Clark Howard

August 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Clark Howard is our family’s travel agent. He’s a cheapskate, but he would tell you the same thing. There’s always a travel deal out there and a catch. You might not know your final destination until the day of, but hey, carpe diem.

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Johnnie Mae is really good at being last minute. In the second grade, I was so proud that she was our class’ room mom. She’s ninja level on the creativity spectrum and a master problem-solver; the room mom litmus test. She abdicated her thrown, however, one month into her official reign because she was better at being last minute.

“Start collecting money for the teacher’s Christmas present? It’s day 2. Shouldn’t we wait to see if our kids actually learn something?” (Editor’s Note: I can’t sign an affidavit asserting that she ever said this, but I know her well enough. She was thinking it.)

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My junior prom, I was not a fan of her last minute tendencies. A few mothers got wind of her creative talents and convinced her to help decorate. Believing she could do that and still make it home to help me get ready, she spread herself too thin. She and my date’s mother came flying through the front door with thirty minutes to spare to help your’s truly. Of course, by that point I was ready to file emancipation papers. While ma mère pinned my hair in place, I may have said something along the lines of “I just can’t count on you. I can never count on you.” There was also an exaggerated eye roll, but that came from my mother.

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Despite it all, she’s Lloyd . See reference. On a Saturday morning whim, she’d make her way down the hall, swing our bedroom doors open, and flick on the lights yelling for us girls to wake up. Like a drill sergeant barking orders, “You got thirty minutes. Shower, and pack your bags. Bring extra underwear and a jacket. It’s gonna be cold.”

Questioning her about where we were going or why she waited until the last minute to tell us was quickly met with, “Oh! Don’t give me any grief.”

Not even the best room mom can hold a candle to Johnnie Mae’s go with the flow approach to travel. Close your eyes and just go was the deal. Make the rest up as you go was the goal. Just don’t give her any grief along the way.

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What you can’t see are the sweet leather pants I’m wearing. I’ll save that for another day.

I have Clark Howard to thank. His Friday morning travel report on Atlanta’s AM 750, pulled my sisters and I out of bed on several Saturday mornings for San Fran, NYC, Toronto, and D.C. “Take advantage of these travel deals quick, folks,” he’d say as ma mère furiously looked between the seats of the Suburban for a scrap sheet of paper and pen. Upon finding a junk mail envelope, I was commissioned to take that morning’s travel minutes as we neared the school’s carpool drop off. “Write that down. What were the blackout dates? Did he say Delta or United?”

I recall how fruitless it all seemed. Who plans a vacation last minute? Come Saturday morning, the joke was on me.

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Pajama paarrtyyy!

The joke is still on me. Fruitless, it was not. Johnnie Mae was cleverly planting seeds. Recently, Hattie Collins Moll, owner of Hattie Sparks (remember this), was featured on The Everygirl. She said something that deserved an amen: “If you aren’t willing to adapt to situations, you will eventually stall out.” Working without a plan can rattle the brain, but sometimes you need that to test your growth. Jumping on a plane without a plan, can do that…and I have ma mère to thank.

When I feel like I’m stalling out, I pack extra underwear and a jacket. I’m not sure where I will be headed, but if my travel track record is any indicator, I think I will be alright.

This video took beaucoup time to create, but that’s why they call them *masterpieces.* Come on an Asian adventure with me, won’t you?

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