And the answer is ...

Friday, June 1, 2012

I have spent most of my life asking questions. That's what newspaper folks do for a living. I'm also a curious person.

Over the years, I've been asked a few questions too. To me, some of the questions have been funny -- funny enough to remember for years and years.

During a visit last week with younger son in the Seattle area, I was asked another question that will be added to the list of funny ones.

One of my favorite funny questions came during a family vacation years ago in Colorado. The boys were young, and it was our first trip to the mountains. Somewhere near Breckenridge, which is where we were staying, is Boreas Pass. But the boys noticed that the P was missing on the road sign, so we had to go see for ourselves.

At the top of the pass were the remains of a ghost town. We also were on the Continental Divide. Water from melting snow going one way would eventually wind up irrigating farms in California, I guess. And the trickle of water going the other way eventually would wind up in the Mississippi River somewhere south of Cape Girardeau.

We decided not to take the road back to the highway. Instead, we followed a rocky, rutted one-lane path over the mountains. We drove and drove and drove. We were completely lost, except we knew there was only one way to go back. Finally, we could see far down the mountain into a valley where the roofs of buildings in a small town were visible. We finally reached the town: Fair Dealing? Fair Play? Something like that.

There was one restaurant, and the only waiter had left a blue haze of marijuana smoke in the dining room. Apparently it had been a slow day.

"Dude, you want to eat?" He asked. That's why we were in a restaurant, I said.

It took a long time to get our food, and we were all getting more and more amused by our looped waiter. I finally asked if pie was available.

"Don't know, man. I'll have to go see."

The waiter returned to report: "Like, we have pie, but only blueberry. All the other pie is gone. But I can get you blueberry if you want."

I said: I'll have a piece of pie.

He said (I swear I'm not making this up): "What kind?"

Our entire family was shrieking hysterically by this time. I doubt the waiter has any memory that we were there.

On last week's trip, we stayed at a lodge on the Pacific Coast in Olympic National Park. Our waitress at dinner tried hard, but she was either new or was familiar with a certain blue haze. The entire meal was one of mishaps and missteps. When she took our order, we had a choice of garden salad or Caesar salad. I ordered the Caesar salad.

"What kind of dressing?" asked the not-quite-there waitress.

I didn't answer. I waited. She waited. She looked at my wife. My wife looked at here.

Finally, the waitress said, "Yeah, right. I guess you want the Caesar dressing."

My all-time favorite question, however, came during a visit to the vet with our aging black cat, named Blackie.

While sitting in the waiting room, Blackie sphinxed in his carrier, daring any other animal to come close.

A chatty woman across the way tried to strike up conversations with everyone else with little luck. Finally she zeroed in on Blackie.

"Oh, what a pretty cat. What's its name?"

Guess, I said.

"What a pretty name. I never heard of a cat named Guess before."

I'm pretty sure there was no blue haze in the vet's office. Maybe it was the catnip.

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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