Love always the moment!

Love always the moment!
Live Like someone left the door open! Credit, Martine Lemens via

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Henry XIII, Hardware Stores, and Gravel Roads...

My mom and dad never really argued when I was a kid...their disagreements usually took the form of a competition.  Here are a few examples: 

We'd be driving home in the car and they'd be talking like this: 

Dad: I'm telling you, Henry the eighth was a Plantagenet...
Mom: He was a Tudor...Different dynasty altogether...
Dad: No...
Mom: His last name was Tudor...
Dad: No, Honey, I realize he may have had a different last name, but it was all the same family.
Mom: No.
Dad: I'm right...
Mom: No you're not.  

As soon as the car would pull up in the driveway, Mom opened the door, hopped out of the car and started running toward the house.  "Confound it, Lynn!" Dad would mutter, pull the key out of the ignition and hurry towards the house himself.  
I usually followed behind laughing.  

When we got inside the house, Mom had already pulled the "H" Encyclopedia off the living room bookshelf and opened it to the appropriate page, "HA!  John, I WIN!!! Henry the Seventh and his descendants are all listed under the House of Tudor.  So there!" 

"Encyclopedia's wrong," Dad would mutter walking towards the kitchen. 
"Heh heh heh," Mom laughed under her breath.  

One of my favorite disagreements happened after I left home to go to grad school...I've gotten the gist of the conversation though.  They were at Lowe's buying supplies to fix the bathroom.  Dad did not want to do home maintenance that day and he was grumbling as they walked out of the store towards the parking lot.  

Mom: I don't understand why you're so unhappy, John.  I thought guys liked going to the hardware store.  

Dad: Common misconception, Lynn.  Women always say that hardware stores are for men, but that's not true...They're for women and their honey-do lists. 

(Dad was standing in the middle of the parking lot now while he was talking, two or three guys had stopped to listen to him) 

Dad: Hardware stores and home-improvement stores exist so that women can send their husbands to them on their days off when they would much rather be working with their hobbies or watching TV.  Trust me, hardware stores, like most of the rest of the shopping industry, are the invention of women for women. 

(By now a few more people had gathered around now and they started applauding loudly.  Mom just shook her head and walked away toward the car.)

Another one of my favorite contests was the video games...When I was a kid we had a ColecoVision video game set.  We had a bunch of the fun games: Venture, Dig Dug, etc. My parents really liked playing Q-Bert.  Q-Bert was serious business.   Mom and Dad would spend Sunday afternoons playing that stupid game so much I actually got tired of the "quip quip quip" noise those characters would make when they bounced on the cubes and even started rooting for the snakes that chased Q-Bert.  
My parents, on the other hand, would each practice while the other one was sleeping or at work and leave notes attached to the TV announcing the new high scores.  I don't remember who finally won the Q-Bert battle...I think it was a tie...

My parents also liked to race in their cars...I'm not talking about drag racing.  When I was about 12 years old, Mom and Dad both left for work around 1:30 pm in separate cars.  I would often go to work with Mom at the video store.  On their way to work, they would stop at the same gas station to fill up their car or buy something else.  It was always a race to see who got there first.  Dad would take the main high way, Mom would take a parallel gravel road a few miles south of the main highway...few police patrolled the road, so she tended to go a little faster than the speed limit...we always got to the gas station before Dad did and he could never figure out how...(Never try this at're about to find out why...)

One day we were going very fast down the gravel fast I mean at least 80 miles per hour.  "Your father can never figure out how we always get there so fast," Mom said laughing.  

Suddenly two ground squirrels ran out into the road and Mom swerved.  The car started to spin and we slid down into the ditch, still moving quickly.  I was screaming at the top of my lungs. Mom was silent wondering what we were going to hit first: A culvert or a telephone pole.  

Then all at once, we found ourselves up on the gravel road, moving in the right direction, going the speed limit.  Both of us had prayed a silent "Lord, help us" and God must have answered -- there was no other plausible explanation.  

That day, Dad beat us to the Gas station and Mom learned a lesson...beating your husband to the gas station isn't worth risking death...After that, Mom always went the speed limit...God had saved us once, she pointed out, but the Bible says not to tempt him...

Mom and Dad still compete and argue that way...Right now Mom wants a swimming pool and Dad's dead set against it...Who will win?  Only time will tell...

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