BREAKING NEWS

Dreams really do come true! If we can believe the constant barrage of news alerts, bulletins and breathlessly excited broadcasters, one of our most tiresome chores, grocery shopping, will soon be a thing of the past.

“BREAKING NEWS: AMAZON BUYS WHOLE FOODS CHAIN”

“BREAKING NEWS: AMAZON ANNOUNCES HOME DELIVERY OF PURCHASES SOON TO BE TESTED”

“BREAKING NEWS: Androids tested for use in packing grocery orders. Response favorable”

“BREAKING NEWS” POSSIBILITY OF USING DRONES FOR HOME GROCERY DELIVERY BEING CONSIDERED”

It just gets better and better! I can see the day coming when I kick back in my easy chair, pick up a WHOLE FOODS flyer, make my selection and punch my order into a smartphone. A disembodied voice answers and I’m in business.

AMAZON will soon have functioning androids programmed to receive orders, fill them, call up the next drone in an assembly line and dispatch it, all from centralized warehouses. My address will be entered into the drone’s data banks and it takes off.

Moments later my phone will ring and I step outside just as the drone lands gently at my feet. Or better still, it’s programmed to pass through an open door, settle on a kitchen counter and begin unpacking! Too good to be true? It may happen sooner than you think.

Or not!   What happens if the ‘droid that packed your order hadn’t been properly assembled, had a screw loose or some other little detail that threw off the entire operation? In a worst case scenario it might never have been fine tuned and it’s jerky movements caused it to do something outrageous; maybe nudge an entire case of JIM BEAM Kentucky Bourbon onto the floor for instance. The breakage and resulting fumes would send the entire assembly line into chaos.

‘Droids can’t possibly be affected by alcohol, that’s a no-brainer, unless an error in programming had resulted in accidentally including a “scent” sensor into their makeup, rather than a “send” sensor.

Drone after drone would take off in a cloud of Kentucky Bourbon fumes more than a little tipsy. My very first order might arrive with

A BANG!  A CLUNK!  A SPLASH!  And A SPLAT!

I’d dash out my front door to investigate the awful racket and find myself skidding down slimy steps and sliding across a definitely slick sidewalk. A horrified look around confirms my worst fears. My first AMAZON order has gone from groceries to garbage in one alcoholic spree. A distinct odor of JIM BEAM rises up and I stare in dismay. It’s raining groceries!

A carton of eggs drops with a crunch at my feet. Now, I enjoy omelets as much as anyone but a 12 egg omelet? And that would be only if I could get the shells strained out. An 8 pack of toilet paper unrolls as it descends, draping the magnolia tree faster than a crowd of rowdy teens on Homecoming Night. TIDE laundry detergent powders my lawn. Onions are rolling  everywhere, their smell fighting with the reek of the bourbon.

Fido bounds happily away with my rib eyes, and Fluffy snatches a salmon steak right out from under my nose. CHEERIOS add an alarming crunch to every move I make. The salad greens are tossing themselves as they float down in a leafy blur. A carton of chocolate milk lands squarely on top of my head, turning me from a platinum blonde to a brunette in seconds.

Fido bounces back for my sausage links, having safely buried the ribeyes under a lilac bush. A 6 pack of BUD LITE drops with a hard  THWACK!  and all 6 cans burst open, spraying  the TIDE covered lawn, creating a foamy effect around my ankles and bubbling up around the onions.

WELL! I want you to know I’ve just created my own Breaking News Headlines:

“DRUNKEN  ‘DROID  DOWNS  GROCERY  DRONE!”

adding my own spin to the story; “Irate housewife sues to bring D.U.I. charges against entire AMAZON Corporation.”

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La Luna de Miel: The Honeymoon (from my memoirs)

The aftermath of a great war leaves everyone trying to rebuild old lives or begin new ones. The end of World War Two found my husband and me both eager to get started on our future together.

Lynn had spent six years, from 1940 t0 1946, in the U.S.Navy and was relieved to be a civilian again, especially as our family now included two small daughters. He continued going to sea, serving now as a Marine Engineer with the U.S. Military Sea Transport, and our new way of life began to take shape.

Looking back over the hectic war years, it occurred to us that something important had been overlooked in the rush of our modest marriage. We’d never had a honeymoon!

So in 1949, six years and 4 months after the “I Dos,” we dropped our two daughters off with my mother, loaded up our 1940 Studebaker Champion and, with gasoline no longer rationed, we headed south. No “Just Married” signs smeared our car windows, no tin-cans rattled and clanked along behind, there was no rice falling out of everything, just the two of us enjoying perfect autumn days as we drove through the colorful Ozark mountains.

Our destination was Monterrey, Mexico. We didn’t speak a word of Spanish but somehow muddled and mumbled our way across the border. An American insurance company, Sanborn’s, had offices in every border city, ready to insure travelers with cars for any time spent in Mexico.  They also provided maps and guide books so we felt well prepared.

By the time we’d spent a week in Monterrey we’d fallen totally in love with the country, the people, the culture and the history. Our time was spent sightseeing, going through the wonderful museums, browsing the gift shops and eating real Mexican food; in other words, being tourists.

Feeling adventuresome, we decided to spend a few days in Saltillo, at that time still a small colonial mining town in the mountains. Driving up and down the hilly streets, we were delighted by the beautiful, black-eyed children who ran out at every turn, waving their arms at us and shouting  “Una Via!”  “Una Via!” We smiled and waved back, calling “Hello! How are you?” in English, pleased at such a warm welcome.

Fortunately for two dumb gringos, true Innocents Abroad, there was almost no traffic, We later learned “Una Via” meant “One Way” in Spanish and we were definitely heading backwards everywhere we went.

As in all honeymoon lore, our most treasured souvenir of a fabulous trip made his appearance nine months later, welcomed by his two big sisters and his proud parents. We parents were also busy cramming Spanish lessons in our spare time, anticipating our next trip to Mexico.

Life has a way of happening and quite a few years passed before we were able to see our dream come true. We made brief stops in Mexico a few times but it was some years before we had a chance to spend any quality time there. We’d lived in the Panama Canal Zone for nearly 12 years, driven through every country in Central America and chosen Guatemala and Belize as close runners-up to Mexico as favorites. We’d also traveled extensively throughout our own 50 states and most of Canada.

When the chance to revisit Mexico finally came, we eventually drove through every state, or “estado,” on numerous trips, usually with a small travel trailer bouncing along behind. Over the years of our retirement we spent months at a time in both the beach town of Mazatlan and the lovely old city of Guadalajara, enjoying the many friends we made.

And, yes, we did improve our Spanish.