You won’t find it in a dictionary anywhere, but it is a word. At least, it’s a word in our family. It is derived from my uncle Ronnie, because … well, let me explain.
It’s been several years. Fifteen or so as a matter of fact, but it’s one of those family stories that are always shared throughout the years. My parents and my uncle were traveling up to the Mobile area of Alabama, driving through the night. Ronnie was asleep in the back, mom zonked out in the passenger seat and Dad stuck with the ten hour drive. Mom hates driving and my uncle never learned how. That left my father behind the wheel the entire journey.
At one point Dad needed the benefit of a rest area. He didn’t make an announcement or wake anyone up to tell them what he was doing. Some things are just private matters and not polite conversation. Unless you’re Zac, of course, who feels the need to make loud declarations of his need to go to the bathroom. We’ve told him we really don’t need this information, but he insists on sharing. I guess bragging on him during the potty training years backfired on us.
While my dad was out of the car, Ronnie woke up and decided he needed the restroom, as well. He slid out and went on his merry way. Now, somehow my dad and uncle missed each other going back and forth. Dad, now feeling more comfortable, slid back behind the wheel and continued on his journey - without making sure everyone was still in the car.
Cell phones were still fairly new and while my parents had one, my uncle did not. I’m not sure how far my father had driven, but eventually his phone rang. It was a very friendly, female state trooper.
“Excuse me, Mr. Cox.”
“Do you have a brother named Ronnie Cox?”
“Yes.” My dad’s wondering, at this point, how this officer got his number and what on earth his brother could have done to draw her attention. He looks in the rearview mirror to see his sleeping sibling - only he wasn’t there.
“Well, we have Ronnie here at the rest area you just left. He’d really appreciate it if you’d come back and get him.” Dad did go back for him and announcements were forever made in loud voices that there would be restroom stops, get out now or be left behind. Roll calls were also taken before the key was even put in the ignition.
The reason I share this story with you now is because our youngest son, Zac, was just Ronnied. The sad part is it was before the trip even started.
We were taking the small Caliber versus the van because the van was starting to have issues. The problem was the tinier car wouldn’t hold six people and we needed to get Zac to Nathan’s vehicle. Chris had to pass us to the meeting place anyway, so he was coming to the house for the sole purpose of picking up Zac. That’s important to remember.
The plan was that when I pulled out of the driveway, I wanted Zac to pull his truck in and out of the road. He would then hop in Chris’ and Michael’s car and meet us at the gas station by the interstate. I pulled out - and they pulled out right behind me.
“There is no way Zac had time to park his truck and get into their car,” I said to the girls.
Char called Chris. Yup. They forgot him. The funny part was Zac had already put his phone and stuff in the car, so he had no way of calling anyone. When he finally caught up with the rest of us, he waved his hands in the air, screaming, “I just stood there going yelling ‘I’ve been Ronnied!’” Luckily, a trip around the block and he was rescued. However, it was enough to bring out the old Uncle Ronnie story once again.
Twelve hours we were in the car and every time we stopped we heard, “Don’t Ronnie me again!” The first time or two it was funny and we all laughed, but after the third reminder, I was ready to do it on purpose.
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