Today I am thinking of my childhood mother which is of course the same woman who now sits silently in my house in her fancy box on my glass table.
I am remembering how one day Mom piles all 6 of us little kids into our 1950’s station wagon and we drive to the Cash Grocery Store to shop.
When we are finished, we all scramble back into the car and Mom backs out of the parking spot. But, something unusual happens.
There is a loud ripping, clunking, banging sound as the car lifts off the ground and up into the air, pauses then smacks itself down on the ground, again with a BAM!
As usual, Mother notices nothing. She keeps backing out, turns the nose of the car to the street and ambles it out onto the road.
I’m screaming, ‘Mommy, Mommy, you ran over something big!’
Mom doesn’t notice a thing which is her nature.
She ignores my screaming. She ignores me and the incident because she lives Some Where Else in her life and I do not know where that Some Where is. It must be a very pleasant place because Mother likes to live there, rather than in the ‘real world.’
As we drive down main street I am draped over the back seat looking out the rear window. I see the car draining something dark and liquid along the road behind us.
“Mommy, Mommy! Something is running out of the car. All over the road!”
I won’t shut up so Mom heads to Mr. Burgett’s gas station. As we pull up Mr. Burgett runs out to meet us. He is a friend of the family and I think he thinks my mother is beautiful. Which she is.
He’s grinning and saying, ‘Nice to see you, Margaret!”
Mom says, “Venus says there is something running out of our car.”
I’m yelling, “Mommy ran over a really big something at the Cash Grocery, Mr. Burgett. She backed right over it.”
My mother demurs.
“Well, let’s just take a look here,” says Mr. Burgett jovially. “If your Mother didn’t notice it, I’m sure it can’t be too bad.”
Mr. Burgett is on the passenger side of the station wagon and he bends way down and sticks his head under the car.
I hear something muffled, like, “jesus ….christ….”
Mr. Burgett slowly lifts himself up and he’s hanging his upper body weight on his forearms on the open car window. He has a strange look on his face. All the lines on his cheeks are hanging down like a broken clothesline.
He is looking at my mother when he says,
“Margaret, you’ve ripped the oil pan clean off the car…didn’t you even notice? You must have run over the concrete block in the parking spot?”
No, Mr. Burgett, Margaret didn’t notice. It’s why I as the oldest child have had to become so responsible when she is driving.
All grown up now, I am thinking about this long ago event in my childhood when I pull into the modern day post office in my town; the same town I grew up in, just up the street from Burgett’s long gone gas station.
And what is there in the parking lot? Something I have never seen here before. A long vintage 1950’s station wagon! Eeeh gads, it’s my mother! I bet she’s in the post office!
She’s been ‘found’ and she is leaving me messages from The Other Side!
I think she is even laughing about how I blanched and hollered the other day when her ashes disappeared from the glass table in my house. I think she loved the look on my face.
I’m wondering if she’s now a better driver in the After World or if she’s just as inattentive?
Actually, she wouldn’t be driving, would she? Just be using her wings, I’d think.