Mom loves speed and thrills….on roller coasters, that is. In fact, she used to go to Knott’s Berry Farm with the kids and me, and while I had the excuse to sit with the youngest child while the others rode the scariest rides, Mom was happy to be their chaperone. She had the reputation for being the cool grandma as onlookers watched her laughing and having a great time being whipped around every which way.
But Mom gets all her speed needs met on the thrill rides and is a very conservative driver in her own vehicle. In fact, she sometimes goes a bit too slow.
One time she and Grandma were driving separately home from some event and Mom was in the lead. She didn’t want to be rude and leave her mother behind, so she diligently watched the rear view mirror to make sure she could see Grandma’s headlights right behind her. Noticing that those headlights were falling slightly behind, Mom slowed down. The headlights slowed down, too. Mom slowed more, wanting to give Grandma the chance to catch up a little better. But once again, Mom thought the headlights were starting to lag a little, so she slowed again. By this time she was going about 40 mph on the freeway (in the slow lane, of course!), and she couldn’t figure out why her mother couldn’t step on it a little.
Mom looked again into the rear view mirror, and her stomach dropped. Instead of seeing Grandma’s headlights, she saw police lights. Mom always tries so hard to obey all the laws that she has had very few run-ins with the police, and she was nervous. Why would he be pulling her over? She certainly wasn’t speeding!
The policeman approached Mom’s car and with a puzzled look on his face, asked, “Why were you going so slow?”
Always so honest, Mom told the truth. “I thought you were my mom,” she said.
Either the officer understood Mom’s silly logic, or he just didn’t want to bother with her anymore, but he let her go with a warning, telling her to drive faster from now on. It’s not too often you hear that from the Highway Patrol!
The freeway is not the only place Mom has been known to drive too slowly. When I was young, we used to have ATCs (three-wheelers) which we frequently took to the desert. On one such trip, Mom and Dad took off with an uncle to go for a ride on the ATCs. They rode around for a while and ended up in the bottom of a cone of sand. Dad and my uncle were both very logical and exited the cone in the usual manner of winding around in a spiral all the way to the top. Mom, however, is not logical. She thought she might save time by climbing straight up the side of the very steep hill. This might have worked if Mom were going fast enough, but apparently she wasn’t.
She didn’t have enough momentum. Almost as if in slow-motion, the front wheel left the sand, and Mom felt herself falling backwards. Any normal person might have let go of the handles and just slid off gracefully. But Mom doesn’t do normal. As she landed in the sand, she pulled the heavy vehicle right on top of her.
Mom’s troubles didn’t stop there. Apparently ATCs are not meant to be up-side-down. The gas cap works great when the vehicle is on all three wheels, but not so much when it is inverted. As Mom lay on her back with the ATC pinning her down, gas began spilling all over her.
Mom tried to get up, but all she accomplished was much flailing of arms and legs. Then a funny thought popped into her head: she thought that she was just like an up-side-down turtle. And that’s when the giggles hit her. Here she was, pinned in the hot sand with a heavy vehicle on top of her, and covered in flammable gas, and Mom couldn’t stop laughing.
And that’s how Dad and my uncle found her. It wasn’t long before they realized Mom wasn’t with them and turned around to look for her. What a sight they saw. They couldn’t see Mom’s head or body under the ATC, but they saw the underside of the vehicle and Mom’s legs and arms sprawled out to the sides, wiggling around. Dad thought she looked funny too, but rather than think of a turtle, he thought she looked like a bug.
Either bug or turtle, we can always count on Mom to do something silly and keep us all entertained.