Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weekly Rates, Family Units

The LeMaster Motel is a modest establishment off of North Avenue in Grand Junction, Colorado. At first glance, its sign simply projects the vintage charm marking many of the small motels on American highways, locally-owned places that offer the mildly adventurous traveller an inexpensive alternative to the blandness of the franchises and megachains.


But a closer look at the sign -- particularly, at the faint shadows to the left of the word "motel" -- can't help but provoke speculation. I mean, you can see what they were getting at; they wanted to imply both the luxury of a hotel and the convenience of a motel, and perhaps the comforts of home as well. But was there really a time when it seemed like the word "homotel" could be used with a straight face? And was "LeMaster," as in "The LeMaster Homotel," really the right name to try it out with? And in point of fact, how long was the "Ho" actually up there? And when was it painted over? I would love to know.

--

I ate the first tomato tonight. It was, I understand, a vine-ripened grape tomato, for those of you keeping score. From Mexico I believe. I washed it off in the sink, and then I took it and I stood out on the back porch for a while, looking around the lush green of the trees and the gardens and the grass, relishing the oppressive beauty of a hot summer night. I walked down the steps and out into the back yard in my bare feet, kicking pine cones out of the lawn, and I remembered being a child at swimming lessons, paralized out on the low diving board, too scared to jump and too scared to inch back the way I'd come, frozen, and just standing there abject and miserable and small until eventually I did jump, or at least kind of lurched off the board, and then the water was hard on impact and then kind of cold too but I survived, and I floated up to the surface, and life went on. And so I put the tomato into my mouth and bit down into it.

13 comments:

Michael5000 said...

Crap. Still 210.6

Elaine said...

It's because of the tomato thing.

Yankee in England said...

Maybe if you only ate tomatoes you would loose weight. I think if you restricted yourself to toms since you don't like them you wouldn't eat them therefore you would loose weight.

Your ode to your tomatoe poping experience was so touching I almost cried. Almos

Serendipity said...

Kudos both on your bravery and on the evocative description. I agree with Yankee (on how moving it was, not on the tomato diet--I mean, she's probably right that you'd lose weight, but I'd cast my vote for enjoying life on the way).

Serendipity said...

P.S. The Boy and I were just discussing your tomato/diving board piece, and The Boy suggested that I try eating bean & cheese burrito 10 times.

Ludicrous, that child is.

d said...

Why are you torturing yourself again?

The Calico Cat said...

red = beautiful prose - just sayin...

Ben said...

The motel sign seems to also sport a new "O". I wonder why...

Any chance that the shadowy "HO" could have been graffiti?

Eversaved said...

So...what are you implying with the Motel part of this article? I think it's a lovely name.

mrs.5000 said...

You know, based on Ben's comment about the O, I wonder if it might have actually been a HOMETEL--you know, family units away from Family Unit. Google turns up a few odd supporting bits of evidence: thumbs-down reviews of a skanky Hometel in Fife, WA, a Hometels of America business listing in Pompano Beach, FL (locations: 1, employees: 2), Hometels of America listed on a 1979 Minnesota survey plat, that sort of thing...not to mention newer enterprises such as a luxury hotel in Newfoundland, or a chain in India targeting the IT business traveler on a budget. But googling homotel gets me nothing other than a few Westward Ho Motels (Bend, West Yellowstone), a Tally Ho Motel (Missouri--go figure), and a pretty stupid entry in the urban dictionary.

I'm a little disappointed, I confess...mourning for the halcyon days of homotels that perhaps never were.

Michael5000 said...

Hmm. The sharp eye of Ben and the analytical fireworks of Mrs.5000 combine to produce a hypothesis that is, in its very plausibility, incredibly... disappointing. But, well done, both of ya.

@Eversaved: I'll explain when you're a little older.

Karin said...

Ohhh...thank you for that lovely tomato-eating description. Makes my heart happy.

Melissa said...

Hilarious. (The model sign, not the tomato eating description, which was lovely.) I applaud your effort to develop a taste for tomatoes. I must say though that it would probably help if you started with heirloom Farmer's Market tomatoes, rather than cherry tomatoes. Even I don't like cherry tomatoes, and I love tomatoes. I totally understand not liking a food that is used in so many things. I was just remarking to Jason last night that it seems like I'm a picky eater because the one thing I won't eat (raw onion) is in EVERYTHING. We all have our crosses to bear.