Day 24: Could I have a Room Without Chickens?

Sometimes when you travel and you make reservations for a night, you ask specific questions. Just when you think you know what to ask, life throws a curve.  This is about one of the biggest curves I have experienced.

First of all, you need to know that I had children before I went to college.  I was a late bloomer, you might say. I loved college. The first two years, I went to a junior college in the town near where we lived.  I was able to take my basic courses and for less money than a traditional four year college or university.  Like everyone else, I had some electives to take.  I needed a science elective and selected an entomology course. The professor was very interesting  and lots took electives from him.  He was officially the bug and snake man at the college.  I have to say it was a difficult course but one of the most enjoyable I have ever taken,

One of the super things about the course was the field work. We were armed with killing jars and nets and went a lot of places capturing specimens for our collecton.  Then there was THE TRIP.  And it was a doozy. We went to South Georgia and Florida for a week.  People from three classes could attend. The bug class. The snake class.  The ocean class.  All total, there were perhaps 12 of us. Previous students pulled us aside and warned us not to ride with the professor.  So we didn’t. On the trip down we found out why.  We would be driving along and the professor would put on his blinker and pull off the road. In a second, he was chasing into the grass and scrub on the side of the road. The first time this happened, we just watched until he hollared back at us to get our nets and come on. So we did.  If he found an interesting snake, he would bag it. It went into the truck with him. I can deal with snakes but I do not want to share my seat in the car with them.  Ick!  I can also remember being in the scrub watching for snakes when he would shout to us to be careful and not disturb the snake.  When I saw a snake, I headed for the road. Period.

The first night we spent as a group was in a small town (village might be better) on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp,  We arrived late in the day after traveling from north Georgia and stopping numerous times to scour the roadsides. We were almost to the hotel. I pictured a cool room, a shower, bug spray, a cold coca-cola.  Ahh.  I was ready to stop. We went down a tar and gravel road for a few miles. Then we turned and went down a gravel road for a few miles.  Then when we could see no signs of civilization, we turned down a dirt road.  A narrow dirt road.  The brushes along the roadside scraped the sides of our vehicle.  Then we came to a clearing.  We were there, we guessed because the professor leaped out and shook hands with this large, weather-beaten man in overalls.

The building looked like it had started as a traditional shotgun house.  If it had ever been painted, there were only a few places that showed any color.  And that was gray. It had a long porch that ran along the front. The edges of the porch boards were curled up. Some places had gaping holes. The doors to rooms(we guessed) faced  directly out on the porch. Most doors were ajar. You could see completely under the entire house. Various cinder blocks held the structure up. A few places had truck rims substituted for the traditional piers. The three of us-the only women-looked at each other. We are staying here!!!!!???

Yep, apparently so.

The professor had arranged for is to share a large spacious room. So we went to check it out. First of all, we could not get the door open. It was ajar and stuck! The professor laughed and told us to put our shoulder into it. So we did.  When we got into the room, it was really big! There were four double beds, two chests, and several chickens. We just looked at each other! There was a big old fashioned sprayer in the room. So we checked to see if it had bug stuff in it. Yes it did! Then we looked at the beds and drew straws for them. They were iron beds and quite sturdy. The mattresses were fluffy on the edges and all had a huge sink hole in the middle of the mattress. The spreads were chenille and in pastel shades. If you sat on the edge of the bed, your body just rolled into the center.  One of the women who was 5 months pregnant, slipped into the center and it took two of us to pull her our!  We decided to take showers and then spray our room.  Sounded like a plan to us. The actual shower was interesting. It had slatted wood as the bottom. The water just ran down under the house and into the pig pen. We saw that when we tried to open the window. Then we got it open and closed it back again. But the water felt marvelous and we were refreshed. We sprayed the room and left. None of the other trip members were excited to see us. We had apparently used more than our quota of warm water that was stored in a sun heated tank. Oops again!

Later that evening as we were sitting around a fire pit, we listened to gator stories until we couldn’t sit up any more. As the three of us were leaving the pit, we heard the professor talk about what a steal the accommodations were.  Only $10 a room-we heard him say. We looked at each other and said, “He was taken!

Then we did a pinky swear that we would never tell anyone about our accommodations !  We certainly didn’t want our husbands to know what kind of accommodations that we had stayed in that night!