My Presidential Encounter with the Great Beyond

Last month, my sister Michelle and I drove 1,100 miles to Pennsylvania for a funeral.  (More on that later.)  While we were there, I had strange and eerie experience that I think most of you will appreciate.  (I attempted to share my occurrence with a few friends after I got home, but sadly, they all just gave me the “DUH!” face, and it was evident they weren’t able to get the irony.)

On our way home, we stopped in Gettysburg at the Lincoln Diner.  (Don’t forget, Michelle’s a history major, so if anyone doesn’t know what relevance Gettysburg and Lincoln have, you’d better not voice it here or she’s likely to attack you in the comments section!)

Lincoln Diner, Gettysburg, PA

When we got to the diner, I used the restroom in the basement in the stall closest to the far wall.  We ate, then my sister used the restroom.  When she got back to the table, once more I went back to the basement and used the same stall that I’d used before, only this time, I found a heads-up penny on the floor.  (For my foreign friends, Abraham Lincoln is on our U.S. penny as well as on our five dollar bill.)  I told Michelle that the former president was trying to contact me from the Great Beyond, and since he knows I’m a writer, he probably wants me to add an addendum to his Gettysburg Address.

We laughed and proceeded to go check out the Gettysburg Train Depot that President Lincoln used when he went there in 1863.  The station was only in operation from 1850 through 1870.  We then went through the Gettysburg Battlefield, then headed home.

Gettysburg Train Station

(FYI: The sky in the actual photos was grey and dismal, so I Photoshopped in the blue sky and clouds.  The car really did just happen to pass as I snapped that photo, though I had to paint over a couple of people that were walking on the sidewalk across the street.)

Because were drinking tons of fresh apple cider (YUM!) as we drove, we broke my rule about stopping only every 250 miles for gas and a restroom, and we stopped at the Welcome Center in Maryland.  While I used the facilities, I found yet another heads-up penny!  I knew then that President Lincoln really was trying to contact me.

The cider was absolutely phenomenal, and it really gave our bladders a workout.  So at the Virginia Welcome Center, once again we made a pit stop…  And you guess it, I found a heads-up penny!  I had no doubt that the former president wanted to send me a message, but my sister was still skeptical.  So to convince her, I suggested that the next place we stopped, I should find a five dollar bill.  She agreed that if that happened, she’d be a believer.

Well, we stopped in North Carolina.  Only instead of finding any money, I found a sign on the restroom mirror telling us that human trafficking was prevalent there and we should beware!    (Yes, really!  I would’ve taken a photo, only I left my phone in the car, and after that warning, I was afraid to run out and go back in the restroom!  Plus the big homeless woman who was talking to her dog in the bathroom and kept trying to approach us scared us a bit.)

In South Carolina, we found that the Welcome Center was not welcoming at all!  There were bars over the vending machines  with signs telling us it was unsafe there, so we should reach through the bars!  The Welcome Center was locked at only around 9:00 PM, and the door said it locked the doors each day at 5:00!  There were no signs directing us to the outside restrooms, so we had to walk all the way around the building in the dark with four big, scary men walking around outside digging through the garbage!  When we did find the restrooms, the men’s and the ladies’ side were through one entrance, and there was no door in the doorway.  So needless to say, we were pretty freaked out and hurried to get out of there and back to our car.

I was afraid that my rendezvous with President Lincoln had come to an end, but when we finally got home (thankfully in one piece!), I actually found a fourth heads-up penny on the floor of my very own living room!  (The same living room that was cleaned before I left.)

Lincoln Pennies

Unfortunately, I had to go back to work the next day, though I felt like sleeping for a week, so if President Lincoln was indeed trying to send me a message, I was too tired to receive it.

Let’s talk:  Were you hopeful that I’d actually find a five dollar bill?  Has a dead president ever tried to contact you before?  How cool was it that that old car drove in front of the railroad station while I was taking photos?

The Night the Full Moon Crashed into My House or Something Like That

Once, my sister Michelle (and my children) and I lived in Orlando.  My best friend Lora, who lives in Toronto, called and said she was going to a concert just outside of Boston a couple of  days later, and she wanted us to join her.

Well, it was too late to get plane tickets at a decent price, so Michelle and I decided to drive.  We left my kids at my Grandma’s house (which added two hours to our journey), then kept going from there.  All told, we drove the twenty-one hours to Boston straight through and got there the morning of the concert.  (We drank LOTS of caffeinated soda on the way, but with our singing, storytelling, and game-playing in the car, we usually don’t actually mind such long road trips!)

After the show, we partied with the band, didn’t get much sleep, and left the next day to drive back home.  Now, with my Asperger’s Syndrome, it’s impossible for me to sleep in a car, so on long trips, I usually do most of the driving.  Such was this trip.  Michelle also stayed awake to help make sure I stayed focused, so she, too, got little to no sleep during our adventure.  (Again, we drank lots of caffeine, sang, laughed, and played games to pass the time.)

We hit some bad weather, and our trip home took a little longer than we expected, so when we hit Orlando, we decided to just go home and pick up my children the next day. It was too late to call my Grandma, so I planned on calling her about getting the kids when I woke up.  We got to our house at roughly 2:30 AM on Saturday morning, we each went to our respective bedrooms, and we proceeded to pass out.  Neither of us set an alarm since we figured we’d be up in the early afternoon.

When I finally woke, the house was dark.  It was 6:30 in the evening!  I couldn’t believe I had slept sixteen hours!  Furthermore, I couldn’t believe that Michelle was still asleep!  I went to the kitchen and played the answering machine before I took a shower.  There was a message from my brother Chris.  He told me that his grandfather died.

So, I decided to call Chris and give him my condolences before the shower.  He answered the phone on the third ring.  “Hello?”  He sounded as if he’d been crying.  It was understandable.  I tried to talk to him, but he hurried me off the phone and said he’d have to call me later.  I thought it was a little rude, but then I dismissed it due to his loss and went about taking my shower.

When I got out of the bathroom, Michelle was still asleep.  So, I turned on the television and my computer, then I started to catch up on my email.  However, as I worked, a creepy feeling came over me.  Instead of the light outside getting darker with the sunset, it started getting brighter!  I suddenly had the unnatural fear that the full moon was coming closer to earth and would soon be crashing into my house!

The windows in my room were blacked out (because I like to sleep in a cave without even the light from my alarm clock to illuminate things), so admittedly, even in the middle of day, I could only see a thin line of sun pouring in through the edges of the window.  But I started feeling chills as if it were the end of the world and everybody forgot to tell me.

So, I ran to Michelle’s room and woke her.  It was nearly 8:00 by then.  And after I told her all that had happened, she panicked, too, until we finally thought to look at the date and time on the computer.  Yes, you probably already guessed it…  It was not 6:30 PM on Saturday night when I woke up.  It was 6:30 AM on Sunday morning!

I had slept twenty-eight hours in a row!  (And my sister slept an hour and a half longer than that!) 

No wonder Chris was so rude to me when I called!  Even the times I’ve had mono, I’ve never slept that long!

So tell me: Have you ever feared you slept through the Apocalypse?  Have you ever felt the planets came unaligned?  Have you ever called someone at an inappropriate hour and then had them give you a rude greeting?  Would you have driven from Florida to Massachusetts without stopping for the night?  What’s the longest you’ve ever slept?