Roads of LIfe


The steamy mist arose from the sun baked pavement and a low rumble scattered the swarms of insects out to bask in this momentary lapse in nature.  I rode quietly in the back of the old Buick with my brother who was playing with the dust that scattered the sunlight in the back deck of the old beast. The day would change to night and the miles rolled under the worn out tires, biding their time, awaiting that golden opportunity to explode as their scalps finally wore thin.

The year is 1968 and I and my brother are traveling with a very pregnant mother and father across Route 66 from Virginia Beach towards a corn patch surrounded small frame house with rickety doors, windows without screens and million things to explore in the darkness of my grandfathers basement.  The tire finally succumbed to the pothole laced two laned monster road and we stopped along  a small patch of dirt so close to the edge of both the highway and a massive ditch teeming with mosquitoes, tadpoles and road trash. My brother and I were in heaven as my father struggled with a rusty jack, a 4 way that had a cracked socket and my mother who, at 9 months and counting struggled to keep her patience in the Iowa heat of that early summer day in May

We played in this ditch puddle for what seemed like only seconds but in fact was at least an hour (according to the recollection from my mother) as my father cursed the tire that finally was brutally installed on the Skylark, my brother and I hid tadpoles in our pockets and a rusty Busch Beer can that was unopened on either end but had nothing inside, light as a feather, it was a treasure worth keeping.

The lights were getting brighter now…. where were we I asked my father for what was probably the umpteenth time.. “Des Moines” he answered gruffly, (I think that the tire incident as it was know to become had gotten to him). My Father was a very quiet man during that period of our lives and he was more worried about my mother and her condition than what his two sons were complaining about at the second, my mother remained calm but concerned and asked if he would please stop so she could get out, stretch and use some sort of facility, the car slowly stopped in a Texaco station that had long been closed for the day.. “This will have to do honey”,, mother sighed and found the ladies room to be unlocked and remarkably clean.. tomorrow would be my sisters birthday.. she would come into this world very very quickly and my brother and I would finally have someone to torment.

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