Monday, March 28, 2011

Number 29

According to Urban Dictionary, the following definitions apply to, “up the road”:

1.     Up The Road
Deceptively nearby, especially when referring to a destination requiring a car trip. The term applies well in areas where roads are winding and possess very few landmarks, such as in rural communities.
The county courthouse is right up the road. (In reality, it takes about 45 minutes to get there.)

2.     Up The Road
An expression used when someone in prison loans you something. For instance, someone gives you a bag of chips and says "up the road." That means, "I want to see that exact same bag of chips some day".
Here's some cigarettes, up the road, my brotha.

For as long as I can remember, my dad and Uncle Donnie have played Keno on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  I have to admit, I didn’t know what they were doing on those mornings until I was a little older.   Mainly because, whenever I asked where they were going, I always got the response, “up the road”.  I never asked where "up the road" was, I was just content with any answer, I suppose.  The older I got, it became clear to me that, “up the road”, seemed to be my family’s terminology for any place that had anything to do with gambling.  So, the following is the definition for “up the road”, according the Laney-Graben Dictionary:

1.     Up the Road
Any place where gambling is affiliated; can include, but not limited to, a Shell gas station, the terribly missed dog track (aka: Victoryland), Biloxi, and yes, even PhiladelphiaMississippi that is.
a.      Mama, where did daddy go?  He and Uncle Donnie went up the road.
b.      Mama Nell and JJ went up the road, to Shorter (when it was open, mind you).

A few weekends ago, I stayed with my parents in Valley, and I had the pleasure of accompanying my dad and Uncle Donnie in their trip, "up the road" Sunday morning. 
That Saturday night before, my dad gave me a pre-Keno lesson.  He brought some of those ticket things home for me to go ahead and fill out, so I would be well prepared for our Keno session.  I took about an hour to select my numbers.  I thought, “There has to be some art to picking these Keno numbers”, so I wanted to make sure I had it down.  I had some crazy system for picking my numbers.  I can’t really explain how I did it.  Just know there was a lot of adding, subtracting, birthday recognition, and of course 90210 involved.  Jack picked my last number for me, 82.  Too bad, the numbers on the ticket don’t go past 80.  Of all numbers for a 5 year old to pick, 82, really?   So, I just added 8 and 2 together, and he reluctantly agreed to that.

Dad woke me up pretty early Sunday morning.  After I removed Jack’s foot from my rib cage, I got out of the bed to get ready to go “up the road” and play some Keno, for the very first time.  I was so excited.  For so long, I’ve watched my dad and Uncle Donnie go, and I couldn’t wait to see what it was all about!

My dad and I picked up Uncle Donnie and rode “3 deep” (3 deep is a Valley term; see Urban Dictionary for any confusion), in my granddad’s old Blue truck to the Shell station in West Point.  We walk in and Uncle Donnie and I go straight to the coffee as dad goes to the cashier to turn our Keno tickets in.  I follow Uncle Donnie to a table near the Keno screen, and realize I probably need to pay for my coffee.  Nope, no need.  You know why?  My dad and my Uncle Donnie are such rock stars in this place, they get FREE coffee.  I’m not kidding you when I tell you…I think this is so awesome and I feel quite cocky sitting next to the “locals” at the Keno booth!

We sit down at one of the 6 booths near the Keno screen, and wait for the next Keno game to start.  As we’re waiting, Uncle Donnie notices Loretta has started her shift.  He refers to said manager Loretta, as Woody Woodpecker.  Apparently this chick knows my dad and Uncle Donnie pretty well.  I mean, they are locals here.  I’m curious as to why she has the nickname, but it doesn’t take long to understand once I hear her belt out in what might be the most annoying, yet endearing laugh I’ve ever heard. 

At this point, the games have already started and we’re not doing so hot.  Out of about 7 or 8 games, I think we won maybe a total of two bucks.  I didn’t care one bit.  I had so much fun hanging out with my dad and Uncle Donnie that honestly, the game didn’t even matter.  As we go to leave, Uncle Donnie gives Loretta, aka Woody Woodpecker, a flirtatious goodbye, and we head home. 

Sometimes when we become “adults”, if I can call myself that, we seem to forget the small things that make us so happy.  I am SO lucky to have the family I do!  Fun, entertaining, loving, funny, giving…happy, those are seriously just a few words that describe my family.  And, hopefully, they’ll rub off on me J