HERE IT IS:
A NORMAL DAY IN THE LIFE
I looked up at my six-foot, four son standing outside my car door, staring down at me with a look mixed with concern, confusion, disbelief, but mostly love. At least, I thought it was love.
Standing there in his uniform, arms hanging limply at his side holding his ticket book, he was, after all, not a police officer stopping a lawbreaker, but suddenly stopping his mother. It was clear he was puzzled by my behavior. And perhaps a little upset. As his mother, I had repeatedly warned him over the years, of the dangers related to speeding while driving. Especially on icy, winter roads. I had not heeded my own advice.
I looked at him and found I had no words. What could I say that he would understand? What could I say that would explain all of this in less than five seconds? I needed to take off to catch that thief and get my purse back!
I took a deep breath, and said what most mothers say when the going gets tough. “You’d better go ask your dad!”
With that, I slammed the gear into drive and floored the accelerator. I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw my son standing there, still puzzled, probably in shock, but definitely looking indecisive. Thank heavens!
I sped three blocks before turning down a side street. I believed it was that street where I’d last seen the pick up turning off the main street. With no sirens following me, I sped on, slowing only at intersections to scope out the side streets for that darned pickup truck.
Soon, it was evident that I was leaving the city limits. The distances between homes were now filled with fenced land corralling horses and in some cases cattle. The street had turned into a narrow county highway that was straight and slightly hilly. As I neared the top of one hill, I saw a flash of that white pickup several hilltops ahead of me. Of course, I accelerated! I needed to catch that guy.
My mind was racing almost as fast as my little Ford Escape. What would I do when I caught that yellow beanie-wearing culprit? He wasn’t a big guy. I remembered that. But he was definitely wiry. Could I grab him and hold him? The little weasel. I got mad just thinking about him. He just needed someone to straighten him out. All of that was passing through my mind, when I found myself suddenly catching up to him. Either he had slowed down, or my speeding had surpassed my expectations. I really had to make a decision. I had no idea if he had a weapon. I certainly didn’t carry a gun. But then again, he didn’t know that.
Maybe I could bluff him. I think most women my age have experience with bluffing. We can run a bluff on a lot of things, number one being with our grand kids. “You stop that right now, or Grandma Josie will make you eat spinach for dinner!” I really wouldn’t do that, but I can make it sound like I mean it.
Or, we run bluffs with our husbands all the time. “Don’t worry honey, I can paint those walls in the bedroom today.” At which point he will show up in five or ten minutes with paint, brush, and roller in hand, roll his eyes, sigh, and say, “Never mind. I’ll do it.” I’m pretty good at getting things done like that. I’ve even bluffed with our daughters. “I’m fine,” I’ll say. “I can fix that tire on the mower. Grandpa Hank isn’t up to it. Don’t worry about it. I can take care of it myself.” I really could do it, but within a few minutes, I’d have a son-in-law on the doorstep. It’s worked almost every time.
Almost…Now the question was could I bluff this guy? I scanned the floor of the car and tried to see if anything was sticking out from under the seat. Nothing. But then, I remembered that little hammer in the glove compartment. It’s supposed to be for an emergency, in case we need to break glass to escape our Escape. We’d always joked about that. Well, this was an emergency! I could use that hammer. Somehow. Maybe.
By the time my brain had processed all of this, I was pulling into a farmyard and stopping right behind that white pick up truck. There was no one in the truck, though. I looked around, scanning the yard. The place was quiet. It almost seemed deserted. There was a small clapboard farmhouse with an unattached double garage. The garage door was open. Then, I saw that familiar Green Bay Packer knit hat bobbing around inside. He was in there!
What I did next was probably the bravest and stupidest thing I’ve ever done! I got out of my car, slammed the door, and yelled, “Hey you chicken-livered, purse-stealing Packer backer! You’d better get out here before I decide to shoot first and then call the cops! And bring my purse with you!”