Telling travel stories is about recounting the highest highs and the lowest lows. Whether it’s rejoicing as the summit of the mountain is reached, or laughing along at the follies of a ride on a midnight chicken bus, readers are voyeuristically invested in the epic moments. (Although, let’s be real, we find the chicken bus story just a little bit more deliciously enjoyable.) As I recount our stories, it is the highs and lows that we retell the most, but sometimes I feel sorry for the stories that didn’t quite make the cut simply because everything worked out in the end. They had the potential to be the next chicken bus story, but instead, everything balanced out to the mundane. Every story gets it’s day, I say. I want to celebrate those stories-the stories charged with emotion as the balance of good fortune seemed to be heading towards tragedy, but leveled out. These are the stories of the things that could have gone very badly, but didn’t.
~Jungle Blankie and Owner: A Match Made in Sleeping Heaven~
Act Three:The Missing Blankie
Jungle Blankie is not just an average comfort item; it is practically a member of the family. Knowing that being away from home is stressful for kids, I was prepared with a jungle blankie redundancy just in case Jungle Blankie “The Original” should be misplaced. The extra Jungle Blankie was kept safely in the camper at all times, and we rested easier knowing that it was available.
We had planned to spend a few days in a hotel in downtown Atlanta, so we packed up just like a vacation and left our house on wheels. Of course, Jungle Blankie “The Original” was packed carefully for the trip. We arrived in Atlanta just as Hurricane Sandy began making its presence known on the coast, and brought with it gale force winds that whipped through the downtown buildings. We blustered our way through downtown, with the wind carrying us forcefully across the street and threatened to knock us off our feet.
~Jungle Blankie Does the Manhattan Ferry~
At the end of the day, the bedtime ritual called, so I began to gather the necessary supplies. That’s when I noticed it. Jungle Blankie was g-o-n-e. I kept a smile on my face, so the baby wouldn’t sense the fear that was beginning to grip me. A non-sleeping baby is definitely something to be feared. We began to back track our steps, calling lost and found and searching nearby, but no luck. Knowing that time was of the essence, the Mister set out to search the city in the dark and I began calling baby stores in the area to see if they might have a stand- in Jungle Blankie. I had no luck on my end, but I kept my hopes pinned on the search in the blustery blackness.
I heard the key in the hotel door and my heart stopped. The mister was standing there empty handed, but his Cheshire cat grin gave him away. Hidden behind his back was the coveted sleep inducer. Against all odds, the blanket was found in the park where it had blown off the stroller hours before. “My Jungle Blankie!!!” the baby squealed and he toddled off to bed. It’s hard to say who was more relieved, the baby or myself.