Grandma and Nana Bonnie just drove off with two little ones singing “P-U-R-P-L-E Purple Purple… P-U-R-P-L-E Purple’s what that spells…” It’s an odd feeling. Two at school and two giggling their way to Kentucky. A run crossed my mind. A week of cleaning up sheets every night in the middle of the night nixed that idea. Instead I thought I would recap the wild shopping excursion of 2012. Cut short, all be it briefly, by the great gross sickness of 2012. At least, I hope that’s as sick as we get for the rest of the year.
Anyway, when Mom and Nana Bonnie are here, more than once you’ll hear the words, “Uh oh!” It may or may not be followed with, “I think I may have wet my pants.” In some cases, that might have been followed with, “Please tell me you are wearing underwear…” Because that’s how we roll. The sudden bursts of laughter are caused by all the old stories that are told as we drive from one shopping area to the next one. Do you remember the time… and I don’t know how many times I heard “YOU CAN’T WRITE ABOUT THAT!” There was the summer, it was really, really hot… oh wait, not that story. Do you remember when she… Let me tell you about… Janice Kaye!!! Bonnie Jean!!! Brandi Shaye!!! Yes, all double name forms are used around here. Along with y’all and SHE DID NOT!
At this point, I may be slightly delirious with all the stories that I may never be able to tell. Clearly, I’m not making much sense. I can tell you one story though. We laughed over it the entire weekend. I must admit it might only be funny to the three people in the car and maybe people who knew us personally. It still makes me snicker to think about it.
I grew up in a small, small Kentucky town. In fact, when I stop and start to think about how to describe it, that first scene from Beauty and the Beast always comes to mind…Little town, little quiet village. Every day, like the one before… Anyway, I grew up in a town no bigger than a minute. It was in fact so small, I remember when they put in the flashing red light to warn you of the four way stop. There wasn’t even a stop light. My junior year of high school when it was time to look for a prom dress, my mom and grandmother decided we might need to drive over to Fulton, TN. It would take about forty five minutes to get there but they heard about a shop that would rent and resell prom dresses. It sounded like it might be easier on the old budget than buying an expensive dress that I would only wear once. One Saturday morning, we piled into my mom’s Lincoln Continental. Don’t get excited. My uncle owned a car dealership. It was used. Mom was proud of that car. Dad was too. He used to Armor All the leather seats until you couldn’t hardly sit in the back for sliding around. Anyway, off we go down this little road toward another tiny town called Wingo.
Let me stop here and tell you my mother has never had a speeding ticket. She would rather die than drive more than 5 mph over any limit. ANY LIMIT. She was behind the wheel of her beloved car. I was in the back playing to role of sullen teenager. My grandmother was sitting in the passenger seat trying to get me excited about a used dress while I imagined someone else’s sweat stains in a rank used dress. Mom was on a mission, white knuckling it when I see her staring in the rear view. She whispered something to Gran about the car riding her tail. She sped up. The car sped up to match. Mom sped up more. Now this road has a 55 mph limit on it at best I’m sure there were some curvy spots although it’s been about 20 years since I’ve driven down it. That car was brushing the bumper on Mom’s car. She hit the gas a little more and I sat up a little straighter to evaluate the situation. At this point, Gran is visibly nervous. She’s urging Mom to go faster. Mom speeds up again.
Now, there was a little road to the right that would curve around and catch the main road we were on. Mom decided she was going to try one of her “Old Indian Tricks.” (Note she can say that since she’s is partially American Indian and honestly thinks it’s a smart turn for doing something to stay out of trouble even if it usually causes her more trouble which I’m getting to.) She turned right hard on that road with little warning. Shockingly she didn’t even put on her blinker. “Where are they Brandi?” “Um, yeah, they’re still right there, so close you can’t see them in the mirror.” I believe this may have been the first time I heard my mother cuss. My grandmother was weeping, not so quietly. This ratty old sedan was right on her bumper. Mom was on an even more country road driving so fast she was quite literally catching air off of every hill. It was time to worry about tires popping. I knew this because I heard my grandfather say that every time he saw the General Lee jump in the air. “No tire could take that.” It was at that moment that I too will admit to being a bit frightened. Back on the main road, Mom was now quite literally flying. Sherry Tucker’s husband would surely be working at that little gas station in town. Gran was bawling, yelling at Mom to drive faster. I think I heard, “I’m already doing 85!” She was also praying and yelling at me to keep a lookout. Yep, right there. If you stop they would quite surely come through the windshield from behind.
Fifteen minutes later but what seemed like an hour and half, Mom pulled into that gas station. I could hear the Ding Ding as the tires rolled over signally a customer. Sherry’s husband came out. Mom knew the man and still she cracked the window, barely… to tell him what was happening. It was a couple on their last dollar and their last scheme. They said Mom had thrown a rock cracking their windshield. Mr. Tucker told them to turn it into their insurance. Surprise, surprise! They didn’t have insurance. They wanted Mom to give them cash to pay for the windshield. She said no. Mr. Tucker asked them to leave before he called the police for harassment. They pulled off back toward Sedalia.
We sat in that gas station parking lot. Gran had been carrying on for the last fifteen minutes crying and yelling at the people behind us and Mom. Mom was shaking so badly it is indescribable. “Well, what do we do now?” I was still sitting in the back wide eyes. Gran says, “Well go to Fulton. We’ve got a dress to get.” That’s what we did, Mom shaking the whole way.
This weekend Mom asked if I remembered. Yes, like I remember the stories of Dee’s dog trapping the guy trying to rob the local restaurant. Like I remember Halloween Soup Suppers and shucking endless ears of corn, I remember that drive. I remember the time my timid mother drove 85 mph and tried to outrun a hoodlum while Gran cried and I made sure to buckle my seatbelt before it was a law. I remember feeling like I was in an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard and wishing I was in the General Lee instead of Lincoln Continental. We went through all that and I didn’t get a dress. I borrowed one from Allison Carr but it was my favorite dress and I looked good that night. I couldn’t breathe, but I looked good! It is also now a favorite story that maybe my girls will tell about their grandmother.