Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It is Theme Thursday and I just looked at my blog and realized I haven’t written in a week. I have been jonsing bad but I have been busy. I know you wonder what the heck could keep me away from you for so long. Honestly there is nothing more important than you. Well I have an excuse but it will have to wait until later because right now we must get out of park and put it into drive because this week’s theme is PARK. I know you know what to do. Read my story then click on the link back to THEME THURSDAY and go read all the wonderful other post. It is amazing how many different views there will be on the same word, Park.

Trooper Bob drove into the drive and slid the gear shift to “P”. He walked toward the house tired from yet another day of working the back roads and by ways. He unbuckled his Sam Brown and hung it in the closet and gratefully put on his well worn overalls. He knew there were a couple of little girls waiting to pounce on him.

He walked into the kitchen where Gladys sat at the counter doing her homework. “Hi Daddy” she yelled as she threw herself into him. “Whatcha doin? Whereyou been? Did anything funny happen today? Didju bring me sumin?” came rushing from his youngest daughter’s mouth. She never stopped talking, she even talked in her sleep. He laughed and grabbed her glass of tea and drank it to the bottom. “Naw, not much. Just a herd of elephants speeding out on FM603 but other than that a pretty slow day” he replied as he sat down the empty glass. “Hey” Gladys exclaimed as she picked up her empty glass and made her way to the tea pitcher. She carefully poured the thick sweat amber colored tea syrup into the glass and added water. She stirred the tea with a long silver spoon and handed the glass to her daddy “here have some more since you seem to be drinkin enough for them elephants.”

Trooper Bob took the glass and sat down next to her “whatcha workin on?” Gladys turned her big book full of numbers toward her daddy “fractions. I HATE fractions. They are soooooo lame. I mean it doesn’t make since turning numbers upside down and then figuring them by crossing out the others.” Trooper Bob eyed the book and looked at Gladys as if she had just spoke Martianese “yep, I guess they seem pretty lame if you put it that way but honestly I don’t know what the heck your talkin bout. Must be some of that new math.” Gladys took her number 2 pencil and scratched out a few more problems then stuck her paper into her notebook and declared “all done. What are we gonna do now?” Trooper Bob set his glass in the sink and looked out the window “guess we better get busy on that old Dodge out there. We ain’t never gonna be able to drive it if we don’t get it running.”

Gladys grabbed the step stool from the corner and scooted it toward the window “yep. She’s been parked out there way too long. I gotta run change into my play clothes then I’ll come help ya.” She ran from the kitchen before she could see her daddy shake his head and roll his eyes. He knew she meant well but she was like a bull in a china cabinet around anything mechanical. He walked out the door and onto the driveway where the old Dodge pick-up sat looking forlorn. He grabbed his tool box and noticed he was missing a screw driver or two. He made a mental note to check the plug covers in the house. Gladys had a tendency to screw and unscrew the covers from the wall. He grabbed a wrench and wiggled under the sturdy old truck.

Gladys hit the door running “I’m ready Daddy. What can I get you? Do you need a wrench? What size? Hey can I screw in the screws?” Trooper Bob jumped as she crawled in the cab and hit the horn. “Honey, can you go get me that left handed henway?” Now Gladys had been working on the old truck with her dad for several months and she had fetched hammers, tape, wire, wrenches, ratchets and washers but to her knowledge she had never fetched a henway. Gladys crawled under the truck got right in her daddy’s face and said “what’s a henway?” Trooper Bob bit back a snort and replied “oh a good one is about 6 pounds.” Gladys sat for a moment then he saw the light go on over her head “DAAAAAADDDEEEEEEE”. Bob finished replacing the oil plug and crawled out from under the truck “go get me that oil over there. We will fill this baby up then take her for a spin.” Gladys ran as fast as her PF Flyers would take her and grabbed the cans of oil. She lugged each one over to the truck and went back for the spout “okay Daddy, I got it all. Fill her up I want to drive.”

Once the Dodge was juiced up Gladys jumped on the big springy bench seat and planted herself squarely behind the steering wheel. “Scooch over Peewee” Bob told her as he climbed in the driver’s seat. “But you said I could drive” Gladys whined. “You can but I got to get it started up and work the pedals. You can’t see over the dash sitting on my lap much less work the pedals and see to drive.” Gladys knew he was right and relinquished her position. Bob fiddled and fussed and pumped the gas until finally the old engine roared to life. Gladys studied every move her daddy made knowing she would mimic each move. She watched as he moved the shifter from one position to the next and looked over his shoulder as he backed. She watched how he steered with the ball that was attached to the wheel, the one he called the suicide ball. She watched as he worked the foot pedals and glanced from mirror to mirror. She was ready. She could do this.

Trooper Bob stopped at the stop sign and signaled for Gladys to crawl over. She planted herself in her daddy’s lap and grabbed hold of the shifter. She nodded as he depressed the clutch and she moved it into first gear. She put one hand on the wheel and the other on the suicide knob as they eased into the intersection and she pulled the wheel to the right with all her might. The wheel barely moved. She grabbed the wheel with both hands and pulled with all her weight and still it barely moved. Then she took and deep breath and tried once again. Magically it began to turn. She thought it was from the extra muscles she was using then she saw that her daddy had helped her a little. She felt royal sitting up high in the old truck as they cruised down the road. She drove up and down the streets turning left and then right always with a little help from her daddy. “Hey we need to go pick up Matilda from the school. You wanna drive over there” Trooper Bob asked. Gladys looked up at him and replied “shoot yeah! Matilda will be so jealous that I’m drivin.”

They eased up to the school. “Just park right on over there in front of the school” Trooper Bob told Gladys as if she were the one really driving. Gladys held on to the wheel and turned and pulled and parked that Dodge truck right in front of the school house. She could see her sister and her sister’s best friend standing in the courtyard “Daddy, there she is. Can I honk the horn?” Trooper Bob saw Matilda look towards the truck and then away. “Sure go ahead. Maybe she doesn’t see us.” Gladys laid down on that horn and everyone in the school yard turned to look. Matilda looked stricken. She was red faced and began to run away from the truck. “Daddy, where is she going? I know she saw us. I’ll honk again just in case.” Once again Gladys pushed on the horn and allowed it to admit its obnoxious call. Matilda was nowhere to be seen now. Gladys was perplexed. Then she saw Matilda heading away from the school to the Park down the street. “Look Daddy there she is. She is going to the Park.” Bob started the truck and Gladys shifted into first gear the two of them working as a team putted down to the park.

There standing to the side was Matilda. She looked both ways then jumped in the truck. “Look Daddy let me drive all the way over here. Why did you run away when you saw us? Didn’t you know when you honk you’re supposed to come? Why is your face so red? Have you been runnin or something? Hey look see this thing right here? It’s called a suicide knob. Oh and see this the “R” means race and the “1” means slow and the “P”, well I don’t know what the “P” means but I got to drive. Hey can you look in the glove box and hand me that henway” Gladys said all in one breath. “Shut up” Matilda hissed “I have never been so embarrassed in my whole life. Everybody is going to think we are some kind of hillbilly or something. I can’t believe you picked me up in this nasty ugly old truck. I could have just died. DIED! Right there in the courtyard of Taylor Elementary School! DIED!” She sat back in the seat arms crossed seething.

Gladys looked at her daddy and then at her sister “what are you talking about? This truck in neato keen. It is just a little rough around the edges. You just wait until we get her painted up. She’ll be brand spankin new. What do you mean hillbillies? Like the Beverly Hillbillies? Movie stars…swimming pools, the next thing you know old Jed’s a millionaire, kin folks say Jed Move away from there.” Matilda started to get her color back as she watched her annoying little sister bounce up and down “Hey how come YOU get to drive” she asked. Gladys smiled “cause I helped Daddy fix his truck. I git to drive. Now can you git me that henway from the glove compartment? I can’t I’m busy driving.” Trooper Bob just watched as the older of the girls started rummaging through the glove compartment. Matilda removed papers and napkins and some little monkeys that they put on the side of your coke down at Kim’s Circus Drive-In. “What the heck’s a henway” she finally asked. That’s when Gladys and Trooper Bob said in unison “about 6 pounds.”


RA said...

Brilliant! So vivid I could have touched the henway. :)

Brian Miller said...

ha. fun story today gladys...happy tt!

Betsy said...

cute story!

my dad was a cop. when he would get home I'd ask if he shot anybody that day. LOL!

Matty said...

He was a patient man. I'm guessing that Trooper Bob is your dad. A nice twist to the park theme.

Francisca said...

What a creative take on the theme, Gladys. Fun to read.

Jingle said...

what a inventive one.

Baino said...

Haha I do really like these. One of the benefits of being a Saturday surfer is I have time to read them. Sending an apprentice for a left handed hammer is a prize tradies trick here. Although I don't think too many fall for it these days. Loved the punch line too, didn't see that one comin'