August 3, 2023

Art tour bucket list, Chapter 1: Reservations when sleepy, audio book, "PLEASE STEP AWAY," etc.

The art tour bucket list was a huge success. T'was an adventure. We laughed, we almost cried, we ate, we enjoyed art - we even threw in an extra museum, and we listened to a lot of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, my book club book, while driving. Did Mini object profusely about this? Yes, she did. 

When I scored a pair of those cheap free head phones in the workout room at our first hotel which allowed me to listen to my book without involving the whole car, did she beg me to explain what was happening? Why, yes she did. 

In case you are new here:  my 19 yo daughter, Mini, and I took my 79 yo uncle, who has cancer, across Ohio to check out some art museums. Uncle Marty is a genius and he's really interested in art. He's experienced more loss than most. His wife and two children passed away and he's all alone. He recently relocated from his home in Texas of maybe 47 years. He now lives in an assisted living facility not far from my four siblings and I, 22 great nieces and nephews, and my parents. He's my dad's brother. 

How fitting was it that we road tripped in Uncle Marty's Ford Fusion, aka 'TEX', that Coach and I bought from him? 

On the drive out, Mini asked if there was something specific that he'd like to eat for lunch. He tried to defer to us, but we said NOPE, THIS IS YOUR SPECIAL TRIP. He mentioned Arby's. That's the same place his parents used to ask me to take them when they lived in the same retirement community like 30 years ago. Apple doesn't fall from the tree. Mini located an Arby's on the border of Indiana and Ohio. We set it as our new destination but didn't tell him until we pulled in. We're sneaky that way. 

I made the hotel reservations late Sunday night AFTER I'd returned from Curly's AAU bball tourney in Cincinnati. If you think this is foreshadowing that I messed something up, give yourself a gold star. 

I believed our Youngstown Hampton Inn was right across the street from our first stop, the Butler Institute of American Art. When we left Chicago, I set the Butler as our destination. 

We arrived late Monday afternoon. There was no Hampton Inn to be found. I looked up the hotel address in my email and off we went - 15 minutes back in the direction that we'd come from. Dang, that sucked. 

While Uncle and Mini used the Hampton Inn's facilities, I approached the front desk. I explained our bucket list agenda, our tight schedule, and how I THOUGHT this place was across the street from the Butler - which is where we were going when it opened Tuesday morning at 11. 

"Is there any chance that we could cancel this reservation and rebook at a Hilton in downtown Youngstown?"

The woman was kind enough to find us a Double Tree in the city and cancelled our reservation with no penalty. We drove BACK to the city and walked to a restaurant for dinner.

Waiting to see Homer's work.
Uncle only cared to see one painting at the Butler. It was 'Snap the Whip' by his favorite American artist, Winslow Homer. It's a cute depiction of simpler days, as Uncle would say, featuring kids playing a game, oddly enough, of snap the whip. 

Can you see the little security
system? No? Neither did Marty. 
Before we got to the museum I enjoyed breakfast with a college friend who lives in Youngstown. Bonus bucket list - and it wasn't even my bucket. Mini came to break up my breakfast at 10:35, so we could be at the Butler at 10:43. It opened at 11. Uncle Marty parked his walker in front of the building to wait. When I spotted a janitor come out with a bin, I decided to see if they'd let us in early. They did. 

There was a little wire 'fence' thing, positioned very low, all around the perimeter of the room. Uncle was so excited that he pushed his walker on wheels right up to the painting. He also pointed AT THE PAINTING. 

PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE EXHIBIT. A computer generated voice boomed over the loudspeaker repeatedly. Mini and I looked around and we knew - Marty was the culprit. Frist we died laughing, (who could blame us?), then we explained to dear Uncle that he might need to stop ramming the sensitive wire system with his walker.  

Fifteen minutes later we were back on the road, heading west towards Cleveland. This is not an exaggeration. We were on a mission, damn it. Stay tuned. There's more. Another post might sneak in here first, since I'm heading out of town for the weekend and I have a little something prepped about . . . Mini. 

Have you ever heard of Winslow Homer? Have you messed things up, like hotel reservations, when trying to do it when you're tired/late at night?  Do you love Arby's?


Beth Cotell said...

I love this road trip idea! This is so kind of you to take him to see this art. And the fact that you were only in this museum to see one piece of art makes me chuckle almost as much as the fact that Uncle Marty kept setting off the alarm!!!

Bijoux said...

I wouldn't mind visiting that museum someday. But you only spent 15 minutes there? Lol! I can see how the security system would drive one nuts, especially with kids in a museum. I guess they don’t want to pay security people to stand there all day watching. I am familiar with Winslow Homer and his genre and I see the appeal of that particular painting. It sounds like a fun road trip.

Nicole said...

Poor Uncle Marty's walker, getting him into trouble! Lol! Sounds like a whirlwind!

Nance said...

I've gone to a museum primarily to see Vermeers, but I've also looked at other things. I can't imagine going in, seeing one thing, and then leaving! But hey, to each his own.

How lovely and kind of security to allow you to go in early. That was truly a gift.

Kari said...

How fun! I'm glad the three of you got to do this.
I haven't had Arby's since I was pregnant with Anna! I used to love their curly fries!

Kara said...

I do know Homer Winslow. Did a lot of seascapes, and is from Boston MA. I do not know that I could do only 15 minutes in a museum, however.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Fifteen minutes. *sigh* The things we do for love! Yes, I know who Homer Is. Yes, I might have messed up a reservation. Once. Maybe?
I loved Arby's as a kid. I've not had it in a long time, though. Do they have GF for you?

I had a good giggle at Mini, NOT wanting to hear your book, then WANTING to hear your book. SO typical!!

Ernie said...

Beth- I'm so glad everything fell into place. He seemed to really enjoy himself. The 15 minute visit was part of the schedule all along. He zipped around a little on his walker before announcing that he was ready to go.

Ernie said...

Bijoux - It was a really nice, quaint museum. I really thought he would get sucked in and decide to stay longer, but no dice. He did wander around a bit and Mini and I were like SHOOT, WE'VE LOST HIM. He didn't get far . . . not with his tendency to set off the trip wire.

Ernie said...

Nicole - I got hollered at in Cleveland (I think, but who really remembers) for pointing at a painting, so the walker wasn't our only troublesome moment. ;)

Ernie said...

Nance - Yep - it was so nice to be in this little small town setting and have the security people allow us to come in. We were just gonna sit inside out of the heat, but they waved us in. Very sweet. I was a little bummed we hadn't figured that out sooner as we sat there for 10 minutes. We did get another patron who showed up to take a photo of the 3 of us. It's really cute.

He poked around a bit more, and he had a conversation with a security guard about his love of Homer's work - but then he was ready to hit the road.

Ernie said...

Kari - It was a great little adventure, which ended up including one of the worst storms I've ever driven in . . . I was like PLEASE DON'T LET OUR EFFORTS END BADLY.

The sandwiches looked so tasty.

Ernie said...

Kara - Look at you, up on your art knowledge. You are right - he painted a lot of waves. There were other stops to make - other Winslow Homer work to see up close and alarm-setting-off personal. I honestly preferred the 15 minute visit to the couple of visits that went ON AND ON AND ON.

Ernie said...

Suz - I'm surprised at how many of you know who Winslow Homer was. Uncle was not very impressed with my lack of art know-how. He found out that Mini has NEVER been to the Art Institute of Chicago and he almost fell over on the spot. Oops.

You don't miss a trick. I could NOT eat there. I had a salad packed in a cooler in the car, but I'd made it a few days in advance and I wasn't overly excited about it. Uncle bought lunch, so I picked out a pre-packed southwestern salad from the gas station minimart attached to the Arby's. Desperate times and all that - but honestly it was tasty and seemed fresh.

I hate messing up reservations. Being tired seems to be the common denominator there.

I did feel bad subjecting everyone to my book. Coach dug up some cheap head phones, but I forgot them by my computer - where I was making the reservations. Sigh. Marty said my book didn't bother him. He was engrossed in his thousand page book in the backseat. Mini was like WHAT IS THIS BORING CRAP? WHY ARE THEY ALL VEXED ALL THE DAMN TIME? Later when I gasped about a development (and they were few and far between because most of the book was people thinking of polite things to say when they didn't feel polite but they were worried about society - God knows I wouldn't have survived), Mini was like IS HE DATING HIS COUSIN YET?

Ally Bean said...

Have you ever heard of Winslow Homer? Yes, have seen many of his works. Pretty stuff [I say, not being an art critic.]

Have you messed things up, like hotel reservations, when trying to do it when you're tired/late at night? I don't think I've done this and am surprised I haven't, now that I think about it.

Do you love Arby's? No

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Ha! My daughter did the same thing the last time we went to the art museum. The paintings look like you can get right up close, but those monitors are very sensitive!

Arby's used to be my go-to fast food stop. I don't know why because I do not eat roast beef. I would only eat the curly fries. But they are so good!!

Glad you got your uncle out on this art museum tour! It sounds wonderful.

Ernie said...

Ally - My dad is very into history. His brother, very into art. We went to the Art Institute basically every time my uncle was in town when I was a kid. I found those visits boring. Coach and I took the kids to museums regularly, but not the Art Institute. So, I didn't really know who Homer was, but I do really like his art.

I should mention that I have messed up reservations a few times when I was well rested. ;)

Ernie said...

Suzanne - Being scolded for pointing surprised Mini and I. I was not about to touch the painting, but I guess they weren't so sure.

I am unfamiliar with their curly fries. There wasn't an Arby's very close to my house, so we didn't go often. I do remember going when my grandparents wanted me to drive them there. My grandma always had a coupon ready. I liked the roast beef.

It was a great trip.

Pat Birnie said...

What a great thing you are doing for your Uncle. He’s had a lot of loss in his life but is lucky to have you guys as his family. I am surprised he didn’t want to see anything else in the museum!!?? Seems odd to me but checked one off his list.

Ernie said...

Pat- I learned as we were driving that he had been to the Cleveland museum before. He had NOT been to the Youngstown one but confident that he did his research. He knew what he wanted to see. I had my doubts that we would get to pull it off but pull it off we did.