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I am a children's writer from the Virgin Islands. Growing up there was like living inside a history book; an imagination stimulator. Consequently I've been writing for just about forever. I am a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and a member of SCBWI.

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I post on Monday and Thursday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Rotten Kid on a Road Trip

My mother affectionately called me The Rotten Kid because from time to time I'd pull small harmless stunts. Of course I blamed her because she's the one who taught me to be, at times, unpredictable and/or irreverent.

You can read about a few exploits HERE.

Almost as soon as we Denhams moved to the Virgin Islands in 1955 we began dreaming of the day when we'd take a cross country trip from Florida to California.

In the summer 1970 everything came together and the dream became a reality. Mom, Dad, my sister Erva, and I packed up, flew to Florida and bought a used station wagon. We drove up the East Coast as far as Virginia to visit family. Then we headed out West, crossing West Virginia, Kentucy, Illinoise, and on through the endless corn fields of Iowa and Nebraska. We went through Wyoming and saw Yellowstone. Drove through Montana and across the northern arm of Idaho, stopping in Coeur d'Alene where my father had gone to Navy bootcamp. Then it was on Washington.

Dusk on the Inner Harbour (FP explored)
Victoria. A beautiful place!
Dad had family in Victoria on Vancouver Island, so we decided to catch the ferry at Port Angeles and go visit.

It was very early in the morning when we went into a Denny's to eat breakfast before before making the crossing.

We settled into a booth and a waitress came over to take our drink orders and give us menus.

The Rotten Kid decided this was a good time to do something unexpected. I picked up the knife and fork and began studying them as if I'd never seen them before. I then looked the waitress in the eye and holding the utensils up I asked in a most intelligent and innocent manner, "What are these for?"

The waitress, obviously flustered, ignored the question and asked us what we wanted to drink. All the while my parents and sister were trying hard not to snort and giggle.

What would your response be? Do you or have you ever played tricks on people?


Anansi and I are out and about again. This week we'll be visiting Anne Gallagher at Piedmont Writer. Anansi is hoping for High Tea since Anne is not only a writer of Regency Romance but a chief as well. I've told him to be polite, but I'm not sure if I can keep him from pestering her for some scones with strawberry preserves!

Hope you'll come by and see what we're up to.

PLUS... today Jess and Stephanie over at The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow announce the winner of a free copy of Anansi and Company! It could be YOU!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We play tricks at work on each other. Certain people make very good targets!

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's a funny trick. I was too much of a goodie two shoes to do anything like that. Sounds like a fun trip.

Manzanita said...

Long car trip. It's difficult to keep kids entertained for such a long driving spell. But you saw some divirsified country.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

If I'd been the waitress, you would've gotten me.

Vancouver Island is so pretty! We stayed there for a few days and I loved the gardens the best. Plus the castle was neat.

Barbara Watson said...

Love it! I was (and still am) to shy/reserved for such things so now I write things like them into my stories. :-)

Peni R. Griffin said...

I'd probably have disappointed you by keeping my face straight and saying: "To eat your food with. What would you like to drink?"

Donna K. Weaver said...

You crack me up. No wonder you're a writer. lol

Carol Kilgore said...

Hilarious! I wish I would've thought of ever doing that.

Vijaya said...

Love it! Alas, I think I've said that for real ...

My brother, sister and I also loved playing pranks and still do :)

Man, what a road trip!!! I love them.

Lady Lilith said...

Lol. My brother was usually the one in the family with all the tricks up his sleeve.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bish - brothers and sisters always playing tricks ... and how my mother kept her sense of humour, while travelled across Europe I'll never know. Taking the mickey out of the Germans after the War wasn't such a bright idea! Kids be kids ..

Love the thought of this though .. rotten kid you be!!

Cheers Hilary

cleemckenzie said...

Rotten Kids turn out to be the most entertaining adults! I'm sure you made that trip exciting for everyone, including that waitress.

Susan Kane said...

Very long car trips can cause a child to have a "break" of some sort. Your choice was superb.

klahanie said...

Hi human, Bish,

My human couldn't imagine to play tricks on people. Although he did shock everybody in an English pizza joint by eating pizza with his fingers. The rest of the folks ate them separately.

My human has been to Victoria several times. Capital of BC, eh!

Pawsitive wishes,

Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

Medeia Sharif said...

I would say, "They're antennae so you can communicate with your home planet." I don't know, sometimes I get sassy or silly when I'm on the spot like that.

M. J. Joachim said...

I'd probably come back with something like, "They're meant to style your hair." Then I'd look at you like you were an alien or someone from a different planet who didn't have a clue.

Misha Gericke said...

Hehehe that must have freaked her out.

I've pretended to eat leaves when people kept staring at me for not wearing a school uniform. (I went to a plain-clothes school, which isn't the norm in my country.) :-D

Misha Gericke said...

Hehehe that must have freaked her out.

I've pretended to eat leaves when people kept staring at me for not wearing a school uniform. (I went to a plain-clothes school, which isn't the norm in my country.) :-D

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

That's funny. And yes, I still do "mean" things to people all in the spirit of fun.

Crystal Collier said...

That's too awesome. I never was a prankster like that, but I did like to pull food related pranks on April 1st.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

:D Your family sounds like so much fun. My grandmother was a trickster. She once chased a passel of little kids out of an apartment basement (where they weren't supposed to be) by putting a black tarp over herself and flapping it. We all ran and screamed quite sure the boogeyman lived there.

DMS said...

I had no idea you were such a trickster! I think this story sounds hilarious. I would have probably explained what they were used for and given a quick demo. You gave the waitress a good story to tell too. Your trip sounds amazing. I have always wanted to drive across the country!