Firing from the Lip

A collection of thoughts, stories, tall tales, half truths and opinions from the Heartland of America.

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Location: Missouri, United States

An irreverent but loving grandfather of five and father of three, I enjoy writing of family, love, life, and the never ending fascination of it all.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Take His Keys!

This is a little tale of my mother and I when I was a teenager.

My mother was deathly afraid of going fast in a car. Why I don’t know, it just kind of went along with her fear of everything. When I say ‘fast’, I mean over 20 mph. My poor Dad would putt along in his old Dodge with traffic lined up for three blocks behind them, flashing their lights and honking their horns. I don’t know how he did it. I couldn’t, as this little tale shows.
We were working in the shop getting a car ready to paint. It was hot and I wanted to be anywhere but where I was. Pop would just look at me and chuckle, ‘what’s the matter Luke?’ ‘You don’t feel like working today?’ I just stared at him and didn’t say a word. I wasn’t telling him the girl I was dating wanted to go swimming and was mad because I couldn’t go. ‘I don’t know why you have to work?’ ‘None of the other boys are working, maybe one of them would like to be with me?’ Go for it! I hope you both drown. I was not in a good mood.
About this time, Mom stuck her head in the door and yelled ‘Bill’ at the top of her lungs. It didn’t matter that Pop and I were only ten feet away, I guess she wanted be sure she was heard. She was heard all right, I think old Mr. Womack across the road heard her. Mom had a voice that Grandma said, ‘carried’, it sure did. You could hear that woman for five blocks when she yelled, and she yelled a lot.
‘I need to go to Pop N’ Quik, Bill.’ Pop N’ Quik was a little country store about 2 miles from our house. Pop looked up and said, ‘damn Mary, I’m busy, I’ll have the boy take you.’ ‘What?! Me?! Awww, I don’t want to take Mom! She’ll drive me nuts! ‘Slow down, you’re going too fast!’ Hell, I ain’t even out of the driveway yet! Well, as usual Pop won and I headed for the car with Mom chattering all the way. ‘You better not go fast, I’m telling you now, I’ll have Dad take your keys if you don’t drive just like I tell you.’ ‘Yes mom, I’ll go 2 miles an hour, just like you want.’ I knew this was going to suck.
We hopped in my 1969 Plymouth GTX and took off. The GTX had a blown, balanced, and blueprinted 440 Magnum engine. It got 6 mpg highway, 3 city, and it ran like a scalded dog. That old car shook when it idled from the power and it did not like to barely move. It was hard on it you see, to dog it around. Made carbon build up and it didn’t run right at less than full throttle. I made it to 15 mph before Mom started talking, ‘I told you not to go fast!’ ‘Fast? I’m barely moving!’ ‘You better slow down boy, or you’re gonna’ be walking wherever you go!’ Ohh, I knew this was gonna’ suck! Well, I slowed down and we were chugging along at about 10 miles an hour when a tractor trailer got right on my bumper. I looked in the mirror and all I could see was grill. I thought ‘oh boy, this ain’t good’ and I sped up a little to get him off me. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I didn’t tell you to speed up boy!’ ‘Mom, there’s a big truck right behind us, if I go your speed he’s gonna’ hit me!’
I was going 25 mph by this time, and Mom was going berserk! ‘Slow down!’ ‘That’s it, your keys are gone when we get home.’ ‘Do what?’ ‘Why?’ ‘For going fast when I told you not too!’ Fast huh, fine, you want my keys for going fast do you? Well By God, let’s go fast. I decided I wasn’t going to Pop N’ Quik! I was going home and I was going express! I hit the floor with the accelerator and that old GTX came to life! We hit the parking lot of that old store, and I spun the damn car around and went right back up the road, with poor Mom screaming her head off. We hit our road at 105 miles an hour and I was going for more. Mom had her nails dug into the dashboard and was still screaming. I gave that car all it had, and didn’t slow down until I slid it sideways into Mom and Dads front yard.
Mom was running around the car with her arms in the air, still screaming, when Pop came to see what was going on. ‘Take his keys, take his keys!’ Pop said, ‘Donnie? What the hell?’ I told him the whole story and tossed him my keys. ‘I can’t go 5 mph, I ain’t ever taking that woman anywhere again, and I ain’t sanding no damn car today neither!’ ‘Don’t get too full of yourself boy.’ Mom was in the house by this time, calling down every curse she could think of on my fool head.
My Pop looked at the house, listening to Mom, then looked back at me. ‘So, how’d she take it when you floored that thing?’ ‘Not good, I thought she was gonna’ jump out!’ ‘Luke, you know better than that.’ ‘Yes sir I do, but Pop, she was driving me nuts.’ ‘Hell boy, I’ve been there! I have to take her everywhere!’ My Dad started laughing, and said ‘you best get your ass in the shop, where I can protect you when she comes calling, and she will when she calms down.’ Made sense to me, and I decided I’d better do what Dad said, seeing as how I’d pushed my luck enough for one day.
A few minutes later my Mom charged into the shop with a flyswatter, and she wasn’t hunting flies neither. My Dad laughed his butt off while she wore me out with that flyswatter. I was laughing too, I couldn’t help it! Poor Mom smacked me with every word! ‘If you ever do that again I’ll kill you in your sleep!’ I was 17 when this happened. My mom never rode with me again, if she could help it.


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