Sunday, June 14, 2009
Wave The Flags Today
Can you remember what you did exactly 40 years ago? I can, at about 4 pm on Saturday, June 14th, 1969, I called my father-in-law and begged him to come get Jim, who was far from being a Geezer then, and me and take us for a ride. At the time we were without a car and living in my old room at my parents house.
There was nothing wrong with that. We all got along great and the arrangement worked out well for all of us since Mom had been sick that Spring and I could be there with her. Jim, who was still a senior in college, had been laid off at the plant where he'd been working the graveyard shift so we were pretty strapped. I had to quit my waitress's job when my uniform wouldn't fit anymore, thanks to the presence of our first child.
That presence is why I know exactly what I was doing that evening. I was escaping all of the hopeful looks and incessant "Any contractions yet?" directed at me from my entire family. You see Flag Day, June 14th is Old Newsie's birthday. It is also my brother Denis's birthday. He was serving in Viet nam at that time. And Dr. Buoni had proclaimed Flag Day, my baby's due date, much to the delight of the soon to be grandparents, great grandparents and everyone else. Wouldn't it be great if the first grandchild is born on their birthday? The pressure all day had been difficult to cope with along with the muggy New England afternoon.
So my late in laws did just what I asked. Mom#2 called back a few minutes later and suggested to Jim that the four of us go for a ride to cool off a bit. Jim was just as relieved at the idea as I was, and soon his Mom and Dad arrived to spirit us away. Not that we got off scott free, I can still hear my Dad's voice saying call me if anything happens. I can also see my Mom laughing and winking at me.
Once we got on the road, Dad2 discovered just how devious I could be. When he drove off toward Clarksburg, I secretly cheered. I guessed they planned to go to Donna's Dairy Bar, a favorite ice cream stand. What they didn't know was that the road was closed just before we would get there. But I knew a back road.
When we got to the road closed sign I pointed to an hidden lane that came out almost across the street from the Ice cream stand. I knew this because I'd ridden a bike on it with a friend back in high school
Once committed to the narrow road, Dad watched me in his rear view mirror as the potholes grew more frequent and the bumps and frost heaves rougher. Jim's Mom suddenly became convinced that I would decide to give birth out in the middle of nowhere and began chastising my poor Dad2 and insisting he turn around- a impossible action on that one lane route. Jim was alternately glaring at me or looking very nervous. Dad2 however, just kept watching me with a twinkle in his eye- he knew I'd planned this washboard ride from the moment I'd called him.
It really wasn't more than a couple of miles of what had actually been an ancient Indian trail. It passed some very pretty farms and then, as promised, delivered us to Donna's Dairy Bar. Mom2 told me she would order me a chicken sandwich and a glass of milk while I was in the bathroom. As I headed for the loo, I told the woman behind the counter "No matter what they order for me, I want a cheeseburger and a large Strawberry shake." She grinned and asked me when I was due. "Today- and this diet is over!"
I got back to the table just as she brought the food. When they saw what I'd done, Dad2 just laughed and told the waitress, "Bring her a cup of whipped cream and two cherries."
When midnight arrived, there had been no birthday baby for Denis and Dad#1. I've always been grateful to Jim's father for helping me try to make wishes come true, in spite of what it might have done to the suspension on his car.
Tomorrow, this saga continues because you see that year June 15th was Father's Day!
Today, however, I just want to say Happy Birthday to Old Newsie and Brother Denis. May all your wishes come true this time.