Mom likes to watch TV crime shows.  Well, combine that with her active imagination and her tendency to be jumpy, and you have the recipe for some pretty funny situations.  One such time happened on a motor home trip a few years back.

While Mom was in the back of the motor home, making beds and straightening up, the car behind them caught her attention.  It was following too closely, and Mom could see that the men were impatient to try to pass the slow-moving coach.  As she looked more closely, Mom’s imagination kicked in.  These men were rough and mean looking.  Their car was battered and dirty.  The driver appeared to be yelling, leaning his head out of the window and flapping his arm impatiently.  Mom got one of her “funny feelings” and started to imagine what mischief these men might stir up, but her thoughts were interrupted by Dad calling for a new driver.

Dad usually did most of the driving, but he liked to take small breaks to stretch and rest.  Being a very efficient man, however, he did not like to take the time to pull over to switch drivers.  He would set the cruise control, slip out of the driver seat (still steering with his arm outstretched to the side) while the next driver slipped in behind the wheel.  It was Mom’s turn.

“Ken, that car behind us wants past,” Mom cautioned.

“Well, they can wait,” Dad replied as he lowered his speed and set the cruise control.  Mom snuck a quick look through the back window and a sense of fear washed over her (too many crime show scenes floated across her mind’s eye).  Reluctantly pulling her attention away from the scary men behind her, Mom saw that Dad was already out of the seat and waiting for her to take over.

Dad headed straight for the back bed and Mom checked her mirrors.  They were still there, following closely.   Still impatient.  Mom’s dread grew by the minute.  And then she saw the car pull into the opposing traffic lane to pass.  A part of Mom was relieved that she would be away from this car of possible murderers, but she didn’t like them coming along side of her one bit.

Sometimes life’s sense of comic timing is so perfect it seems scripted, for at the exact moment that the car of dreaded men was next to Mom, one of the motor home tires blew out with a huge, “Bang!”

Mom let out a blood-curdling scream at the top of her lungs, shouting, “They’re shooting at us! They’re shooting at us!”

Kari and I jumped up to see what Mom was yelling about, but Dad ambled up to the front very calmly, apparently unmoved by Mom’s screams.  “Marci, we blew a tire,” he stated very matter-of-factly.

It took Mom a second to realize that her fears and worries were for nothing, and then it struck her funny (of course).  Laughing so hard she was crying, she managed to pull over to the side of the road.  Turning around, she saw all of us looking at her like she had lost her mind, which just caused her to laugh even harder.  Catching her breath for a moment, she squeaked, “I wonder if they thought we were shooting at them?”  Dad just sighed and shook his head, but Kari and I couldn’t help laughing, too.  Mom knew we were laughing at her, not with her, but she didn’t care….it was too funny to care.



Home Invasion

Sometimes Mom lets her imagination get the better of her.  We often marvel at the way Mom can twist things around in her mind and get herself worked up into a panic.  Dad has grown accustomed to this by now, but before he knew her better, he used to sometimes get sucked into Mom’s silly ideas.

One such time happened when they were newly married and preparing to go out to dinner with a good friend.  Mom tried on several dresses and wigs (yes, this was the 1960s and apparently lots of young women wore wigs), until she found the right combination.  She had spent too much time preparing for the evening and hadn’t left herself enough time to clean up all of her rejected items. Mom’s compulsive cleaning has grown stronger with age, but at that time she was able to leave a few things out in order to not be late for their dinner engagement.

When they returned to the apartment after dinner, Mom suddenly grabbed Dad’s arm and caught her breath.  “There’s someone in our apartment,” she whispered.

Looking through the sheer curtains, they all saw the outline of a person who seemed to be sitting in the living room.  Dad and his friend crouched in readiness as they burst into the apartment, ready to face the intruder.  Mom waited outside, afraid of the men getting hurt.  But there were no sounds of a struggle.  Very calmly, Dad said, “Marci, come in here.”

Hesitantly, Mom entered and saw the intruder….her wig, atop a head-form sitting on the table behind the couch.  Both men looked at Mom, shaking their heads.  “Well,” Mom said in a very ‘Lucy’ tone of voice while shrugging her shoulders, “I didn’t know.”

Wasp Attack

Mom is very silly when it comes to the animal world.  She goes gaga for all sorts of unusual creatures.  She especially loves her furry friends, but she even loves snakes and lizards and most other reptiles.  But bugs are a different story.  Even just mentioning the word ‘spider’ gets Mom feeling squeamish, and after a run-in with wasps years ago, she breaks into a sweat at the thought of those flying pests.

Mom’s encounter with the wasps happened in a beautiful campground in Washington State.  We had been driving in the motor home for days and when we finally pulled into the campground, we were all anxious to be in the fresh outdoor air for lunch.  However, a large swarm of wasps had claimed the area first, and Mom didn’t want to argue with them, so we stayed in the motor home, wishing in vain that the swarm would leave.

When Mom finished cleaning up after lunch, she realized that the trash can was full.  We all tease Mom about how compulsive she is about cleaning and having everything neat and tidy.  Well, seeing that full trash can was driving Mom crazy.  Finally, she couldn’t stand it any longer and decided to face the wasps rather than face a full trash can.  Silly Mom.

She got way more than she bargained for.  The wasps were even more densely populated near the dumpster than they had been near our camp site, and Mom was on the verge of panic as the obnoxious wasps grew bolder and more aggressive.  It was more than she could take, however, when one particularly brazen fellow dove straight down her shirt and into her bra.

The trash now completely forgotten, Mom scuttled back to camp as quickly as she could, trying to move without jostling the intruder.  Now, most normal people would stop, open the shirt and release the pest.  But Mom is not normal.  Fear of the wasp had caused Mom to break out sweating all over her body, and her consuming thought was that the wasp might drown in the sweat collecting inside her bra.  But it hadn’t drowned yet.  She could feel it crawling against her skin, which brought on even more sweating.

Seeing the look of terror on Mom’s face as she scurried back to camp, Dad knew his services would be required.  Somehow, Mom managed to convey her need to Dad and he helped her release the miscreant.  Mom shivered in relief, thinking her ordeal was over.  Silly Mom.

While Mom and Dad were coming back inside the motor home, a dozen wasps slipped in with them.  Dad got out the fly swatter, but Mom was horrified.  “No, Ken,” she told him.  “That would be gross.”

“What do you want to do then?” he asked.

Her first thought was bug spray, but we didn’t have any.  So Mom thought of the next best thing.  “We can spray them with hairspray so they can’t fly, and then you can put them outside.”

Strangely enough, we all were happy with that idea and got Grandma’s super strength hairspray for Mom.  Armed with the spray, Mom crept up to a wasp and was about to shoot it, when it moved a little, buzzing its intent.  Mom screamed, jumped, and quickly gave up the idea that she would be able to aim straight.

The battle against the wasps then became a family affair.  We each had our jobs.  I took charge of the spray. Kari and Grandma helped find the enemy.  Dad scooped up the incapacitated prisoners and released them outside, being very careful to not let any new ones in.  And Mom….well, she screamed every time one of them moved.

When I was talking with Mom the other day about this wasp story, and how silly she had been through the whole thing, she laughed and said, “Every time I think about that incident, the main thing I remember is worrying that the poor wasp would drown inside my bra!”  Very silly Mom.