Once upon a time, my father had a business partner. I don’t remember his name, but he was a big, bluff Russian who used to come over the house and make gallons of cabbage soup. He must have thought there were a lot more of us than there were, because my mother couldn’t figure out how to store so much soup, even though we had a full size standing deep freezer in the basement and a huge fridge in the kitchen.
He and my father would go into the kitchen and produce these gallons of soup and laugh a lot. We all had to eat it for weeks until we were sure we were turning into little cabbages.
Bob (or whatever his name was) was accident prone and an enthusiastic teller of stories, most of them about his own misadventures.
“So I was at the beach, at Coney Island” he says, almost shouting because he never said anything except very loud. “Very sunny. Blue sky. A nice day to take my mother to the beach, let her relax in the sun by the water. She is just settling down with her chair. And she asks me if I’ll set up the umbrella for her. I mean, she didn’t have to ask. I always do it, but she always asks anyway, like if she doesn’t ask I won’t do it. I took her to Coney Island, what did she think, I’m going to leave her to cook in the sun?”
We all nodded dutifully. Because he was my father’s partner and we were kids, so what else was there to do?
“It’s a big umbrella. With stripes. Red and yellow. I got it myself, on sale. Umbrellas are expensive and this was a good sturdy one and I paid bupkas for it. If you ever need an umbrella …” and he paused to remember what he was going to say. “Anyway, this was one of the good ones, with a heavy pole so it would stay put.”
We nodded some more. Our job. To nod. Look very interested.
“I opened the umbrella and had to find the right place to put it because, you know, if it’s in the wrong place, the shade isn’t going to be where you want it. So I walked around a bit until I found just the right place. Then I took the pole and a jammed it into the sand as hard as I could and it went pretty deep. Seemed good and solid.”
We were still nodding. I must have been — maybe 10? — and had been taught to be polite, no matter what, to grown-ups. We did not call adults by their first name. I think my teeth would have cracked if I had tried or my tongue would have stuck to the roof of my mouth.
“What with everything looking okay and my mother settling down in her chair with a book, she looked happy. So I figured it would be a good time to get something to eat and I told her I would go get us some hot dogs — and something to drink. She said that was good, tell them to leave the mustard off because — she’s always reminding me but I know, I know — she doesn’t like mustard.
“I walked all the way over to Nathan’s — pretty long walk, all the way at the end of the boardwalk — because they have the best hot dogs” at which I was nodding with enthusiasm because Nathan’s does have the best hot dogs, “And fries. I got five, two for her — no mustard — and three for me. I was hungry,” and he paused to pat his substantial belly, “I started walking back. I could see where to go — I could see our striped umbrella all the way from the boardwalk.”
“The weather suddenly began to change. Suddenly. Big clouds coming in from the ocean. And getting windy. This was all happening fast while I was out getting the dogs. Funny how weather changes so fast at the beach, you know? So now, I’m almost there when up comes a big puff of wind. That umbrella pulls right out of the sand and flies at me. Whacks me over the head. Boom. I thought my head was gonna come off.
“I dropped the food and fell over. Like a rock I fell and just lay there. My whole brain was like scrambled eggs. They had to come and take me to the hospital. I was completely compost for TWO DAYS! Two days! Compost!”
Be careful of flying umbrellas at the beach. They will turn you into compost. That’s not good, especially when your hands are full of hot dogs.
For the Weekly Writing Challenge: Object – A character sketch and some funny memories.
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Object | A mom’s blog
- Injecting object | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me
- The Coat of Many Pockets | Musings of a Soul Eclectic
- Approaching your 30′s with a big question mark? | Sober Rants
- Apology Issue #1 | Doe Words
- #DPChallenge; The Music | thepanicpersona
- Weekly Writing Challenge: The Object | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Object – Andrea | sailingthroughthefog
- An afternoon (inspired by a true story) | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
- Him | Emily Schleiger
- DP Challenge: Object. My camera. | cockatooscreeching
- The Can of Sardines | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
- The Red Pen | Sleep Less, Write More
- Sparkle | Master Of Disaster
- whodunit mystery solved | Musings of a Random Mind
- WWC: Object | Simple Heart Girl
- Egg UKO | flour mill reflections
- A Little Purple Ring | theauthorwhoknows
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Object | imagination
- Talent Show | The Library Lady and Rosie Bear
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Object: My Grandma’s Hanky | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)
- Daily Prompt: Writing Challenge | The Road Less Travelled By
- Comforting pain | fifty5words
- WWC: Fenghuang | Kingdom of Sharks
The last time Garry could get free of the driveway was last Saturday. Today, as I write this, it’s Thursday. The kids picked up a few things, including dog food — which was getting perilously low — when they were out a few days ago. Otherwise, we are stuck. Our PT Cruiser has been dug out and is actually sitting on bare asphalt, but the driveway is so completely iced over, the car will not go more than a few feet. Then, it just spins its wheels.
I tried to get a tow, but it’s a front wheel drive car without a tow hitch. Pulling it out from the front … which is the only way it could be done because of the way it’s parked … would tear off the whole front bumper. So the driveway has been plowed twice — for whatever good it did which isn’t much — and our car is still trapped.
Both the yellow car and the silver Cruiser are ours. Mostly, Kaity uses the yellow Sunbird. We use the Cruiser for pretty much everything. For a 2-wheel drive vehicle, it’s been good. Until this winter, which has defeated the snowblower and the car. And the best efforts of everyone in the house.
Yesterday afternoon it rained. It was in the mid thirties, so I hoped it would at least take the level of ice down, but what it did was convert the last remaining hard-packed snow into solid ice about 3-inches thick. Our neighbor came by early this morning with his tractor … but he said the ice was too hard and too thick.
I called the town, but they had nothing but one (just one!) bucket of sand to offer us. And we’d have to come and get it. I pointed out we are two senior citizens trapped by ice. They suggested we call the police and evacuate to a shelter. Nice to know our tax dollars are so well spent.
AAA say their vehicles don’t have 4-wheel drive, sorry. Good all those years of dues are paying off.
We are down to our last hope, the neighbor with the tractor who says he’ll try again later. Maybe the ice will have softened a little. I’m not feeling optimistic at this point. But we do have to get out. The Cruiser needs to be inspected before the end of the month. I have a doctor appointment on Monday. I don’t think we’ll run out of food, but I’m running out of time. It’s 13 days until I go into the hospital and there’s much to be done. At this rate, I won’t be able to get to the hospital because I can’t get out of the driveway. Isn’t that a kick in the head.
In all the years we have both lived in New England, never have we been trapped like this. Garry’s lived here since 1970 and me since 1987. We’ve had bad winters, but never have we been marooned. I really don’t know what is going to happen. Or when.
- – - – -
And then … the tractor arrived! Good neighbor Burt and the green miracle machine and suddenly, we can see pavement! That’s right. Asphalt! It’s been more than a month since we’ve seen it and now … it’s back. Owen is helping, shuffling cars … and of course Bishop is helping by barking continuously, with occasional input from Bonnie. Nan barks too, but stays inside while lending moral support to the outside dogs. It’s amazing!! It’s … a neighbor. A member of our church’s congregation — an elder, actually.
Because in the end, the reality of the valley and perhaps of rural life in general — you need your neighbors. They are the ones who have trucks and tractors, who will bring you a cooked meal when you are sick, do your shopping when you’re laid up. You meet your neighbors, not over the fence but in church. Believe what you like, but join a church regardless because the heart and soul of relationships in rural New England begin in churches.
This morning the sunrise was blue and pink. Not the typical colors of dawn around here. Grabbed the camera. Half asleep, no glasses or focus. But the soft colors were lovely and… ye gods, it’s SNOWING AGAIN …
Our car is still stuck in the ice and snow. I think we are never going to get out of here again. I needn’t worry about surgery since we will never leave the driveway. The ice dams — huge roof icicles — are halfway down my window.
Welcome to the new arctic.
I’m was hoping we’d seen the last “big one” of the season, but nope.
This storm wasn’t suppose to really hit us. It was a coastal storm, so if we got it at all, it would be no more than a glancing blow, a few light inches.
When the snow started to come down heavily this morning, I thought “Oh, just a flurry.” But it got heavier and Garry, foregoing his shower and other normal morning activities, made a dash for the grocery store … along with what seemed to be the entire population of the town. He thought there couldn’t be any more people coming, but as he was checking out, the rest of the towns showed up … those who’d been at work, probably.
Now the weather gurus are predicting as much as 2 feet of snow along the coast. No one is aware it’s snowing in the Valley. We never make it into weather reports so I have no idea what we are expecting. Apparently a bit more than the originally predicted 3 to 5 inches. (Ya think Probie?)
So. Thirty four days by the calendar. Are we counting yet?