Song lyrics often have unusual roots. One of my daughter’s penciled the lyrics to a song once, while we were stranded, after another one of our infamous car breakdowns. She even put the lyrics to music, which our family and a few of our friends have been privileged to hear over and over again. Unfortunately, it’s never been recorded. You’ll have to imagine your own tune to go with the delightful word stylings of this charming child.
As her perspective is unique, quirky and more entertaining than mine., I naturally, I asked my daughter to guest post this particular tale of being stranded. She’s available for interviews, guest appearances and autographs every other Thursday.
Please enjoy Leanne LeCheminant’s version of Another Stranded Tale of Insanity, Silliness, and Misery:
“If you are a devoted reader of Kami’s blog (or MeeMa, as I affectionately call her), then you are well acquainted with the fact that my family has no shortage of car trips. We also have had more than our share of crappy cars.
Crappy cars + lots of car trips = lots of crappy car trip stories.
Blessedly, most unfortunately, since I have been married, I haven’t been able to participate in nearly as many memorable family car trips, which may explain why all of my car trip memories are kind of blurred together; it’s been so long. Or maybe it’s because most of them occurred along the same route between Arizona and Utah. Or maybe it’s because there’s just been so many of them, and they’ve all been so endless, insane, and 97% of the time they involve being stranded.
(It’s funny: when discussing car trips with my family, one of us will inevitably ask, “Wait, was that the trip where we were stranded in (insert remote location in the vast desert of northern AZ/southern UT) or (insert other remote location in the vast desert of northern AZ/southern UT)?”)
There is one trip in particular however, that will be forever seared in my brain, maybe because we actually WEREN’T making the exodus between Arizona and Utah. No, this car trip was much more local. It was a camping trip just outside Payson, Arizona. From our humble abode in the suburban east valley of Arizona, Payson is only about two hours away, a breeze compared to the 11 to 15 hour journey to Utah.
I was probably around ten or twelve, and I’m pretty sure it was the middle of summer. My dad, being the wilderness man that he is and always-eager to escape the 115 frillion degree heat of an Arizona summer, announced that he was going camping, and whoever wanted to come was welcome. My mom of course joined in, craving the familiar smell of pine and fresh mountain air, as well as myself and my younger sister.
After loading our older white Mazda Van with gear, we piled in and headed out. We blasted the air conditioner and slowly cooled down as we left the greater Phoenix area. After about a half hour though, Dad switched off the AC.
“Hey, why’d you turn it off?” I complained.
“The car’s starting to overheat. We’re going to give it a break.”
I groaned. I knew (still know) approximately 0.4% about cars, but I had had plenty of experience with the word “overheat.” I said a silent prayer that our trusty Van would carry us through.
My prayer must have bounced off the drooping fabric ceiling though, because one very miserable and sweaty hour later, we had to stop at a gas station in Payson. The car was smoking, the engine was completely overheated, and there was no way we’d be able to trek up the ever-steepening inclined roads to our desired remote camping location, probably another half hour to an hour away. Conveniently, there was an auto shop right next to the gas station.
“Kami, why don’t you take the girls inside where it’s cool and get some drinks,” my dad said. “I’ll take it next door to get it checked out.”
The three of us eagerly jumped out of the car and collectively sighed in relief as the wave of cool air washed over us as we walked in. When the door opened it let out an electronic signal, sounding like a door bell: “Ding-dong.”
We got a couple of bottles of soda and sat down at a table in the snack area, cooling off and watching the heat undulate off the asphalt outside.
My sister and I, being as young as we were, quickly got bored. The gas station was pretty busy, customers in and out, and the door kept ringing, “Ding dong” every time it opened. Every time it would “ding-dong” I would respond by singing the corresponding part of a song from the movie, The Wizard of Oz: “The witch is dead!” Now, the gas station was pretty busy, so the number of my responses of “The witch is dead!” piled up quick. So did my younger sister’s annoyance.
“Arrrrrrgh, Leanne, shut UP!”
Of course this just egged me on, and I would laugh and then whisper it, but still loud enough for her to hear:
ME (whispering): The witch is dead! *giggle giggle*
LITTLE SISTER: Leanne, shut UP!
I think it was my Mom’s brilliant idea to distract me by suggesting I write a song about our adventure. She pulled a paper napkin out of the dispenser, slapped it in front of me with a pencil and said, “I’m going to go see how the car’s doing. You two stay here.”
My sister gave her a look as if to say, “Really, you’re going to leave me here with her?!?!?” but I just grinned. My wheels were already turning.
Over the next hour or so, I penned my one and only undiscovered top-of-the-charts, platinum-award-winning country song, on a napkin, with a pencil, at a gas station:
STRANDED IN PAYSON (copyrighted 2001 ish) Stranded in Payson in a Texaco, by the side of the road. Five thirty on a Friday afternoon. And every time a customer walks into the store the door rings ding dong. So I say:
Ding dong the witch is dead ding dong the witch is dead ding dong the car is dead toooooo and I wish that I was dead just like the witch and the car. Yes, ding dong the witch is dead. Ma ‘n Pa went to go check on the car, but I’m pretty sure that it’s still dead. My sis and I are so bored we’re playing with bottle caps and a customer just walked in through the door. So I sing: Ding dong the witch is dead, ding dong the witch is dead! Ding dong the car is dead tooooo. And I wish that I was dead just like the witch and the car. Yes, ding dong the witch is dead. (Bridge) Cuz bein’ dead would be much better than bein’ stranded in Payson in a Texacoooooooo-oh-woah-woah by the SIIIIIIIIIIIIDE of the ROOOAD ding dong the witch is dead! Ding dong the car is dead toooooo! And I wish that I was dead, just like the witch and the car. Yes, ding dong the witch is dead. Stranded in Payson in a Texaco by the siiiiiiiiide of the roooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooad.
[Definitely an award winning song, don’t ya’ think?]
After a couple of hours at the car shop, our little Van was ready and rarin’ to go.
Napkin in hand, song completed, my future stardom in country music ensured, we hopped in. I bid a fond farewell to my beloved Texaco, and miraculously, we even made it to a camping spot before it got dark.
Camping was relaxing and enjoyable, and we got home okay, as I recall, so of course we all said, “We’ll have to do this again sometime!”
(Oh and yes, I know I totally could have been the next Taylor Swift. But I wisely decided to forego the celebrity lifestyle. Just way too much riches and fame for me).”