Tuesday, March 19, 2013
#Slice 2013: 19 of 31- The Gift of Letting Me Live
During the month of March, I have been participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. I have started a new blog because this challenge has inspired me to work on my own creative writing. This post is part of a series about presents that I am working on, inspired by The Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed. My father had a serious accident eleven years ago and I have been trying to figure out a way to write about it ever since. I'm trying to through this series of memoirs about the gifts he has given me and my family members throughout our lives.
For other posts in the series, please head over totworeflectiveteachers.blogspot.com, which is where I began the series a few days ago.
I'm sure that when we think back to our childhoods, most of us can remember the times when our parents were really angry, especially if they didn't get angry often. I remember avoiding my father's hand when he groped around for a body in the back seat while he was driving since sometimes my brothers and I couldn't stop fighting. (One time, my brother was breathing on me and I punched him.) However, the maddest I ever saw my dad was when I was in sixth grade. In hindsight, I'm surprised he wasn't madder.
Cally White and I had been expecting a ride home from the local soccer field and the ride didn't come. We had been at practice and Tunxis Meade was almost four miles from my house so we were tired and only getting tireder as we walked home. After about two miles, Cally and I started daring each other to stick out our thumbs at passing cars. Really, we lived in a small town, so we were thinking that someone we knew would drive by, recognize us, and realize that walking home was not on our agenda. No one stopped. We kept walking and finally made it to my road.
"Try again," Cally said. "Here comes a car."
Just less than a mile from my house, I stuck out my thumb and a brown sedan slowed down and stopped a couple of hundred feet in front of us.
I'm sure that our eyes were wide and we really didn't know what to do. We had not expected anyone to stop and we were completely stunned that the car was unfamiliar.
"C'mon," Cally said. (Or maybe it was me...in hindsight, it's easier to blame her!) "We were hitching. We have to take the ride."
Together, we approached the waiting car and opened the back door. The man looked nice enough. If he wanted to take us far away and cut us into small pieces, wouldn't he have looked mean? Cally climbed in first and I got in behind her. I closed the door.
"You girls hitch-hiking?" he asked.
We nodded. He wanted to know where we had been and why we didn't have a ride home. Then, he dropped the bomb.
"You two are lucky," he said. "I'm actually an undercover policeman."
He drove us down the driveway, parked his car, and then walked across our backyard to where my father was working. He flashed his badge at my father as he introduced himself. Yes, flashed his badge, then went on to lecture my dad about leaving his kid at the soccer field across town and not teaching her about the dangers of hitch hiking.
I think on that day, my father's gift was allowing me to survive. I was grounded for a while--I don't remember how long but probably not long enough-- and Cally and I had a great story once we got over the embarrassment of it. Tonight, when I reminded my dad of that day, he didn't remember, but he definitely laughed. Good he let me live.
Enjoy your gifts,