Saturday, February 19, 2011


January 9th, 3:00am, Corpus Christi, Texas, boondocking in a Walmart parking lot, we wake with our van home rocking in a stiff wind.  We sit up.  The hail starts.  The wind gets much worse. Then there's a huge crash and Whitt feels water coming in the window on Judy's side of the bed.

"Are you sure you shut this window?" he shouts above the freight train roar.

"Yes!" Judy answers, and they raise the window shade to discover--no window!

Then they realize rain is coming in in the "dining & bathroom area" window, too.  They pull out all the plastic they can find without leaving the van and start shoving it wherever they think it might stop some of the intruding precipitation.   When the rain subsides considerably, Whitt gets out to see exactly what has happened.

A couple of hundred yards from where we're parked, Whitt sees this Walmart truck.  Doesn't seem right.  Do tired truckers usually lay their van down when retiring for the night?

This truck's driver had to be removed through the sunroof with two broken shoulders!

Surveying our situation, here's what Whitt saw:
What you're looking at is a Walmart cart corral.  Did you know they're not fastened down?  Neither did we.  The Walmart sign attached to it (like when you're putting your cart away, you might not know where you are) turns the whole thing into a pipe-framed box kite in a 70 mph breeze.  Handy!
Needless to say, there was quite a hubbub--rescue truck for the trucker, employees out surveying the damage to their car windows, and, of course, the ubiquitous Walmart security truck circling constantly, amber lights flashing.  Not once did the security guy stop to check on us.  If we had not sat up minutes before the impact of the cart corral, we would have been lying in bed, peppered with glass, at the very least.   Still, no one ever even inquired.

We went inside and spoke to the manager, who explained he was very busy and could speak with us "in the morning."

Whitt went to the hardware department for plastic and tape, which we purchased.  We stuck plastic up temporarily on the outside, using the heavy magnets that usually hold our mosquito screening in place.

At sun-up, we felt the van rocking again, and heard sounds of metal creaking.  Whitt got out to find four Walmart maintenance guys trying to remove the cart coral from its lodging place between our rear bumper and chassis.  The fella in charge looked at Whitt, shrugged, and tugged on the pipe frame again to indicate that they were unable to remove it.  Whitt suggested that three of them lift it and move it slightly to the left, and it immediately dislodged, whereupon the four of them lugged it away.  All the other corrals in the lot were simply flattened on the asphalt, signless.

Figuring this might qualify as "the morning," we dressed and went in to speak to the manager.  He said there was an insurance claim form we could fill out, which we did.  We were given an number to call regarding our claim.

We then went to work, and, after a whole day of vacuuming glass, cleaning out the frames, taping both sides of the remaining shattered glass, getting masonite cut at Home Depot, taping plastic, and even sweeping up the glass in the parking lot, the van looked like this:
 ...and we were on out way again.

A couple days later, we called and someone answered "Claims Management Incorporated."  We were never even told the name of the insurance company, if, in fact, one was ever even involved.  We were issued a "claim number," and the name of our "claim representative," Matt Harris, and his extension number.  We called that number and left messages for over a week, and then called the main number again to complain.  Whitt was interrupted mid-complaint and given the name of Matt's "supervisor," David Morton (or maybe Horton?) and his extension number.  He ignored us for a month.  And that's how Claims Management Inc. manages claims.  Pretty cost effective!

Turns out these windows are hard to find, now, and the one source a shop located for us wanted almost $500 per window just for the glass.  We'll see if we're able to get that much "ahead." 

Meanwhile, we're going to be working on the song. We'll put it on YouTube when it's ready.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Name Game

Various Incarnations of MWT, '08-'12
                            Congratulations to John Zollars!!

...John's curbside sign at North Woods Fine Art Gallery & Coffee House...
This gets our "Best use of possible space" award for sure; but, it also gets the "What was so hard about that?" award for being the only promoter or medium to get our name right consistently!

Beautiful sign, John! Thanks for the time and effort!

We have been extensively promoted as "The McKinley Washtub Two"...also  "McKinney Washboard Two," "The McKinny Washtub Two" "The McKiney Washtub Two", "The McKinney Washtub Two Band," "McKinney Washtub II," and "Englebert Humperdink."
Ok, maybe not the last one.

The latest addition to the Mckinney family name walk of fame is "The Mickinney Washtub Two".  So, we're part need to call names!

But wait! That's not all! There's "Washtub Duo" and even "The McKinney Washtub Trio"! Yup. No joke. They even gave us top billing! (We're thinking of changing our name to "The Mickinly Washboard Duo Band" to see if that doesn't result in their actually getting it right.)

Here it is 2008 and the new year began with getting introduced as "The McKinney Washtub plus Two"! (So now our washtub is actually getting its own billing!)

The Tampa Tribune (bless it's heart) wrote us up in an article with the headline,
"Washtub, Comedy, Two" for which we are entirely grateful!

But wait, there's more! "The Washboard Band", "Washtub II", and "The McKenny's Washtub Two". (Apparently we are owned by some big corporation or something.)

(We are NOT making any of this up!)

And, completely off the wall, we were called "The ubiquitous Steve & Holly" by someone at the Moon Shadow in Tucker, Georgia.

The fall of 2008, we recently appeared on lobby billboards as follows:
"McKinney Duo," and "The Washtub," (So now we're just opening for the washtub!)  also "Husband & Wife McKinney Duo."

2009 and we're still at it.  For your consideration:

"The McKiddeys" ( has a certain ring to it, actually), "McKinney Washtub" (suppose we could just take the evening off), and the not very inventive, "McKinney Washtub Duo"  always a popular mutation.  At least all the elements are there except the "The" (and what's so hard about the "The"? Can you spare us a "The" please?)

"The McKinney + Washtub Two"...technically true as Whitt's the only blood McKinney in the group...

July 2009, and we couldn't wait to include this new one which appeared on the billboard in the lobby:
"Olde Tyme Washboard Dance with The Olde Tyme Washboard Band." We kid you not. Actually, we'll give 'em a few points for the "Old Tyme" just for creativity, but we're subtracting them due to the excessive use of the "e" ending.  And, no one danced.

Dec 2009. Our latest permutation was printed in a full-color glossy monthly newsletter, where we were billed as "Washtub Band with Whitt & Judy" (always happy to be included) and we also got another mention on the back page as "McKinney Washtub Band." Still a mystery to us why the country seems to be suffering a dearth of "The"s.

March of 2010. There have been a lot of duplicates we won't bore you with.  The only two new ones we have to add in three months of touring (c'mon Activity Directors where's your muse?!) are "Washtub Duet", which we'll leave you to make up your own subtitle for, and the simple yet elegant "Washtub Trio", a variation on a familiar theme.

April blows in"The McKenny's", and "McKinneys-The Washtub, " &; "Washtub-2", not to be outdone by "Judy McKinney and the Washboard."  (The money Judy makes taking in laundry more than makes up for--oh, never mind.)

October of 2010 brings us "McKenny Washtub Twosome" and "The Washtub II Band." (Did we mention we are not making this up?)

We ended 2010 with some doozies:   
"The Tub Act",  which may be an unnatural act, "The McKinney's"(we own them you know) "Wash Tub Two", and, of course, with a slight variation on a popular theme, "WashBoard Duo"

Then they scribed "Was Tub Music" (Vas is das?) This was written in beautiful neon letters on a backlit black sign.  "The Washtubbor" made it seem Judy works alone & only plays the washtub--not only extra pressure for Judy, but probably rather boring during the second hour! 

And finally, "The Mickiney Washtub Two".

2011 has produced many, many repeats of the old standards, but there have been a couple of innovative monikers, including this relatively new genre...

In February, we were introduced as, "The McKinney Family Washtub Two", which is technically true, and pretty close, but no cigar folks!  That was followed by "Judy McKinney and the MDR Washboard Band." (Don't ask us! Maybe "Minimum Daily Requirement"?  But the thought of a whole band of washboards is daunting, to say the least.)
Then there was the simple "The McKinney Washtub"--accept no substitutes!  (Hey, they spared us a "The"!)

October of 2011, and the mangling continues:
"The McKinny Washtub" is an ongoing theme, often without an "e", "The Washtub duo," " The McKinny Washtub Band," "The Washboard Band", which sounds noisy, to say the least, and finally but not least, "Entertainment by Judy McKinney The Washtub." Okay, Judy is not happy with
this one at all! Sheesh, gain a few pounds and the name-calling starts!

2012, in the Rio Grande Valley, we  hit a new level.  We were listed in the paper, and at the performance (they were consistent anyway) as simply "McKinney".  What can we say?
And, what can compare to the thrill of seeing our name in dry-erase marker?

..."for Two"!  Okay, but that's not a very good turnout.

Stay tuned for our latest incarnations--the hits just keep comin'!"