A Road Trip With Pop
Driving anywhere with Pop was quite an adventure. The first trip I took with him was to the hospital because I had just gotten myself trampled by Charlie, the horse from down at the dairy. I used to ride Danny, the Shetland pony all the time, and I had just finished riding him, took off the saddle, walked him around until he cooled off, and then left, leaving the corral gate open. Naturally, Danny and Charlie bolted out of the open gate and took off. I grabbed a rope and went out to catch the two idiots and return them to the farm. I got a hold of Danny quite easily, but Charlie was having none of it and decided the best was to insure his continued freedom was to run at me full speed and trample me. He broke two of my ribs and my Mom ran over to Pop and had him drive me to the hospital.
It was a great trip, Pop driving, me in the middle, and my Mom riding shotgun. We were regaled with Pop’s constant comments to other drivers, pointing out their inadequacies in negotiating the highway. I was stunned at the lack of swear words in Pop's comments, until I realized he had cleaned up his language because my mom was in the truck. When we got to the hospital, I had to stay overnight, and they put this girdle around my chest. When I went home, I had to restrict my movements and stay in bed a lot. I did quite a bit of reading during that time, although I was sorely disappointed when my Mom gave me the Hunchback of Notre Dame to read and when it turned out not to be about a football player for Notre Dame, I was quite upset. Much later in my life, I did an imitation of Quasimodo when I was staying at my brother’s house. His wife had just answered the door and while talking to a neighbor through the screen door, I stuffed a t-shirt into a ball under my shirt to make an artificial hump, and was hopping around behind my sister in law, muttering and groaning. My sister in law ignored me and the lady she was talking to looked at me in horror. I don’t think she had a close friendship with my brother’s wife after that visit.
On the other hand, fishing trips with Pop were the greatest. We would get up early, put the aluminum boat on the back of the truck, load up the poles and can of worms, and off we would go. We barely made it down our road to the main highway before Pop let loose with a stream of swear words that my friends and I would later test out on the school playground with great delight. “Look at that imbecile, his mother’s probably infected with syphilis, mated with a moron, and that is their spawn. God help us. He’ll probably be elected to some high office in Washington and impregnate his entire staff, insuring a line of idiots for generations to come.” I looked out the window at the object of Pop’s derision, a meek looking gentleman wearing glasses and a suit and tie, on his way to work. I wondered at Pop’s ability to quickly read past the guy’s outward appearance and know he was not what he appeared to be- a normal guy on his way to work. However, after looking at the guy, I doubted that his wife was anyone you would want to spend the rest of your life with, unless, as Pop used to say, she was rich bitch.
Pop always wore bib overall and I never wore shoes. We would be driving down the highway, the smoke from my corncob pipe pouring out one side of the truck, and a steady stream of tobacco juice flooding out of Pop’s side.