We're on a trip out to visit the boy's grandparents, and thought that while we were in a certain idyllic state, we would stop off at a museum where a friend from my own museum is now employed.
We arrived at Fleabag Farms at 3 p.m. and were informed that the last tractor had just left to take happy visitors out to the 1700 site, the first stop on your planned tour of the farm. We didn't really care to get to the 1700 site, but only to the 1875 site, where the friend works, presumably in the Millinary shop. "I'm sorry. The last tractor just left. The only thing I could let you do is go out to the 1900 area." She then went on to describe the plan for travel, taking the tractor-carts to the 1700 site and then working forward in time to the 1900 site last before coming in to the gift shop.
"Is there any way to get a message to her?" I asked, recalling her mention of calling out to inform them the last tractor had left.
"We're a working farm. They didn't have these" she held up the phone-slash-radio "back in 1850." The snottiness factor was rising.
"Is there a place where the employees usually park, so I could leave a message on her car?"
"You can't get there. It's down a long private road. This is private property. We have over 500 acres."
Gee, thanks. I couldn't figure that out.
"We are a working farm, you know."
Yes, I know.
I called friend Ericka back at our own Fleabag Farm. "You can see the shop from the window of the gift shop!" she exclaimed.
"That's not what the lady at the desk told me. She said that was the 1900 site."
"Well, that's stupid." (I concur.)
We sat around outside, not willing to pay the $19 to get in just to see the 1900 site. (I got a professional courtesy of $1 off the admission price, and just to see one area.) Mark happily played in the grass, a breeze blew, and all was, well, less that perfect. Finally, at 4:30, we decided to re-enter the museum building to enjoy the air conditioning. Tim wanted just to go out the doors to the grounds, as we had concluded that no, the area kind ticket lady was sending us to was not 1900 but was indeed the 1875 town we wanted to see Merrilee in. However, I didn't have the guts to be such a scofflaw. I went instead to the gift shop.
"Where do most of the employees in the town park their cars?" I asked the Nice Gift Shop Ladies.
"Just along that fence," one said, pointing to the side of the shop and the nearby parking lot. "Either there, or at the maintenance building."
"Ok, thanks. We had wanted to see a good friend of mine from the museum where I worked, but we weren't allowed to go there because the last tractor had just left."
"Where does she work?"
"The Millinary shop."
"Oh, just go on back," Nice Museum Shop Lady said. "Go through the doors behind the ticket desk. There's no one there now."
She gestured us on, and using the map we had pilfered, we trotted off to the Millinary Shop, which we could see from the window of the gift shop, just as Ericka had suggested. Merrillee wasn't there, but instead was at the General Store, where we headed next.
The surprise on her face and her speechlessness were worth it as we stepped through the screen door. All was well in the world and Mark was cuddling with his Auntie Mer, playing with her buttons.
Perhaps sometime we'll get to Fleabag Farm early enough to take the tractor out to the 1700 site. But not if that sorely uninformed woman is working at the desk. She might send us to Minneapolis instead.