I’ve logged somewhere around 35 hours of up close and personal time with Miss Vicki Clark. Yes, that’s THE Vicki Clark of Bladenboro and Galeed Baptist Church fame.
Each of those approximately 2,100 minutes have been spent en route between Lumberton and Savannah, Ga. — mostly on Interstate 95 — as part of the every-other-month weekend mission trip to the Savannah Baptist Center.
A good amount of the 126,000 or so seconds of those collective trips have been spent catching up since the last excursion, sharing some stories of faith and testimony, and discussing our mission to feed more than 200 of Savannah’s homeless.
But let me reveal here and now that Vicki Clark has a rather unusual quirk.
I know there are some folks out there, most of whom have made the trip to Savannah while being chauffeured by Vicki, who already know this unusual quirk. But for the sake of this bit of tabloid gossip, I hope many of you don’t know it.
Ladies, have your hand at the ready to cover your mouth as it flaps open in an aghast; men, find your pen and prepare to send a sympathy card to Mr. Vicki Clark — also and better known as John.
Vicki will blow the horn as she crosses a state line. Twice.
I know … quirky, huh?
On my first trip last June, Vicki tooted as she crossed from North Carolina into South Carolina. Nobody said anything. I was puzzled, but didn’t ask — allowing myself instead to consider she may know someone there at South of the Border. Perhaps Pedro himself.
But hours later, crossing from South Carolina into Georgia, there it was again: honk-honk.
This time, I just had to ask … why?
Vicki told me then that it was something she’d always done and it had become a habit.
Every trip since, it’s been toot-toot at South of the Border and beep-beep at the Savannah River — and vice versa on the way back.
So, on Saturday we were making our way south on I-95 once again and, at some point (e-gads!), Vicki suddenly realized she had failed to double-tap the horn at South of the Border.
And somehow, it was MY fault.
“Curt, you forgot to remind me to blow the horn at the South Carolina border.”
OK, yours truly, at that time, was only 20 miles into the trip and still getting situated with my green tea and sports section. So horn-blowing was a fairly distant thought.
“Vicki, what caused you to start doing that, anyway? And by the way … I’m sorry, my bad.”
Well, Vicki proceeded to tell me she started doing it because her mother had always done it. And then, as if that didn’t quite sound like a viable enough reason, she said, “And that reminds me of a story …”
Vicki went on to tell of a newlywed wife who bought a large ham to cook and lopped off both ends before baking it. Her husband asked her why she was wasting the ends of the ham, and his wife said, “That’s the way my mother always did it.”
The new wife decided to ask her mother why she cut both ends of a ham off before cooking it, and her mother said, “That’s the way my mother always did it.”
The new wife then went to ask her grandmother why she always cut the ends of a ham off before cooking it and … she got the very same answer.
Well, now the young wife was wondering if she’d ever get to the bottom of it, but she had one more person she could ask — her great-grandmother.
When she asked the feeble old women why she had always cut both ends off a ham before cooking it, her great-grandmother looked at her thoughtfully and said, “So it would fit in my oven.”
I suppose in some universe — perhaps one inhabited completely by mothers and daughters — the story brought perfect clarity and explained without a shadow of a doubt exactly why Vicki Smith did a meep-meep (GEICO commercial reference) when crossing a state border.
All I know for sure is this: Bladenboro and Galeed Baptist Church … y’all have to deal with Vicki Clark’s quirks (there may be others). And I’m sorry.
John, that goes for you, too.
Housekeeping facts …
Seven folks made the trip last weekend to Savannah, which is the second-smallest group I’ve been a part of for this mission trip to feed the homeless there.
But this group managed to feed perhaps the largest number of folks. By one count, it was 275.
Stepping up big-time were the three youth who tagged along for the trip — Hannah Jackson, Sandra Turner and Raven Turner. They were all up before dawn, cracking and whisking eggs moments later … 360 of them, to be exact. And then they were off to take care of other chores as needed.
Once the traffic started shortly after 9 a.m., it was nearly non-stop for more than an hour. Each of the girls were slam busy, wonderfully helpful and church polite with everyone. They certainly made things easier for the rest of us.
And then, as if to make up for that smoothness, the trip home was nothing short of a scene out of Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone.” All I can tell you is it involved a town with no electricity, a McDonald’s with no sweet-and-sour sauce, a restroom door that wouldn’t close, a disappearing wallet and a fuel tanker truck that vanished.
Believe me, it was eerie.
— W. Curt Vincent is the general manager and editor of the Bladen Journal. He can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.