I'm loving this chilly weather! The leaves are just about all off the trees, the sun is coming up and the sky is clear. I can hear the chirps and twitters of birds out on the bird feeders as well as the traffic on Broadway. I've often wondered what it would be like to live so far out in the country that you don't hear the sounds of traffic each morning and evening (and all during the day).
This week was much more relaxing than the weeks have been. :) I've gotten to read which is so delightful. I had my last writing classes of the year on Wednesday. Yesterday I checked most of the papers and figured out grades for two classes. Mom and I have been cleaning out, organizing, rearranging and getting rid of things. Several rooms look so much better! And today I'm going to be doing those extra cleaning things that seldom get done, like cleaning the ceiling fans and lights, washing screens and things like that.
Writing: Ah yes. I have written. In fact, I finished the Christmas story I was working on and it is now on my proofer's desk. Then, inspired by a calendar picture that none of my older students chose, I began yet another Christmas story. I'm hoping to keep this one under 5,000 words. My last one was 7,000 words long! Yeah I know, that means 7 times to post it, so pay attention on the 30th. I'd like to get back in to some of my other longer stories, but not right now.
Here is the next part of the Thanksgiving story. I hope you all enjoy it.
My Best Thanksgiving - Part 4
Mrs. Peggy shook her head. “I’d feel better if it was someone else and that’s a fact.”
“All right. Someone will be here in a minute. You ready, Ray?”
I had pulled down those goggles, pulled up my bandana and nodded. I said a quick good bye to the old couple and then followed Lee back out into the dust.
I don’t care if someone did say the wind was abating; it didn’t seem like it at all, as I was practically blown across the road. Together Dad, Lee and I made our way back to the side door on the van and climbed in.
We were all coughing, but Dad and Lee were doing it the worst. Carol and Ginger quickly helped untie our bandanas while Mom opened bottles of water for each of us. That water sure tasted good, but it took a long time before all the grittiness was gone from my mouth.
Mom insisted she drive and Dad sank into the passenger seat still coughing some.
“You’re dirty!” Jason observed from the back.
I think we knew that. All I wanted then was a hot shower, and I’m sure Dad and Lee longed for that even more than I did. After all, they had been out in the storm a lot longer than I had.
Slowly Mom started off. She doesn’t usually like to drive the van when we are pulling the trailer, but this time she knew Dad was exhausted.
We stopped at a truck stop so the three of us could shower and change while Mom and the girls and Jason got the van cleaned up. The outside didn’t really matter, but the inside where we had sat was filthy.
Clean clothes had never felt better. Lee said he actually felt human again.
That night was spent in a hotel. We had two rooms, one for the girls and one for Mom and Dad and us three boys. I shared a bed with Jason. At least until I woke up freezing in the middle of the night. Jason had taken all the covers and had rolled so much in them that I couldn’t pull any back. He had also decided to sleep with his feet in my ribs. Finally I grabbed my pillow and, finding the extra blanket Lee hadn’t wanted for his roll-a-way, lay down in the little space between the bed and the wall.
I slept fine there but Mom got frightened in the morning because she didn’t see me and thought I had walked in my sleep.
Our second day of travel went much smoother than the first. Dad and Lee took turns driving. I used some of my paper to write down the license plates we saw. Carol used a few pieces to play games of tic-tac-toe with Emmy, and Ginger used some to draw pictures on and write down the story Vicki dictated to her. I wish I still had a copy of Vicki’s story because it was all about the dust storm and I remember it was rather good for a seven-year-old.
Wednesday morning Dad called Grandma and Grandpa to tell them we’d be much later than we had thought because of the delays. He said he didn’t know when we’d get in.
The trees along the way were gorgeous: flaming red, golden yellow, deep green and rustic brown. The sky was a deep blue with a few scattered clouds piled here and there. We made a game of imagining what the clouds looked like and then creating a story to go with them. When we stopped for breaks the air was brisk and invigorating. You know how it is when you have to ride in the car for hours, you want to run and explore. Well, since we were already later than we had hoped to be, Dad kept our breaks short but saw to it that we ran each time we got out of the van. We finished listening to the book on tape that we had brought and turned on the music.
It was mid afternoon when our next delay happened. Dad was driving and Mom was in the front too. Everyone else had been sleeping for a while when the van began to bump and jolt.
“Honey,” Mom said, “I think you’d better pull over.”
Dad had already slowed down and pulled off on the shoulder. It was a busy highway, so he turned his flashers on and got out on Mom’s side of the road.
A minute later he put his head in and announced, “Flat tire. Lee, how hard is it going to be to get the spare?
“Not long. I put it in the back of the trailer on the side.”
The younger three started to beg to get out and Mom sent Carol and Ginger to take them into the empty field to run off their energy. Jason especially needed to run. I stayed around to help get the tire out of the trailer. A police car pulled up behind us and then put some cones out to make the traffic move to the other lane since the flat was on the driver’s side.
Dad and Lee had some hard work getting the tire changed. The officer and I had some time to talk, and he even let me listen to some of the calls coming in over his radio and explained some things. Finally the tire was changed and the flat tire loaded in the trailer. Then Dad sent me to find Mom and the others. (Some time during the changing of the tire, Mom had strolled off across the field with the others.) It sure felt great to run.
Will you be back next week for the final part of this story?