Not an O. Henry Story But Close Enough
December 24, 2004
What I didn’t tell you yesterday in my story of pioneer survival amid dire circumstances was that my car got stuck. In the crummy driveway. You see, our garage is under our house, kind of a Bat Cave deal where you swoop up a steep short hill to get out and fight crime.
It turns out that if you’re swooping out to do errands, and the hill happens to be coated in ice, you have maybe one shot at swooping, and if you decide halfway up the hill that you need to stop, your car will start to slide right back toward the very Bat Cave you were trying to leave. Well, for some unknown reason I decided, halfway up the Bat Cave Entryway, that I needed to adjust my exit angle. I think the “Holly and the Ivy” blasting out of the radio was a factor, or maybe I was feeling a little too clever for getting out of the house before I packed up the boys in a box and mailed them to Aunt Buffy.
For one lurching moment I thought, I can’t believe I’m going to have a wreck with my own house. As the Mom Bomb slid, and kept sliding, I wondered, Will it make a crunching sound? Like a Roadrunner cartoon where Wile E. Coyote stops at the very edge of the cliff, the Mom Bomb came to rest about twelve inches from the wall of the house. I sat for a while, wondering what would happen if I took my foot off the brake, if I shifted to the left, if I exhaled.
I finally bailed out, tenderly shutting the door knowing full well that if I slammed it, two tons of Mom Bomb would plow into the garage, taking out the barbecue grill, the recycling bins, the litter box, a soapstone Inuit carving, and the entire kitchen above it.
I found solace in hanging with the fellas and knitting up a pile of this scribble lace.
The Next Day
So I’m sitting in the kitchen this morning snarfing down Sister Schubert Cinnamon Yeast Roll number FOUR, drinking reheated coffee because remember we don’t know how long this ice will be here, and we might run out of coffee if I don’t ration it, and Hubbo comes in. He has a sheepish look on his face, and he tells me, “Ann. I’m rilly sorry but I didn’t get you anything for your stocking. I know you like stocking things and all but . . . I saw the stockings [ed note: see Found Objects for recent photograph of the actual stockings to which he refers] and it made me remember to tell you that I . . . didn’t . . . and I’m sorry . . .”
Then he says, out of the blue, “I’m going out to get your car out.”
The next thing I know, he’s out there with the de-icer pellet stuff, a snow shovel, and two boxes of kosher salt (“We answer to a higher authority”). I watch him, no hat or gloves, doing his thing. Sprinkle sprinkle scrape scrape and the Mom Bomb is miraculously at ground level, ready to blast off. I hadn’t even finished slurping down Sister Schubert Number Five, and Hubbo had given me the beautifullest Christmas present of all: a liberated Mom Bomb.
Merry Christmas to all. Clif, so very five, just told me in a knowing way, “Mom. Tonight. I’m going to be keeping an eye on, you know, Santa.”