I shared this story a few years ago on my old, old blog. I was reading through some of them again and found this particularly entertaining, so I figured I would share it here.
When I was wee, we often drove to my uncle’s house in CT in the summertime. He lived on a lake (or something: pond? river?), and we’d always go out there for July 4th because he did fireworks over the water and took us out on his motor boat. This one time, a guy named Norm gave me a sip of his beer, but that’s neither here nor there and a different story altogether. The road that took us to Voluntown was very shadowed with bushes and trees that reached their thin, wispy, leaf covered limps right to the very edge of the road. I used to reach out the window to try to grab the big leaves, and my mother used to scream things at me, like “Do you want to get pulled out of a moving vehicle???”, “You’ll lose your arm!”, and my personal favorite: “Don’t think your father won’t pull this car over and leave you on the side of the road!”. But I didn’t care. They were always saying this last thing to me and my sisters when we were misbehaving in the car. A few times they pulled over or slowed down just to scare us, but they never made good on the abandonment threats. Besides, I just wanted to touch the leaves!
Alli, my younger sister, had this book with illustrations of dinosaurs showing us what not to do like take candy from strangers or walk across the road without an adult. It was called Dinosaurs Beware! (we had a lot of Dinosaur themed books as children). One of our favorite pages was the one where the baby Brontosaurus (it was still called that when I was wee) had stuck it’s head out the window and got it’s long neck stuck around a telephone pole as the car kept going. But seeing that poor extinct green cartoon juvenile in distress did nothing to deter me from what I wanted on the long, arduous, boring 30 minute drive.
And then one day it happened. My sometimes-secret efforts paid off! A leaf grazed my fingers in whip-like fashion where the break-down lane was nearly non-existent. I pulled my hand back in the car faster than the speed of light with one thought pumping through my blood from my brain to my extremities. I felt it in every fiber of my being, a feeling of elation so intense I thought it couldn’t be contained inside my tiny body:
VICTORY IS MINE!