Thursday, May 10, 2012
Driving Miss Pami
Tuesday's three hour drive from Natchez to the airport could have been a real downer, but it wasn't. Instead I arrived at the airport full of hope knowing that I had just met an angel whose name was Miss Patti. When Guide Lynne was working to find transportation for me to New Orleans, the manager of the Eola Hotel said a member of her staff needed to go to NOLA and would be willing to drive me for $100 plus $50 for gas. Since an earlier shuttle quote was $350, I was very happy a cheaper alternative had been found.
In a sweet Southern drawl, the driver introduced herself as Miss Patti. For three hours we shared tidbits about our lives: her kids, my marriage, her job, my bike ride and an explanation of why I was going home. She was very happy when I said how impressed I was with the courteous staff at her charming hotel and the extreme friendliness of Southerners overall. With elongated speech, she entertained me with believable stories about haunted houses, which includes the Eola Hotel and how the ghosts of young Eola and her father are still cavorting around. She bubbled with enthusiasm when talking about her steadfast love for PBR (Professional Bull Riding), and how her new iPhone makes it possible to check in with her sisters almost every day. She nibbled on cheese whiz crackers and drank from a bottle of Mountain Dew as she described her near-heart attack but explained that new habits included vegetables but little or no red meat. I could tell how excited she was about a nearby "dig" to uncover treasure from a 150-year-old sunken ship, but how disappointed everyone was when the loot didn't turn up. There was sadness in her voice when I heard about her 17-year-old daughter's tragic death, and how she has pieced together reasons that sustain her today. Raised a Southern Baptist, she holds a steadfast belief never to question God, so I told her about losing my dear friend while snorkeling in The Philippines last year. I went on to describe the lone whale shark sighting on our very last day, and Patti validated my belief that this was indeed a silent message from Kaye telling us she was all right and a visible sign that said everything would be okay.
Although I was eager to get on with my long journey, I really didn't want to say goodbye. We parted with several big hugs and our mutual belief that everything in life happens for a reason. And for me it was meeting Miss Patti.
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Posted by Pam Perkins at 1:37 PM