Thursday, February 27, 2014

Adventures with Chuck (and Ralph Lauren) Day 2

If you read yesterday's post then you know that Chuck was expecting great pomp and circumstance upon landing at Washington/Reagan. I'd planned to have a group of friends go with me to greet him (and Mom) at the airport but then remembered he absolutely hates to walk very far so scratched that plan. Instead, I simply pulled up to the curb and loaded their luggage. I wish I'd had my camera out to record his 'green' face and somber expression on what Mother described as a 'pretty turbulent descent' onto the runway. (Since the nation's capital is close to the flight pattern I have a theory on the reason for the strong wind....but we won't get into that now.)
I think the disappointment of not being greeted by the Welcome Wagon dissipated when these two squealed 'Uncle Chuck is here!' They were also very excited to see 'Nana' (my mom) but remember?

 She's not really 'here' as we're trying to give Chuck the experience of being here by himself. So, Mom is 'hiding out' at my daughters house. With MY grandchildren. Getting MY hugs, MY kisses and MY attention. She could have at least pretended to be disappointed that we're ignoring her. But, nnoooo......
Anyway, fast-forward to our apartment and this is what the Guest of Honor did all night.
He was pretty engrossed in his game of Piano Bar.
But he did break his concentration just long enough to inform me that the state bird of Alabama is the Yellowhammer, that the Bluebird is the state bird of not only Missouri but also New York and Louisiana's state bird is the Great Brown Pelican. And also that Connecticut has 3 'c's' which as far as he is concerned is one  too many.
'It's pronounced 'Conn-e-ticut' so why that 'c' in the middle?' that you mention it.
In the meantime, Sweet Sally has not let him out of her sight.
The way she treats sweet, so gentle. It's as if she knows.

Today it was a special lunch with his favorite nephew, William.

During lunch Chuck tried out a few of his 'new' jokes - 99.9% of them made up by him, no less - on William.  Of course Chuck is thrilled beyond belief if he elicits a laugh. You can tell by the photo that he was successful. It was a very 'happy' lunch.

Next on the agenda? Picking up a few things at Ralph Lauren in Georgetown. Let me just preface this by saying he was none too excited. He hinted that he just wanted to go back to my place and finish his computer game or finish reading Ralph Emory's autobiography. Now, don't get me wrong. I love country broadcasting legend Ralph Emory. But no way does he compare to Ralph Lauren. (Sorry, Mr. E).

He started to pout. I quickly re-directed.
"Trust me, Chuck.

He did.

Good grief! Before you could say 'Polo' he found all kinds of things he couldn't live without. Why, you'da thought the whole extravaganza was his idea.
Ralph Lauren, should you ever stumble upon this blog (I'm sure he peruses the internet daily for cool blogs to pass the time) I want you to know I can not sing the praises of Jordan and his staff enough.
Jordan, who happens to be one of the managers treated Chuck like he was a VIP customer. I am most positive when he saw Chuck 'target customer' did not even enter his mind. But yet he was amazing.
In case you don't know this about me take note: I judge people on how they treat the less fortunate. And all I can tell you is that Jordan is an angel. 

He helped Chuck find the right sizes, escorted him and his merchandise to the fitting room and get this - laughed at every one of Chuck's stupid funny jokes.
Bonus for Jordan? Chuck bought every single thing he tried on!
Nothing for me today but my reward was seeing John West, a long-time, well-respected employee of Ralph Lauren. The man has amazing style and a beautiful home. I introduced myself and told him I was one of his, um..I mean followers on Twitter.

l to r:  John, Chuck and his new bff, Jordan
I'm pretty sure that today Chuck got a  taste of what it's like to be a Washington, D.C. VIP.
But oh, ain't seen nothin' yet.
Stay tuned my friends.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The REAL Sugar Jones AKA 'Adventures with Chuck'

If you've read my novel "The Hillbilly Debutante Café" then you are in for a treat.
(If not then please rush out to your nearest bookstore, upload your Kindle or order from Amazon - puh-ronto!)
Because over the course of the next few days you'll have the opportunity to meet one of the characters - a real, true-blue character.
You see, the beloved Sugar Jones, was very much based on my special needs brother, Chuck.
My fans LOVE the character of Sugar.
 So, if you have read the book and are a 'Sugar' fan, then the answer to your questions are 'yes' and 'yes'. And 'yes' again.

Yes, he really does have the same capacity with numbers possessed by Raymond in the movie Rain Man.
Yes, he absolutely memorized the phone book and called everyone in town on their birthday.
(Warning: Chuck has a new cell phone and he can remember the phone number we had when we was a toddler in a neighboring town. Just sayin...)
And yes, he most certainly did bite a huge chunk out of the dash of Mother's brand spanking new 1980 Pinto.
No, he has not solved any 'town mysteries' because after all the plot line is fiction. For the most part. I mean, the cemetery chapter where someone is digging up a body is true. And the part about the radio station owner and newspaper owner hating each other is definitely true...but I digress.
Today is about Chuck. And the day after and the day after.
He is due here (DC-Reagan) in about an hour. Mother is coming with him but only as a matter of formality. We were all pretty leery of him being on a plane by himself so we made her come along just for the ride. I'll drop her off at my daughter's house and she has to stay out of sight because we want Chuck to feel like he is here on his own. Because although Chuck may not be like the rest of us we know he wants the same thing that other men his age want.
My biggest fear was that he'd be cramped in the middle seat with a plane stuffed to the gills with people that wouldn't appreciate his natural inquisitiveness - which is actually just a nice way of saying 'his non-stop questioning'.
"What's your name. I'm Chuck. I just had a birthday. I'm 47. Do you have a dog? No dog? How 'bout a cat? You do have a cat? What's the cat's name? Why do you have a cat and not a dog? What's the matter - you don't like dogs? Do you have brothers/sisters? Do they have dogs? How old are you? I'm 47."
We all love Chuck and are used to it but unfortunately you just don't know how other people will react. So just to be safe, Mama came along for the ride.

Because I'd hate to have to hunt someone down that was mean to him.
I've done it before.
Truth be told the whole town of El Dorado Springs, Missouri has spent many years protecting Chuck. I guess he's pretty spoiled in that way. Which could be why he hates to travel.
Why would anyone want to leave a place where they were loved, babied, coddled and protected? Beats me.
But out of the blue he decided he wanted to come to DC to see us.
So in about an hour my 'Adventures with Chuck' begin. I'll be documenting it with lots of pictures, and of course I'll be writing about it so you can follow.
He told my mom that he thinks the whole city of Washington D.C. is going to be ecstatic to see him.
And by golly, SOMEHOW, I'm going to pull that off!
Wish me luck.