My oldest son is 15, and absolutely needs eight thousand five hundred and twenty six hours of driving experience before he is eligible for a driver's license. So we decided on making a special trip to Arthur so he could rack up some hours. I weighed the pros and cons: the pros are that we would able to take back-roads if necessary, It’s good practice for navigating amongst slow moving objects, and we would be whittling away a decent size chunk of driving hours. The con’s? I knew of no con’s.
The plan was to get up early and go, we would be back before lunch. Well, I got up early, and enjoyed the piece and quiet a little too long. Soon it was nine, my wife and her dog were up, and the boys had somehow eluded my notice and had zombied down into the game-land. I might as well go with the flow, so I had one more can of tea and read about some injustice everybody would forget about by the afternoon. I had noticed the dog (a Jack Russell) staring at me, and had resisted its mind control tricks, but my wife was easily put under the spell. Soon enough the dog taking us on a walk to the park, not just any park but one with a small bit forest because that is what she demanded.
Trotting through the woods, peeing here and there, she had a grand time. The river was up and the bottom flooded, making our regular path inaccessible. We diverted to look for morel mushrooms — her favorite activity. Those things hide so well they could’ve been all around me and I wouldn’t have seen one, but I did find some neat bug eggs. Wait, wrong day.
The dog nearly had us under its spell when boy number two had some late breaking news about a Saturday track practice at nine thirty. Whipped up and got everything together in hopes we could take off right after, but Boy no 1, our driver, was not ready at all. So we left him with instructions to be ready on our return. At the track there seemed to be no one around, but # 2 said he was OK, so the dog went on her walk with us in tow. A fine sunny day for a walk just a slight breeze, then we turned a corner and a gust stopped us in mid step. The wind was howling through the trees, playing a tune through the power lines, plastering garbage against on anything substantial. I was worried a tree would take us out, or worse a power line would snap, or worse a used diaper would find a way to invade my personal space. We had already had a good walk, and the Jack Russell was pooped out, so we started back early to the track. On arrival, no one was there. no kid. no coach. nothing. We hadn’t even been gone that long. Finally after finding # 2 at grandma’s, we learned it was a no coach practice. I’m sure what the heck was up, but at least were were on our way to pick up boy 1 at home and have him chauffeur us to the transcendent land of Amish.
Walked in and #1 was putting on socks, and broke the news his driver's permit was missing. Then it came out it had been missing for a week. Dark times were had. lots of stomping and yelling. punishments would be forthcoming, but the severity was unexpected. They would both have to accompany us on a trip to Arthur in the heart of Amish country. Ha, best one we came up with yet.
Put the peddle to the metal at the crack of noon, damn the lunch and full speed ahead, give me locomotion or give me food; with the wind to our backs, my wife drove like she was late to soccer game. Going through the dust squalls on that bright windy day made feel like I was driving into an apocalypse warmed by the glow of continually detonated H - bomb. Our prisoners in back dared to utter “are we there yet”, good lord, did they know what they were doing in antagonizing the possessed in the drivers seat. I could’ve said “why don’t pull over and let me drive” or even better, we could stop for a treat then I could take over the driving duties while she was preoccupied. But no, we were making good time, and there is a lot of nothing along our route. Then bam! A traffic jam composed of horse and buggy’s, and she had to slow down to negative twenty. The usual black box buggy, (I’m not sure of the nomenclature) was dominant. Three teens on a wagon with pneumatic tires and comfy lawn chairs as seats, were the only buggy deviation I saw. Dodging around the black box’s to our first stop at a grocery type place that made sandwiches, the Geneva conventions dictated we needed to give them food, and I don’t want any problems with the Genevanars.
The grocery was a metal shed with goat-view parking. Had the usual mix of apple butter, grains, and new age supplements. The deli was what we were looking for though. I ordered my ham salad sandwich on whole wheat, and moseyed on over to get my apple cider slushy, while the warden handled the inmates nutrition request. One always orders Turkey, lettuce onions, tomato, on white bread — toasted: “sorry we don’t toast the bread”. Of course, the Amish would have to fire up the grill or use a solar oven to toast bread, excellent our punishment was severe. It took a long time to make four sandwiches and a milk shake. Number one said she would put on an ingredient then pause and smile thoughtfully at it, spreading the mayonnaise was a low level religious epiphany. The slow pace also had the added effect of giving us more time to shop, and soon the check counter was full. The lady working the checkout had to ring a bell for reinforcements. There’s no place inside to eat so we scurried out to the car through the gale force winds. Mine was just ham salad with iceberg lettuce on bread, and I can’t account what made it so great, but the sandwiches were excellent. My whole wheat bread was white, you know they can make white whole wheat, and the prisoners white bread was glowing, they couldn’t get over how good it was. Moods were lifted. Personally I think it was watching the goats play while we ate, that made it all so good. The inmates claim it was fantastic because the sandwiches were made with love. I really can’t account for it. Supernatural.
Second stop was a pill store. Supplements, really. I was after black cherry juice and some witch doctor stuff. I took nothing but came out of the place feeling less substantial.
Third stop was the salvage store, and we loaded up on deals we didn’t know we even needed. One of the back seat people got an out of date Twinkie. He never had one, tasted it, and pronounced it awful. It was probably not made with love. A bottle of special mustard was dropped and broke open. Stunk up the place and caused havoc. I bet they were glad to see us fight through the wind to put our plunder in the trunk.
I’m not sure why but the wind, is really tiring. Maybe it’s fighting the doors, or the mostly unconscious effort to stay upright. It could be improper breathing: In excessively windy circumstances your breath can literally be taken away. The Venture effect sucking the air right out of you. So you skip breaths and then make up for it with a big one every so often. The has to have an effect the body. Then there is the dust, I don’t even want to think what’s in it. In my youth I experienced what is called listener fatigue. After spending an hour or two in a high decibel environment, your mind tends to loose focus. The wind is constantly howling, and blowing around your ears could cause people to fry out sooner rather than later.
Fourth stop was a big place, found everything we needed and more, but by this time we were beat. I had forgot what the hell I was looking for, my wife remember too many things that she needed, and the parolees decided to stay in the car. Probably a good thing, our bill would been higher, and beef jerky would happened. I can’t believe I got out of there without any, just lucky I guess. Or not. It was still the biggest haul yet, and it was a squeeze putting all those yummy things in our trunk, but on the other hand, the two eating machines had lightened our load considerably while were were gone. It had gotten windier and gravel from the lot was pelting us and sandblasting our car, it was a good time to start the long drive back through the dust and wind. Worn out from doing nothing, and ready to take it easier, my couch was waiting. Wait I forgot, I planted potatoes, But that a whole other story.