Translate

Friday, December 11, 2015

Driving Ma Crazy

Driving Ma Crazy

Ma wanted to get out of the house and do a little shopping, so Pa drove Ma to downtown Kansas City. The plan was that he would drop her off in front of Macy’s Department Store and pick her up again there at precisely 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Pa had some errands that he needed to run, including dropping in on some friends that he liked to keep up with. The plan was specific and foolproof. They had pulled this off repeatedly in the past and there was no reason to think that it wouldn’t work today.

And so, they each went their separate ways. Pa stayed to have lunch with Luke and Brenda who mentioned that Jerry was laid up in the hospital with a broken leg. So, he spent a few hours with his old friend Jerry before hurrying off to catch up on his errands. He needed to buy a replacement headlamp for the car, two pounds of 8-penny, nails, a couple of shirts for himself and a scarf to give Ma on their anniversary, just two days from now. He congratulated himself on his thoughtfulness and consideration for the woman he loved.




Ma’s first priority was a replacement bread hook for her large electric mixer. Insufferably pleased with herself for finding it on sale, she treated herself to a full lunch portion of grilled halibut and even indulged in a scoop of sherbet for dessert. Returning to Macy’s, she bought a new scarf for herself and couple of badly-needed shirts to give Pa on their anniversary, just two days from now. She congratulated herself on her thoughtfulness and consideration for the man she loved.

Still having time to kill, she noticed a sign offering free makeovers with a $10 purchase at the Cosmetics Department. It was too good to resist. Besides, Pa would be impressed to see her looking so good, especially just before their anniversary. Ready to go, punctually at 4 o’clock, she made her way to the appointed corner. She had no doubts or reservations. Pa was a man of faithful character and it never occurred to her that he might not be there.

Pa arrived at the agreed-on spot punctually at 4 o-clock. He prided himself on being a man of faithful character. Ma wasn’t there yet, so Pa drove around the block and, again, peered into the lines of shoppers clustered around the Macy’s corner while waiting for their various buses to stop. Ma still wasn’t there. She would be soon. Maybe the next time around.

Pa remembered the spring day that he and his brother had decided to ride their bikes down to the Missouri river. It had started out as a mild day and partly cloudy — perfect for an extended bicycle adventure. Back then, Hughes Road was a moderately well maintained gravel road that ran from Glenaire all the way to the unincorporated settlement of Birmingham. The heavily-shaded path wandered through dense woods and a network of railroad spurs serving the Ford assembly plant in Claycomo. From Birmingham, it was only three miles down Arlington Road to the inside of a bend in the Missouri river. It was a perfect plan — specific and foolproof.

Unfortunately, his tire went flat just past Minneville Cemetery and they had to turn around and start what promised to be a long, but not unmanageable, walk home. A cold front must have blown through, however, because they were drenched by a sudden chilly downpour. Pa and his brother took shelter in a field barn to wait it out. They were seriously embarrassed and as uncomfortable as wet hens.

About half an hour later, still shivering, and with steam rising from their still-wet shirts in the very welcome sunshine, they found a farm house and asked to use the phone. His Dad was home because he worked the night shift at Ford and he graciously agreed to get up, drive down, pick them up with their bicycles, and fetch them back home. The plan was specific and foolproof. The folks at the house gave them towels to pat themselves dry and made them sandwiches and Kool-Aid. Life was wonderful and his Dad was such a great guy. He never said a word in criticism or complaint.

Pa drove around the block again, peering into the lines of shoppers clustered around the Macy’s corner while waiting for their various buses to stop. Ma wasn’t there yet.

Pa also remembered the time that, when he was an older teen, he had a friend take him to an event in the city. But, circumstances changed, the friend had to leave early, and Pa suddenly found himself in need of a ride home. He had called home and his Dad agreed to come get him on the north-east corner of the intersection of Independence Avenue and Highway 24 in Kansas City. Dad had been pleasant and agreeable about the considerable imposition and said that he could be there in forty minutes. The plan was specific and foolproof. And so, Pa had relieved himself at a nearby filling station restroom and returned to the bus bench on the north-east corner of the intersection of Independence and Highway 24 to wait.

Pa drove around the block again, peering into the lines of shoppers clustered around the Macy’s corner while waiting for their various buses to stop. Ma wasn’t there yet.

Four hours had passed and his Dad never came. Pa was determined to not squirrel the plan by wandering off-point to find a telephone, but it was getting toward dusk and Dad still hadn’t come. Pa raked his brain to imagine what might have gone wrong and decide what he should do. And, he needed to pee again. Being a young man of persistent determination and faithful character, he decided to just stay put and wait. Another twenty minutes had passed when his Dad pulled up to the curb, reached over and popped the door open.

Pa drove around the block again, peering into the lines of shoppers clustered around the Macy’s corner while waiting for their various buses to stop. Ma wasn’t there yet.

The explanation was simple. His Dad had visualized the north-east corner of the intersection of Independence Avenue and Highway 40, not Highway 24. And, being a man of persistent determination and faithful character, he had been waiting there as agreed. It must be admitted that he did experience considerable consternation and some growing impatience. The far corners of his mind gradually began to disturb him with the growing suspicion that he had heard “Highway 24,” not “Highway 40.” He therefore elected to leave his designated post and check out the other spot. And, here he was. Pa got in with considerable relief and gratitude. Life was wonderful and his Dad was such a great guy.

Pa drove around the block again, peering into the lines of shoppers clustered around the Macy’s corner while waiting for their various buses to stop. Ma still wasn’t there. The plan had been specific and foolproof. What could have gone wrong? At that moment, he saw a very pretty but obviously-crazy woman jumping up and down on the curb and waving madly. “Now there’s a real idiot,” he thought to himself. On an impulse to mock her, he waved back cheerily and turned the corner to make yet another circumnavigation of the block until Ma showed up.

As he drove, the far corners of his mind gradually began to disturb him with the growing suspicion that the crazy lady had looked familiar. Coming around again, Pa squinted to identify the woman he had loved for so many years, and began to feel anxiety about missing their connection. He felt a gnawing pang of loss at the thought of having been away from the comfort of her presence for so many hours this day.

Pa was delighted to realize that the “crazy lady” was actually his beloved. And… my, didn’t she look great! Now, he felt sudden pangs of relief and joy. He pulled over and popped the door open. It was so good to have found her. They would have so much to talk about on the way home. He was so looking forward to giving her a new scarf on their anniversary, just two days away.

Ma was mad as a wet hen. “Why didn’t you stop for me?” she demanded, still sliding onto the passenger seat. Being a man of faithful character, Pa didn’t hesitate to answer directly and truthfully, “Because it didn’t look like you.” Ma slammed the door shut with unnecessary vigor. They did not have much to talk about on the way home. Dad reflected that the plan had been specific enough, but not actually foolproof.

David Satterlee