Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BAGGAGE (02/08/18)
- TITLE: The Albatross
By Phillip Cimei
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It was too late. I had already made the commitment and …well…let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
It all began a few weeks earlier after I loaded the last child into our old blue Ford station wagon. By old I mean an engine that knocked louder than a hungry woodpecker and tires balder than my three-haired head.
“Okay, now for our tag along” I said. I was referring to a 4x8 U-Haul that held everything we owned.
I grunted out an, “Oomph’” as I lowered my shoulder into the door of the U-Haul, “Touchdown,” I yelled as if I plowed through the defensive line of the New England Patriots and scored the winning touchdown. I pushed hard and latched the door. “Okay, load’em up, move’em out. Eha! Rawhide! Little did I know that this trail drive would end with me rustling more than cows. I would be rustling winter.
I wasn’t sitting high on my horse guiding animals yelling, “Get along little dogies”. I was traveling 1500 miles across country on a wing and a prayer, in the middle of winter, on snow packed roads, up a mountain, on bald tires. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, unless you’re a bonehead.
I looked over at my wife squinting and shaking her head in dismay, “Oh, oh” she said pointing.
“Oh, oh’s” are not good while traveling up and down ice packed roads with a trailer wagging like a dog wanting a bone.
She huffed out, “According to our map that peak up a head is our last hurtle, then clear sailing,”
“Cool beans. Then why the concerned look?”
She turned back and pointed, “That car moving like a tortoise?”
“He better hurry before we lose our momentum to get up that slope,” I cried out.
But that tortoise would beat this hare again. And the prize? Me catching up just before the summit. My wheels started spinning, “Awe man!”
We were sitting at a forty-five-degree angle, on a slick snow packed road, and a baby elephant tugging at her momma’s tail.
“Just perfect I said,” clasping my hands in prayer-mode. “What happened to my co-pilot?”— I didn’t mean my wife. I meant God. He had been guiding us the whole 1500 miles without an incident.
“I think He knew you were going to have to back this trailer down this mountain to that turn around I spotted a hundred yards back. I think He bailed on you,” she snickered sending us both into a long chuckle.
I just needed to back this trailer to that turn around. No problem. Not!
First, did you ever back a trailer on ice? Downhill? Can’t be done. Second—and probably the reason God more than likely decided to get out and sit on the side of the road waiting for the show—I was the Guinness world record holder for being the worst backer.
Let’s see, backed into a light pole on my first date, the next week backed into a stop sign, hit three cars backing out of three different parking spots, hit my son’s car, no, two son’s cars, my daughter’s car, my daughter-in-law’s car, and a tree at a car wash. No problem!
I put it in reverse and started backing up. Immediately the trailer jackknifed. “Now what?” I queried.
My wife saw the gears turning in my pea brain just before I yelled out, “Yes!”
She lowered her head in dismay knowing something bad was about to happen.
“I’ll just unhook the trailer, turn it around, put it in that turn around, hook it back up, and we’ll head down the mountain. Piece of cake.”
I unhooked the trailer, turned it around and off it went down the hill with me hanging on, screaming, “Noooooo! I didn’t buy the ten-dollar insurance.”
“Let it go!” screamed my wife.
It was gaining speed. Up ahead a mammoth oak tree. I was determined to go down with the ship. My feet were shuffling faster than my babbling tongue churning out requests for God to intervene in this knucklehead’s impending doom.
God surely giggled. But His mercy came through. The tongue of the trailer caught some gravel and stopped just short of the tree. Ain’t God Grand!
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