It’s Saturday morning on yet another deadline weekend. I have the entire August issue of Movin’ Out done – except for, you guessed it, my column. I have about half a dozen topics running through my head but I can’t pick which one to start writing, so please allow me to just muse aloud.
It’s three weeks before I turn 57 years old. I have no problem telling anyone my age – but whatever you do, never ask me how much I weigh – or heaven forbid, come up to me and say, “Wow, you sure have changed since you were younger! What happened? How did you put on so much weight?” Although I won’t cut you, I will harbor a deep, deep anger towards you for the rest of my life.
The guys have been out at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree since mid-week. I will admit that I have enjoyed my solitude and a very quiet house but I am ready for them to come home. For the first time in my 35.5 years of marriage, I was truly alone at the house, no kids, no pets. As you know, my beloved Gunny died back in February and Precious, our 16-year-old cat died on June 4th. It is very strange not having a furry friend to keep me company. I still have my birds that I feed outside as well as the chipmunks, squirrels, possums and the occasional raccoon who tries to raid my birdseed storage container. I accidentally ran over a chipmunk with my car this week and just felt horrible. I called my spouse, who was driving to Iowa and asked, whilst sniveling, “What do I do?” His response, “Grab a shovel, put him in the burn pile and give him a Viking funeral.” Yeah, he’s not fond of my critters that I feed. I don’t handle sickness and dead bodies very well but I did as my spouse suggested. It took three tries to get Chippie on the shovel. He looked very beautiful in death, in fact, it was hard to believe that he had been run over by a Chevy Traverse loaded down with three car seats and a ton of contraband snacks and kids’ DVDs. I carried him over to the burn pile and as I started to place him in the pyre of branches and his little buggy eyeball stared at me with such reproach. I was already crying and Chippie made me feel like such a butt munch, so I gathered some paper and made him a makeshift coffin. I gently slid him onto the paper, covered him up (that buggy eyeball was really causing me distress) and tossed a match onto the pyre. I would like to say that I said comforting words and maybe a prayer and watched Chippie go to his final destination – but that would be a lie. I ran, folks, I ran like the wind to the house, calling over my shoulder, “I am soooo sorry, Chippie!” And then I went inside and devoured a Wendy’s Frosty I had found in the freezer.
I’ve been thinking back about my younger days. I was always sickly and spindly and well, a nerd. I have always been a homebody and when I was younger, I was content to sit at home and read a book. When I was 18-21, I worked at a local truck stop, Larry’s. I hung out with a lot of the boys who worked at the fuel pumps. They got me hooked on drag racing. Now, I have never been the best of drivers, but I loved to drag race with them. One night I had my Dad’s 1974 Dodge Dart which had an eight-cylinder engine. We all met in Grove City and proceed to drag race up the main street and I had the petal to the metal and I was winning and I was like, “Yeah, take that boys” and never stopped to wonder why they had fallen back – until I hit the railroad tracks and I heard a horrible noise from under the car. I pulled into a parking lot and the guys pulled in beside me and there we were, in the darkness with a flashlight trying to see what I had done to the car. We couldn’t see anything hanging down – in retrospect, it was probably just the car bottoming out on the tracks, but to a frightened 18-year-old girl, I thought I had destroyed my Dad’s car. I drove the 12 miles home, praying frantically. I pulled into the driveway, sneaked upstairs to my bedroom and spent the rest of the night alternately looking out my bedroom at the car and down on my knees imploring God that nothing be wrong with the car. I held my breath when my Dad went out at 6:30 am to go to work. I remember saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, please Jesus” over and over. Would my Dad burst back in the house and barrel up the stairs wanting to know what I had done with his car? Hallelujah – the car started, emitted ZERO sounds and my Dad was driving up the road! I bought my very first car about a month later, a brand new 1980 Pontiac Sunbird that I custom spec’d and ordered. And I raced that thing every chance I got.
More musings. I have a quick, hot temper. I am moody and lazy and love junk food. I usually stick up for the underdog. I talk to random people, babies and animals. I don’t like crowds but I do like to be near the mosh pit at Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys concerts. I have been walking around with a torn meniscus since last December. I am obsessed with costumes and photo props and taking thousands and thousands of photographs. My family means EVERYTHING to me. I love the Hallmark movie channel. I think I was a lightkeeper’s wife in another lifetime. I love the ocean but I can’t swim. I hate telemarketing phone calls and I answer them this way, “Hello! You have reached 1-900-DIAL-A-PORN! You will never guess what I am wearing right now (and then I moan. You are being charged $19.95 per minute and these charges will appear on your next month’s telephone bill.” And click, the telemarketer hangs up – except for one time, one played along with me and got me so flustered that I had to hang up on him.
In summation - don’t ask me how much I weigh. It is probably best if you don’t loan me your car. If you like Irish punk music, call me. If I am in a foul mood, run for your life. A beagle puppy will definitely make my heart melt, so will a gallon of ice cream. Chipmunks beware – don’t get in the driveway when I am backing up. Oh – and our newest grandchild is due on Thanksgiving Day! Get ready, BK4, Gaga has lots and lots of photo sessions planned for you! I love you so much already and can’t wait until you arrive and join our crazy clan!