Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The No-Tell Motel and 11-11-11

Remember “The Dukes of Hazzard.”  There was always some nefarious villain trying to deflower Daisy Duke at a place called “The No-Tell Motel.”  I’ve been to motel upon which this fictional establishment was based.  I don’t want to give specific names so I’ll write its initials – The Quality Inn in Columbus, Georgia. 
How did I come to be there?  The National Infantry Museum is there.  Husband, the boys, my parents and I headed down there for a dedication ceremony on Veteran’s Day.  The Colonel’s battalion from Vietnam, known as the Red Warriors, bought pavers on the “Memory Walk” at the Infantry Museum.  They were the first group of any sort to want their pavers together.  The pavers were unveiled and dedicated on 11/11/11. 
The Colonel is LTC Edwin A Williams
One of the Colonel’s oldest and dearest friends was in charge of accommodations for the weekend.  His goal was to find the absolute CHEAPEST motel in all of Columbus.  I’ll tell you what – he succeeded!  The rooms were $62 a night.  HOLY CHEAPSKATE, BATMAN!!!!
Driving into town we passed by all the hotel brands you want to see - The Courtyard, Hampton, Best Western, Holiday Inn Express, Wyngate, something from the Hilton brand and The Doubletree.  We passed all these.  At this point I’m becoming a little concerned…
We drive to the center of Columbus.  You know you’re going to stay in a seedy motel when you pass these things while driving to it.
·         A least 2 “Gentleman’s Clubs
·         Numerous Title Loan places
·         “Sell Your Gold” stores
·         MANY pawn shops
·         “The Projects”
·         Liquor stores with bars on the windows
After check in we find our rooms.  It’s the type of place where the door opens to the outside, not a hallway.  The outdoor carpeting was faded, torn and nonexistent in many places.  After we opened the door, the smell of stale smoke hits you like a punch in the stomach.  The carpet in the room wasn’t much better than that on the outside.  The décor (calling it décor is being generous) was circa 1987.  The old television was snowy and the batteries kept falling out of the remote because the back was no longer there.  The bedspread were faded and stained.  The tub and sink were discolored as well.  There was no ice machine on our floor so we had to travel down 2 floors to get ice.  That’s real, REAL unfortunate because it was going to take a couple of stiff drinks to be able to endure this place for the evening.
I’m almost positive you could rent this room by the hour or at least receive a “partial night” rate. 
In the lobby I saw several soldiers who had just graduated from basic training.  They were on cell phones and pay phones feverishly making plans for beer, girls or both.
Husband went to dinner with all the Vets, leaving mom and I with the kids in this fabulous establishment.  I insisted that he drive because many had been reliving the war, telling lies and working their way through a bottle of Evan Williams for the better part of the afternoon.  I decided to order a pizza.  When giving the address to the order taker at Dominoes she responded, “OH HONEY!  Next time you’re in Columbus you’ll know!” 

Insult to Injury
To make things worse, the Colenol's group had had an event in Columbus in May.  They stayed at the Double Tree and had a lovely time. In our case for Labor Day, Husband’s sister wanted to visit with us.  We all met up in Atlanta where she treated us to three nights at the Four Seasons.  Bruce had gotten used to the 5-star treatment.  At one point he asked, “Is someone going to come up and give us turn down service?”  Later he asked if we were going to go downstairs for dinner or get room service.  I’m not kidding…
The night passed slowly and uneventfully.  I heard moaning through the paper thin walls and the roar of jake breaks from 18 wheelers on the road just outside the door.  When I got up, I took a shower, but felt dirtier when I got out than before I got in. 
There ceremony at the museum was great.  The Colonel enjoyed seeing his army pals.  Bruce learned a lot.  He got to speak to an actual POW.  It didn’t mean much to him now, but hopefully when he gets older he’ll appreciate that someone spent more than five years in the “Hanoi Hilton” and lived to tell about it. 
All in all it was a successful trip to Columbus.  In the end we decided to return home after the dedication.  That’s good because there was NO WAY IN HELL I was staying another second, much less a night there again!  Next time you catch a rerun of "The Dukes of Hazzard," you can remember that you know someone who survived THE NO-TELL MOTEL!  Excuse me; I need to see if my tetanus booster is up to date….

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