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.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. While at work (Eola Hotel) I was asked to take a guest to the New Orleans airport which caused mixed emotions. I didn't know the person and was not sure what to talk about for three hours while driving. Being a good talker I didn't want to ride for three house without good conversation. What if this person was self centered or didn't talk at all. What if I knew nothing about what she was talking about. Oh well - at least I would get out of the office for the day and looked forward to that.

    As the three hour journey began we exchanged names and began to share stories about our lives, our past, present and future. We told stories of our families, our beliefs and our wants and dislikes. It was great. I pointed out different attractions and locations and shared the story of each. We saw a film crew setting up and what appeared to be a police chase and even an eagels nest in the trees. As the miles passed quickly so did the time.

    I quickly realized that I was riding with a very special person, Pam Perkins. She was great and it was as if I had knows her forever and could tell her any secret. We come from different walks of life but no could have convienced me of that during our journey.

    At the airport we exchanged email address, phone numbers and many great hugs. I just didn't want to drive away because I had so much more to say and wanted to hear her talk more. The three hours were way to short, why couldn't the airport be six hours away. I had more to share with her and knew she had more to tell me. After watching Pam enter the airport I drove away with tears of joy and sadiness on my face. What if I never see or talk to her agai but yet so happy for the time we shared. My head was spinning with memories already.

    I said a silent prayer thanking God for this time and for a very speedy recovery for my new "pen pal".

  2. Hi Miss Pam
    What a cool blog, especially since Miss Patti is my sister. I'm the one that lives in Ohio. I can relate to so many of your comments about Patti since I've heard them or lived through them also!! :) I am 58 and maybe I'll take up cycling in three years (when I retire). I do enjoy spinning but would enjoy being outside more. My stepdaughter wants me to take it up (with her). You've given me inspiration. I hope your shoulder is going to get better!! get back on your adventure.