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Flat Stanley, Five Guys and a Finale November 26, 2011

Posted by J. in Genius.

Can I get a big round of applause for guest blogger Aunt Bunny?  You have to hand it to her: she took the instructions to “tell the second-graders a little something about your trip for their social studies project” and turned it into a 40-page scrapbook.  Can you imagine what she’d do with a blog of her own?  I’d read it.

Anyway, here is the final installment of Flat Stanley’s Adventures, in which our intrepid paper hero makes it all the way to the Sunshine State.  Thanks, Aunt Bunny!  Love you!

Stanley is in the home stretch!  A quick stopover in Georgia and then home to Florida!  Let’s see how this all wraps up…


5:15 p.m.  We no sooner cross the line into Georgia and we are pulling into the Comfort Inn and Suites located in the beautiful city of Savannah.  I wish our hotel was downtown near the river, but we wouldn’t have the time nor the energy to do any sightseeing if we were there.  It’s been a long day.

We do a very quick check in at the front desk and begin making plans to grab dinner across the street.

Back to the hotel and Stanley is feeling frisky.  I discover him out in the hall trying to climb into the soda machine.  I guess he figured that if he got inside the machine, maybe he could just snap the top and drink it sitting inside.  I crush his plan and haul him back to the room.  Next thing I know he has my shower cap on and is getting ready to step under the water.  Stanley’s next stop was bed, with orders not to move.

“Just listen to me.”

Monday, October 3, 2001

7:30 a.m.  We have once again inhaled our free continental breakfast and are back on the road.  During our 8 minute meal, I had to explain to Stanley how the cereal dispensers actually worked.  He was absolutely crushed when he learned that they were filled right there in the dining room.  He had somehow gotten it into his head that they were hooked directly to a pipe line at Kellogg’s in Battle Creek, Michigan, and that Tony the Tiger was running the whole show out there.  I believe the next time Stanley is told that there is a breakfast buffet waiting for him downstairs, he will enter the dining room with the dry cleaning bag that he snagged from the hotel closet.  You never know when you’re going to drive through lunch.

That lady in the picture is Paula Deen and every other word out of her mouth is “y’all,” which is short for “you all,” which is something you hear a lot of down here in Georgia.  Here’s a few other examples:

  1. Ahr.  What we breathe.  Also a unit of time.  “They should have been here about an ahr ago.”
  2. Cayut.  “Be sure to put the cayut out before you go to bed.”
  3. Clone.  “What’s that clone you got on, honey?”
  4. Dreckly.  “He’ll be along dreckly.”
  5. Jewant.  “Jewant to go over to the Red Rooster and have a few beers?”
  6. Retard.  No longer employed.  “He’s retard now.”
  7. Yontny.  “Yontny more cornbread?”

The list is endless.  I almost hate to stop.

8.  Zit.  “Zit already midnight, Sugar?  Tahm sure flies when you’re having fun.”

Sorry, I couldn’t help it, being from up nawth and all.  Getting back to Paula Deen.  She is a well-known television cooking show host and she has almost reached sainthood right here in Savannah where she resides.  I dined at her restaurant a few years ago and enjoyed Southern cooking at its finest.  If Bruce only knew how much butter is dished up there, I guarantee that we would have spent last night in the seedy rooming house across the street from the place.

Miss Paula surely does tawk, er, talk with a southern accent.  Have your mother turn on her wonderful cooking show to see what I mean.  Not only will you see a true southern belle, but you will also watch her make a recipe that requires a minimum 3 sticks of butter.  You will also order your mother to stop what she is doing and immediately whip up that recipe.  One day I saw Paula make a jello mold and somehow incorporate butter into the recipe.  She’s absolutely brilliant, but deadly.  She’s married to some old guy named Michael, but everybody calls him Captain.  He says very little, stumbles around, and has one eye that droops.  Five will get you ten* her cooking gave him a stroke.

As our route takes us south through Georgia, we literally hug the coastline and take in the beautiful scenery of the state’s outer banks and islands.  We cross lots of bridges, affording us many chances to see birds and boats and all the homes situated on the river.  This area always seems like a lovely spot to stop and visit.

I have been told that Georgia is a terrific state to go hunting in, since you can find wild boars (pigs) the size of a small Volkswagen running loose in the woods.  Boars also have front tusks (teeth) the size of a Chiquita banana and since they do not enjoy getting shot at, you really don’t want to miss on your first attempt.  You could always take your friend Bubba as backup just in case you miss.  If he misses, his hound dog will jump in and try to do something.  Anybody named Bubba always has a hound dog that goes everywhere with him, and in this type of situation, maybe you will get lucky and the dog happens to be a pit bull.

Personally, I’d never shoot at anything that had teeth and a temper that big.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t enter any woods south of Virginia due to all the creepy, crawly things you’re apt to run into.  Last week in Florida, they killed a 16 foot python on the outskirts of the Everglades (big swamp) and you know what the authorities found when they cut it open?  It had just eaten a full grown, 75 pound deer in one bite.  Sort of reminds you of good old Mr. Venus Fly Trap doesn’t it?  Only this time Mr. Python slithered up from behind and got himself a Big Gulp, not unlike the one that Aunt Bunny gets at the 7 Eleven.

Now, it’s not that it’s not safe to walk in the streets down here in Florida, but if your golf ball rolls into the bushes, you don’t just reach for it willy-nilly.  You part the greenery with a golf club and hope that a reptile is not wrapped around it trying to make friends.  New Hampshire has tons of snakes.  Almost every place on Earth has snakes.  However, once you start heading south, they tend to grow longer and become poisonous.


9:00 a.m.  Welcome to Florida, our thirteenth and final state!  I didn’t think we’d ever get here.  Time for a pit stop, so for the first time in all our years of traveling, we pull into the welcome center.

Now, we grow a lot of oranges and grapefruit here in Florida, but imagine my surprise when I discovered that we hand out free juice samples of the above named fruits!  What a lovely revelation, since we purposely stopped at the other 12 welcome centers and were offered nothing but dirty toilets.  Oh, I take that back.  The state of New Hampshire offered to sell us liquor at discounted prices, sort of like they were saying, “Here, we’ll sell you liquor cheap, now go drive responsibly on I-93.”  I hear that next summer NH will be selling liquor at the Loudon racetrack.  What a plan!  Let 120,000 half-drunk, irritated people spill out of that venue after a 12-hour day, ony to get caught up in a massive traffic jam with a fresh bottle of booze in their vehicle.  But then again, V & V always did put a smile on my face.

12:30 p.m.  We are nearing Melbourne, Florida and spirits are at an all time high.  The car thermometer is reading 85 degrees and I’m down to only one layer of clothing, having lost the jacket and sneakers when we entered the state.  It’s shorts and flip-flops and I’m feeling as if I may survive the upcoming winter.

At this point we are less than an hour and a half from home and it’s time for lunch.  I would like to tell you that we stepped off the grease and caloric carnival ride that we have been on, but I have to take full responsibility for the next meal.  The next lunch is Aunt Bunny’s secret indulgence.  Two years ago Bruce had plans to take me to a $28 per person buffet on Mother’s Day and I squashed that deal and made him take me to Five Guys.  I saved him a lot of money, but created a monster because I KNOW FOR A FACT he often slides through the one we have in town, whereas I might go maybe once a month.  Obviously, when I suggest this place for lunch, I don’t hear a peep about his being on the Atkins diet.

“Remember the grease at Shoney’s?” I asked Stanley.

“Yes’sum, that was some powerful grease I seen,” replied Stanley.

“Uh, Stan, you spent less than 12 hours in Georgia.  Lose the accent,” I sighed, continuing on.  “Seriously, after awhile some of those accents begin to wear on me.”

“I get exactly what you’re saying,” Stanley said.  “By the way, where do you store your vehicles in Florida?”

“Oh, we pahk the cahs in the garahge all wintah,” I said.

Since Bruce was swigging water from a bottle, he managed to blow a cup of it out of his nose.  I believe it was at this point that the two of them bonded.

“As I was saying, there’s going to be a lot of grease involved in this next meal.”

“Well, shut mah mouth and call my momma shocked!” snickered Stanley.

The next thing you know, we’re entering the kingdom of Five Guys.

I don’t know anything about this place except for the fact that I should be their spokesperson.  Everything is made fresh.  They serve hamburgers, french fries, and fried hot dogs.  As you are waiting in line, you eat peanuts and then throw the shells on the floor.  Name any kind of topping for a burger and they have it.  When they load your order of fries into the bag, they then take another big scoop of fries and throw it into the bag.

The food is so indescribably delicious, you know it’s deadly, but you just don’t care.  Don’t look to buy any dessert after your meal here because someone high enough up in corporate figured that introducing sugar to this type of meal would someday lead to a lawsuit in the 9 figures.

This place has more food reviews than Tavern on the Green in New York City.  Zagat’s gives it more thumbs up than the Roman coliseum ever had on a busy Sunday afternoon.  BUT (isn’t there always a catch?) you will derive absolutely no nutritional value from a visit.  Perhaps if you consumed a handful of peanuts and immediately left the building we could call that roughage, which is good when you’re constipated.  I know this sounds selfish on my part, but I hope that Five Guys doesn’t come to Laconia so that I won’t be tempted year round.

“Quick, easy, cheap, bright, loud, and fun,” is how the Savannah Morning News describes Five Guys.  If you were to add the word “short” to that list, you have just described Grammie Hane.

2:00 p.m.  Home!  We pull into our community of Hammock Creek, located in Palm City, and breathe a collective sigh of relief.  We have driven 1600 miles in three days, through 13 states, not always in the best of weather, but we are back where our hearts really want to be.  Even though I was born and raised in New Hampshire, fortunate enough to have gone through the Shaker Regional School System, I am always ready to leave my home in Belmont and head to Florida for the winter.

Bruce did not settle in New Hampshire until the 1970’s, but he feels much the same way I do.  We taught our kids how to ski at Gunstock Recreation Area, not to mention how to skate on our many lakes and ponds.  But with age comes the desire to seek warmer climates, and that’s what Florida does for us.

Over the winter we will have a few cold spells where frost could become a problem for our delicate plants, but overall, the temperature will stay warm enough so that we will be able to wear shorts throughout the winter.  I drive a convertible car and will put the top down in January while you kids are outside sledding.  When you school is cancelled due to a blizzard, I will be playing a round of golf.

Florida is the perfect spot for old people and trust me, we’re loaded with them.  The nice section of housing that we live in has around 170 homes in the development.  I feel that we have a nice blend of families here because quite often you see lemonade stands set up by the curb, as well as many kids playing outside.  This past Halloween I gave out candy to about 50 little goblins.  However, at least two-thirds of the homes are owned by older folks who are retired like us, some of whom travel north for the summer.

If you have an old-person ailment like varicose veins, glaucoma, bad heart, or skin cancer, you should have a doctor here look at it.  Stuff like this is looked at as pesky little problems, since it’s so common.  Bad knees and ingrown toenails?  That’s like a trip to Hannaford’s.

Just be careful when you drive.  You’ll need lots of metal and a minimum of four airbags.  Old people stink at driving.  If you can afford it, drive a Cadillac.

The time has come that I must now follow the Flat Stanley rules of engagement.  I probably should have read them two weeks ago and saved myself a ton of printer ink and the possibility of a bad grade for Emma Bo Lacey.  I will begin describing my home state and the little bit I know about it.  Prepare yourselves for a picture montage, otherwise info was coming directly from Wikipedia and what second-grader wants that?  No fact checking would be appreciated.

That’s  Stanley making new friends while he’s here.  He was thrilled to find someone his size to play with.

Tiger Woods lives just a few miles down the road from us.  He recently moved into his new home and I’m not sure why he hasn’t called to try and make friends with me.  I’d have no problem setting up a tee time and showing him around Palm City.  He’s probably still going through boxes.

Time to say “good-bye”, Stanley.  We enjoyed having you travel along with us on our trip back home to Florida.  We made many stops on our 1600 mile journey and we saw many things.  We hope that this journal gives a little insight, as well as laughter, into the lives of Uncle Bruce and Aunt Bunny.

Next Memorial Day weekend we get to do this all over again, only this time we’ll be heading north, back towards all of our relatives whom we dearly miss all winter long.

When you get home, please give Miss Emma Bo a big hug and a kiss from me and tell her that I love her.  Please thank her for entrusting me with this project.  It was a pleasure.

“Where you headed, cowboy?”

“Nowhere special.”

“Nowhere special.  I always wanted to go there.”

“Come on.”

Blazing Saddles, 1974



1. Martin - December 2, 2011

This is great could you share your photos on http://www.FlatStanley.com?
Also there is a free app that you can us with Flat Stanley. Its really fun!

2. Pippa Posey Peanut Butter Pants - December 4, 2011

I think Aunt Bunny did an absolutely fabulous job with Flat Stanley. It almost made me consider asking her for a ride down to Florida next year. Almost….and then I snapped out of it. Thanks for sharing Stan and Buns. Hope you got an A+ Emma Bo.

3. Batty - December 30, 2011

Still giggling here. Awesome job with Flat Stanley! Now there’s a not-boring car trip.

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