one winter and I had decided that on this trip I would make the drive north from Wilmington up thru Dayton to Lima Ohio. At that time I had an Aunt and Uncle up there and I had not seen them in years.
I don’t recall exactly what year it was, but I do know that it was winter and snowing in Ohio. I had a full week of work to do in Wilmington, but I figured if I worked long and hard on Thursday I could afford to take off on Friday. So that is exactly what I did.
I left Wilmington late Thursday evening for the 2 hour drive north. Little did I know that the people in Ohio drive differently than we do in North Carolina. You see, down south, we drive the same in the sun, rain or snow. And because of this, we have more accidents in the snow. In Ohio, they slow down in the snow. Now, this may be good for reducing accidents, but it sure makes a mess of a 2 hour drive. It took well over 4 hours to get to Lima that night.
For those of you who know me, you know that I don’t drink and drive. But, get me to where I want to be after a long hard day and I will have an ice cold beer every time.
I pulled into Lima and into the parking lot of the hotel at nearly midnight. I found my hotel pretty easily (even before the days of GPS). I parked my car, grabbed my overcoat, cell phone and duffle bag. Another fact for those of you who do not know me, I can travel on most business trips for up to 5 days in a duffle bag. I got good at packing tight and light.
After checking in I walked directly to the bar, probably about 5 stools away from the only other guy at the bar. The barmaid walked over to me and greeted me with a cordial “hello sir, what can I get you?” I asked for a Heineken, which was my beer of choice back in the 1990’s. I peeled off my overcoat and hung it across the bar stool to my right.
The guy to my left said hello and we started a conversation about the weather. I had my beer and continued chatting with the guy. Our conversation picked up and I decided to move over next to him so that we could talk easier. I left my coat where it was. This was my big mistake.
I believe that the guy told me he too was traveling to Lima on business and had got caught in the traffic and snow coming up from Cleveland. It is also likely that I ordered another beer or two from the barmaid as we continued to talk.
Here is where I set myself up to get in trouble. At some point I heard a cell phone ring, but I did not think it was mine, so I ignored it. It was after all, midnight and I knew that no one was looking for me. However, the barmaid thought it was important to find the ringing cell phone and answer it, even if it was my cell phone in my overcoat 4 or 5 bar stools away from where I sat.
She reached over the bar, dug around in my coat pocket and pulled out my cell phone, which at this time had started to ring again. She flipped open the phone and said “Hello, who is this?”
All you need to know from this point forward is that my wife did not like the fact that she called my cell at midnight and some woman answered it. I immediately paid my bar tab, grabbed my cell phone and overcoat and headed out of the bar, towards my room frantically returning the call to my wife to no avail. She did not talk to me until later that day and it took quite a bit of discussion to convince her of the truth.
Years have gone by since that night in Lima and I never let my cell phone out of my sight, especially while at a bar.
Another story by Teddy Burriss. I hope you enjoyed it.