By Kerry Elizabeth Blickenderfer-Black on 9 November, 2013
While driving on Freeport Road in Russelton, PA, James passed a wood grain and olive green Ford Station Wagon, circa 1973. It was running oil rich, with a blackish exhaust familiar to any who drove the vehicle. The sight made James recall an earlier time when he was known as Jimmy.
He drove in the way back of his Uncle Paul’s vehicle, unrestrained by seatbelt or protective driver’s arm, with his cousins, Jenny, little Paul, and baby T. One time, the three elder kids, purely in the interest of enriching their young minds, experimented with how much they could fit inside of baby T’s diaper. It was remarkable how many army men a cloth diaper on an exceedingly patient toddler would hold.
They all got into trouble for their investigation into the physics of diapering, but Paul’s punishment was the harshest. His mother was the eldest in her family, and she felt that it was her duty to ensure a well-mannered, respectful, and obedient child to set a good example for the other children in the family and to determine her superior parenting skills. So, Paul was expected to be above all of the petty, childish pursuits akin to a full childhood.
The problem was, Paul had a zest for devilment, and when freed from his mother’s hawk-like gaze, such as in the way back of the station wagon, he indulged in it with great finesse.
Plans were hatched, with Paul’s mischievous mind encouraged by his cousins’ enthusiasm, for unchaperoned biking expeditions or night time rendezvous from this automotive post, all the while waving to the drivers of the cars behind them. The kids discovered that if they made the correct motions, aping the movements of the big rig truckers, the truck drivers would often sound their loud horns. This so delighted the youngsters that they would high five each other while whooping their pleasure.
The best part of using the posterior of the station wagon for their dreaming and scheming was there was no need to whisper, since the road and car noises effectively masked their voices. Also, the parents felt in control of them due to proximity, unaware of the potential rule-breaking their progeny explored while under their distracted care.
The kids did not engage in illegal activities, and they were, in truth, imaginative and good. Theirs were only mildly defiant acts of youthful exploration and boundary testing. They all inspired within each other, through good-natured competitiveness, greater achievements academically and, eventually, in their careers.
James smiled at the retreating image of the station wagon that recalled such musing. He decided to telephone his cousins when he reached his Brackenridge home.