During my little hiatus, I said I'd tell the story of my mother pushing an SUV. I think it's worth telling, so here it is.
For anyone who doesn't know my mom, she is a teeny tiny sweet little lady with a tremulous soprano voice who has a propensity to get herself into odd situations.
There was the time she was visiting at our former house, which was in a horrible neighborhood, and she locked herself out while we were at work. Instead of walking half a block down the street to the nursing home there to call my dad, she went across the street to the second worst house on the block (the worst was the meth lab next door to it--this one was closer). She picked the house with some windows boarded up, sheets hanging in the others, and Corona bottles littering the porch. The house where they set a mattress on fire and threw it out in the front yard. So, she decided to stop in and ask if she could use their phone. She did end up having to use the nursing home's phone anyway because, "the men in that house couldn't speak any English, and the numbers were all rubbed off their phone. It was so strange. I wonder how they use it on a regular basis?"
Then there was the time she inadvertently ate at Hooters. She called me, shocked. "It was dreadful! Those poor women who work there!"
But I digress.
The girls and I spent one of our vacation days going over to Manga and Packa's to play. The day didn't start auspiciously; Elaine was upset about most everything--the sun was in her eyes, she didn't want her mittens on, Lucy was singing to songs in the car when she wanted to sing them, Lucy was breathing the same air she was breathing, etc. etc.
"Boy, Mom, Elaine is sure a grouch. She must have got up on the wrong side of the bed today," Lucy said cheerfully.
"I am not a grouch on the bed!" roared Elaine.
And so on.
We finally got to my parents (relief!), and things got happier. Mid-morning, my mom bundled both girls up and headed out for some fresh air. Their destination was the mailbox downtown. Roundtrip, this adventure, including walking with small children who look for treasures along the way, should take maybe 45 minutes.
Well over an hour had passed. "I wonder where Mom and the girls are?" I said to my dad.
"Oh, you know Manga. They could be gone for ages," he replied.
More time passed. I was getting a little worried now. This is a town of 4,000 people. There's not much going on. Where in the world could they be?
"Look," Dad said. "I see three figures dragging up the driveway. You better put the kettle on for tea."
They all came in, rosy and tired and ready for lunch.
"We had an adventure!" said Lucy.
"Oh, brother," said my dad.
"Well," my mom began, "We were walking down a side street. And we saw a lady who had driven her car halfway up a snowbank, and the other half was on a patch of ice. She saw us coming, and she asked me to push her car."
"She WHAT?" my dad exploded. "Who was this creature?" (Except, if you know my dad, he didn't use the word "creature.")
"Just a woman," my mom answered, her story interrupted. "Anyway, I tried to push it..."
"What kind of car was this?" my dad burst in again. "And how old was this dame?" (always striving to be politically correct)
"An SUV, and oh, I don't know," she answered vaguely. "40 or 50 or 60 or something."
"Wait a minute," I stepped in. "Some moron drove her car on a snowbank, and then she saw a little 75-year-old lady with arthritis and osteoporosis walk by with her two granddaughters and thought you'd be perfect to push her SUV?"
"Oh, Alice," she said, as she has said for the past 39 years.
"So, I tried that, but it didn't work [oh, surprise!] so then she got me a shovel and thought I could chip away at the ice with it. But that didn't work either, so the girls and I gathered some leaves and tried to put them down on the ice for traction. "
My dad and I both continued to sputter, inarticulately at this point.
She continued, "Fortunately after awhile, a man came by, and let me tell you, that woman was glad to see him. But he had a big dog with him, and he said he couldn't leave the dog, so then the woman asked me to hold the dog while he helped her."
"Where does this woman live?" asked my dad, barely able to contain himself.
"What kind of dog was it?" I demanded. "Probably a pit bull."
She wisely refrained from answering either of these excellent questions and went on.
"I had the girls stand away from all this underneath a tree. They were just as good as gold the whole time, and they were never in any danger whatsoever. Well, Elaine kept wanting to pet the dog, but I didn't let her."
"Because he might have snipped her," chimed in Lucy.
"I love doggies!" exclaimed Elaine.
"I bet it was a pit bull," I said.
"Our neighbor was just mauled by one of those things," my dad added. "Do you see why I don't want your mother out without supervision?"
"Mommy doesn't even let us talk about pit bulls," added Lucy helpfully, putting more toast in her mouth.
"Doggies, doggies, doggies," shrieked Elaine joyfully.
Mom could sense the whole situation slipping away from her.
"After I held onto that dog awhile, I finally just said, 'Look, I have my two granddaughters here, and I really have to get home.' So I gave the dog back, collected the girls, and came home without looking back."
"You looked back a little bit, Manga," said Lucy.
My dad sat with his head in his hands.
So, there's the story of my mom pushing the SUV.
I guess the girls can never say they got bored with Grandma.
At least she didn't take them to Hooters.