In my daily pursuit of pertinent trucking news, I read an interesting article on kids who have blankies, and what it’s supposed to mean about them as people in general. Because that’s totally trucking related, and I never get sidetracked.
Anyway, the article was kind of fascinating, because I related to it. I had a “mousie” when I was a kid. My Granny Benton made it for me out of scraps from a purple velvet dress she sewed for a customer. Granny was a seamstress, and I spent many hours of my childhood sitting underneath the cutting table (which was also the kitchen table) with my cousin Che’ Boy, listening to her shears crunch through fabric like monster jaws. I can’t even describe to you how much I’d give to go back and sit with Che’ Boy one more time — he left us a long time ago, and the memories I have of him are some of the best in my life. I also got one of the worst fly-swatter whippings of my life for touching those shears once. Only once. Fabric shears are tools, not toys, and cutting paper with them is a flat out sin. Remember that, because I sure as hell do.
Y’all see how I get off track, here? Sheesh … let’s move on.
Mousie almost got my poor daddy killed on I-75, right outside of Forsyth, Ga., once, and if you happen to be the trucker who slammed on brakes to avoid him, I appreciate you and your cat-like reflexes more than you’ll ever know.
We were traveling from Atlanta to Warner Robins to visit Granny Benton. I was in the backseat, probably unrestrained, because it was 1972 and the gubmint didn’t own and dictate every single aspect of our lives yet. The windows were down all the way and I was hanging Mousie out the driver’s side, letting him joyously flap in the wind. We were a Pinto pirate ship, flying the flag of Mousie, and about the time my daddy got the words, “If you drop it, I’m not going back for it,” out of his mouth, Mousie flew away, into the jungle of Friday afternoon I-75 Southbound traffic.
My mom was more distressed than I was.
“Rex, you have to stop the car and get it.”
My dad was like, “Uh, hell no.”
I then realized the implications of Mousie flying away. The immediate pain can only be described as nails on the chalkboard of my four-year-old soul. My wail could be heard like a siren — people were pulling to the right as we drove by them.
My mom was growing more distressed by the second.
“Rex. You. Have. To. Stop. And get it.”
My dad was more pissed off than I had ever seen him. He pulled the car off to the side of the road and stomped his way back in the breakdown lane, until he was just a tiny speck in the rear view. My mom and I were oddly silent while we watched the speck dodge traffic to retrieve Mousie. and even quieter when he lobbed it into the car like a Molotov cocktail and followed it in with a very loud door slam.
We didn’t talk much for the rest of the trip, and Mousie definitely never flew out the window again. While we were visiting Granny, daddy had her make a “back-up” Mousie, just in case he wasn’t willing to risk his life for it again. “Other Mousie” was made of polyester and didn’t smell like snot and tears, so I really hated him, and took care of “Original Mousie” a lot better after he was made.
I was totally going somewhere else with this when I started this story, but I guess this is where we ended up. Although it’s not directly trucking related, I can distinctly remember the air horns when my dad ran out into the road, and every single time we pass that stretch of highway I think of him, so I guess this qualifies as “stories from the road.”
Be safe out there – and keep an eye out for marauding fathers saving Mousies and blankets. (Like you need one more thing to watch out for…)