Thursday, February 09, 2006


A glimpse of the dashboard in my dad’s car comes to mind. I am eye to eye with the radio. I’m sitting right next to him. The sun’s shining through the windshield onto my lap. We’re traveling south. My father’s strong hands on the wheel are all that I see.

Sitting in the backseat, I listen as my mom tells my brother to spell the word stupidity. S-t-u-p-i-d-i-t-y. S-t-u-p-i-d-i-t-y. S-t-u-p-i-d-i-t-y. I don’t even know what he did. He was a teenager. I was a little kid. I still spell think of that ride when I spell that word.

I’m by the back door of my mom's car waiting, watching, as raindrops swell until finally they run, making fast tracks down the window. The shadows they make look like leprosy. I find myself bored and fascinated at the same time. My mom is inside the house leaving food for the people who live there. Something bad has happened to them. Food is how you show you care.

On a road trip through the Blue Mountains with my best friend, the radio is playing Bill Withers’ song, “Lean On Me.” We sing along to that and some others. The asphalt was pristine black. The blue-green mountains were food for the eyes. We didn’t need to talk. Sharing hours of silence with someone and knowing that everything’s right with the world is closest you get to feeling like you know who you are.

Buying dinner for the boys we didn’t know in the car behind us at the drive-in window at Taco Bell. Just to see what they would do.

A slide show of meaningful moments drive through my mind.

Cars do more than move people from point A to point B.
—me strauss Letting me be


mojo shivers said...

Damn it, you stole my anecdote in a car idea. I was mulling that one around for a few weeks now but hadn't stumbled upon a good germ upon which to bake upon.

Damn you, Liz.

Kelley Bell said...

Your post reminded me of this memory:

It was a hot, muggy summer night in Georgia. The air was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. I was traveling with the circus. We were on a "jump", where you tear it all down, drive to the next town and set it all back up again. (work all day, tear down all night, then drive one hundred miles.)

Three adults and two german shepherds were packed into my car, along with everything we owned in the world.

The car broke down on the interstate.

We knew our caravan would be along soon, and we were exhausted.

And Hot.

We tied out the dogs, stripped down to our skivies, opened the doors and laid across the seats, catching a few winks while we waited.

One guy napped on the hood.

A trucker drove by. He called 911 reporting a "horrible accident with bodies all over the place!"

Two State Troopers lit out in both directions expecting to find a gruesome scene.

When the squad car arrived, we all jumped up to attention, and scared the poor officer to death!

He started laughing hysterically and hugged us all.

Can you imagine how confusing that was for a car load of sleepy hippies?

He said that he was just so grateful to find us alive.

We invited him to the show. He brought all his cop friends, and I painted an airbrush tee-shirt for each and every one of them.

Can you imagine? A car loead of traveling hippies adopted by a town full of State Troopers!

ME Strauss said...

You would write something totally different. Go for it. I'll come and read it.

Great minds think alike. :)


ME Strauss said...

And so starts another morning on which Kelley Bell brings me smile that makes my day . . .

You're fine Kelly Bell, hippie or not. I love that story!

Dawn said...

Here's a childhood car memory that comes to my mind: I'm about 6 or 7 and I'm in the backseat of my parents car lying down on my back. We drive across the Bay Bridge and are going through an industrial area. All I see through the rear window is sky, with plenty of cloud-like pollution belching out of smokestacks. I ask innocently: Daddy, is this where God makes the clouds?

ME Strauss said...

Hi Dawn,
That's wonderful. Cars play such a big part in our lives. No wonder they creep into my dreams.


Sassy said...

I've had good memories in a car. Now i'd just like to run over a certain memory along with a certain someone! HA HA

ME Strauss said...

Hi Sassy,
It's good to hear you make light of things. Even if you might not really mean it. There will come a day when you don't even think about it. I hope that day comes sooner than you think.