(Landscape with Cattle & Sheep, Constant Troyon, 1858, Minneapolis Museum of Art)
The Bobster and I have been traveling for days and we still haven't seen an inch of the Canadian border.
That's what happens when you stop at every art museum in your path.
It's hard for me to admit this, but even I am growing a teensy bit tired of our drive-museum-sleep routine.
So I look at Bob and say, "Hey, maybe we can find some fun place to stop and visit today. Something that doesn't have anything to do with art!"
Bob is stretched out on the bed reading "USA Today."
He looks up long enough to reply, "Sure, if we can find something we both want to see."
I shoot a hasty glance at Tess Tudhope as I head for the desk.
She's sprawled all over the top of my suitcase acting like she owns it.
I roll my eyes and begin searching for the travel brochures I picked up yesterday.
But nothing in that stack of information lights my fire.
I decide to check the net.
"Oh, my stars!!!" I practically scream at Bob.
"There's a Ben & Jerry's Factory just a few miles up the road from here!"
I turn around and study Bob's reaction to this flash of news.
The corners of his mouth quiver as his eyes begin to light up.
Whammo - I've got him!
Of course, he can't let me know that I've got him.
He yawns slowly and says, "I suppose we could stop there for a few minutes - if you really want to."
Give me a bloomin' break!
The truth is, most of us earthly mortals struggle with a bunch of desires and addictions on a daily basis.
The Bobster isn't one of them.
Unless you count his raging need to stuff himself with ice cream every five minutes.
Ice cream is his one and only edible weakness.
I can't really relate.
I like the stuff well enough.
Especially during the hot, humid days of summer.
But I could easily live without it.
I'd rather cram a bag of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises down my throat any day of the week.
And I usually do.
But Bob can't survive without his creamy vanilla, his caramel-laden dulche le leche, and his absolute favorite - butter pecan - ice cream.
I know this about him.
I also know that he would rather have all of his fingernails pulled out in slow motion than pass up the free sample at the Ben & Jerry's Factory.
So I casually mention:
"Honey, we really should go to the factory. Think about all the things we'll learn about making ice cream. And it'll be fun to tell the kids we saw something on our vacation besides art. They are never going to believe it!"
Bob, thinking things over, says, "Well, since it's on our way, I guess it won't hurt to check it out."
Suddenly, the command "DEPART!" rings out loud and clear from the direction of my suitcase.
"Did you hear that?" I ask Bob.
"Tess just told us to leave!"
Why that nervy little minx!!!
"How dare she tell us what to do in our hotel room!" I huff and puff to Bob.
"Didn't you turn her off last night?" I quickly inquire.
"Yes, I did," Bob replies, "but I programmed her early this morning while you were in the shower. That explains her ability to speak in here."
"It's bad enough she yaks at us non-stop in the car. Do we have to listen to her nag when we're out of the car too?" I ask him indignantly.
Bob rises and walks over to Tess who has wisely decided to zip her busy little lips.
He picks Tess up, turns her over and flicks the "off" switch on her back.
Minutes later, we follow Tess's command to "depart."
That's NOT because she told us to leave, by the way.
It's because we're burning precious daylight in this hotel room.
Besides, Ben & Jerry are expecting us up at their place.
And it's not nice to keep your hosts waiting.