"ROW LOW," she said to my mother. "ROW LOW," she said again. My mother just stared at her. "ROW LOW," she said, another time, a little bit louder and a little bit slower. "I don't know what you are talking about," said my mom. Her sister repeated it and this time she turned up the volume another notch and she slowed the word down even more. "R-R-R-R-R-O-O-O-O-O-W-W-W-W L-L-L-L-L-L-O-O-O-O-O-O-W-W-W-W." Susie waited with her hands on her hips for a response. "Susie, for Christ's sake. If I don't know what a ROW LOW is, it doesn't matter how loud you say it." This conversation took place in the hospital waiting room, during a dark time. It seemed that my grandmother was soon to pass and to pass their anguished time, her adult children were, sitting, staring, pacing and going on occasional trips to the vending machine. "Fine," her youngest sister said. "Then, I'll just go and get some." Susie returned a few minutes later and held up a package of Rolo's. "Oh, it's candy?" said my mother. I heard the, 'Your Mother Didn't Know What a Rolo Was, story', for the first time, while I was sitting in the lobby of the Burnt Dam Hotel. We, as in, me, my sister, my cousins and my aunts, all about fell off our chairs. And we are quite a talented group. I do not believe that anyone spilled a drop or stained the carpet, with their Bloody Mary. The Burnt Dam Hotel, belongs to my aunt and uncle. It is a house that is made into a hotel. Most of the time it is just a house. A very nice house. But, when my Aunt Vicki and her sisters, as in my mom and my Aunt Susie, invite their daughters for an annual get together, it transforms into, the Burnt Dam Hotel. As cars pull up and females hop, out with suit cases and grocery bags, my uncle moves his shit into the little doll house, in the back yard. And that is where he stays. No, he is not taking communion in there. That's an antenna. We were still cracking up. "How does anybody not know what a Rolo is?" My mom tried to defend herself. "I thought Susie was trying to say, Rumlow." "What's a Rumlow?" said my sister. "Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha," burst out my mom and aunts. "Rumlows are people. They used to live down the street from us and they had a bar." "What was the bar called?" "Rumlows." "Hahahahhahahahhahaahhahaha." "Is that snow?" said my Aunt Susie to my mother, one Friday afternoon, on their way to the Burnt Dam. Susie was manning the wheel in the car in front of my sister, Louisa and I. It was a clear, blue-sky, June, day. And it was about seventy-five degrees. "No," said my mom. "It looks more like foam." "Is that that fog up ahead?" I said to Louisa, who was in my front passenger seat. And then the car in front of us disappeared into white. And then we did too. And then we all popped out the other end. "What the hell was that?" we said, as we pulled up in front of the Bunt Damn Hotel, an hour later. "The temperature dropped to fifty-two degrees in that stretch," said Susie. "We thought it was snow or foam." "Snow?" said Louisa. "Foam?" I said. Louisa and I looked at each other. "They call that white stuff, fog and it's been around a long time." Louisa and I prefer room number six. Room number six has a large screen T.V., up on the wall. Well, that's what we thought. It turned out that it was just a big window. But at least you can watch birds fly past it.
"Was that a robin?" I said.
"No, it was flying too fast," Louisa answered.
We learned Grandma Noe's, "It was flying too fast to be a robin," quote, right out here, on this beautiful, Burnt Dam Hotel, back deck.Unfortunately, there was no bird watching for Louisa and I, on our last trip to the Burnt Dam. We were forced to sleep out in the lower lobby, on a blow up mattress, because my youngest cousin, was as pregnant as a house. Whatever. Now, even though this is a real nice hotel, the staff is, piss poor. And that is stating the fact, as sweetly as possible. Only once, in all of our visits, do I recall any room service. A cute little, skinny, lady, who also happened to be my aunt, delivered coffee to Louisa and I, who were the last guests to get up that morning. The twin beds in room six, were hard to leave, especially once the robins started sauntering past the window. I called the front desk with my cell phone and asked for a refill. The woman who answered, sounded a lot like my cousin. She was very professional and she said, "Of course. I will send somebody in with that right away, ma'am." She was full of shit. I called back and I got the same lady and I said, "There isn't a Gideon's Bible in our room." And then my aunt, the one who owns the place, came storming in. She dug through a cluttered closet and threw a hard cover of The Old Testament at us. I know. I have written a few complaint letters, but they don't do any good. If I call to offer any helpful suggestions, I always get the same lady at the front desk. "Okay ma'am," she always says. Bullshit. To the owners credit, there is no Burnt Dam Hotel, website. So, they never have to read a bad review. The two spacious bathrooms, have to be shared by all of the guests. They are way down the hall from room number six. And there are always people sleeping in the lobby or making a racket out in the kitchen. Yet, we go back every year. Why>