Straight from the holler.


  by "Buck"

March 15, 2006

There's no question that our good friend Jeff Kay, pussy he may be, is an inspiration to us all. I was sitting here contemplating what I would bring you in the way of an update this morning. Frankly, my life has apparently been placed in perpetual "pause" because there's very little out of the ordinary that's happening right now. I go to work, go home, kill a few thousand Germans on the PlayStation war game Call of Duty, eat an unhealthy supper, watch a prescribed TV show of the evening, then go to bed. After that, I do it all over again. It's pretty much been that way since Christmas with a few sprinklings of interest along the way. Otherwise, I'm living a pretty mundane, uninteresting life.

Jeff's story about the road trip with Nancy however sparked a number of long held memories of road trips. I could literally create a series of essays on this topic that are akin to this series. Perhaps I'll do that, but it will take some contract negotiations with Mr. Kay to commission such a work.

However, one of the road trip stories comes from the summer of 1978. Some background is necessary here. First, we were an Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver kind of family as I came of age. My dad is stuck in that area between the World War II Generation and Baby Boomer and my mom is one of the oldest Boomers. Therefore, they completely missed the sixties and lived the 50's like teenagers—just a little later than most. They believed, and rightly so, that doing activities as a family was healthy. I have to agree since some of my fondest memories involve our annual vacations.

In 1976 my dad bought a second-hand camper. It's not one of those pussified rolling shanties that Jeff Kay is SOOOO proud of. Nope, my dad's camper fit in the back of his truck. It was one of those models that had a bed overtop of the cab. The thing was enormous and extremely heavy. There was always a real fear the whole works would tip over on a quick turn. Every summer, the weekend after the Fourth of July, we'd load up that thing and take off for some far flung destination across the country for two weeks. Mom and Dad would ride in the cab and leave me and my three younger siblings to ride in the back. Our destination in the summer of 1978 was Dallas, Texas. Now, you'll also recall what was happening in 1978…the big oil embargo and gas prices were out of control. When we got to Texas you couldn't find gas. Stations had red or green flags to denote whether they were selling gas. Some places you had "odd and even" days to buy gas depending on the numbers in your license plate. It was sheer insanity with gas lines backed up for miles.

Well, there we were rolling through Texas in July in the back of a truck camper, worried if we would be able to buy gas. There was no air conditioning in this rolling sweat box. We'd open the windows and let the hotter air of the pavement create a wind tunnel inside, but it didn't matter, it was still hotter than hell. My little brother was only three at the time and there in the middle of the Texas heat, with us trapped in the hot box, he decided it would be the perfect time to shit his pants. He shit a load that would have snagged a whirlwind. The stink from that shit could have removed rust from tire rims. He shit and shit and shit. The heat only made things worse. The air from the windows, theoretically would vent the place…but it wasn't happening—it was only spreading the fumes around inside. We closed them, only to endure suffocating heat with the permeating odor. My sisters and I climbed to the top, overcab bunk and ordered him to sit at the back of the camper at the table. He was getting sensitive and started to cry as we made one hurtful comment after the other. His crying made my one year old sister start to cry. Fumes from his disgusting human waste were causing all of us to tear up.

There was no communication with the cab other than a window. My sister and I beat mercilessly on the window begging for help with high theatrics. Mom and dad refused to acknowledge our presence since we banged on that window for no reason all the time. Plus, my dad was engrossed in finding the next filling station that might actually have gas. He had no time for that bullshit from the kids. Therefore, they had no idea of the gas chamber they were hauling. We traveled another HOUR before Dad finally gave in and pulled into a rest area.

My sisters and I piled out of that rolling outhouse and ran at least 100-yards away as if it were about to explode. I gasped for fresh air for a full five minutes, again with high theatrics on my hands and knees gagging and feigning vomit. My dad had no idea and was apologetic. It was so foul, he wouldn't enter himself. My dear mother, God bless her, braved the fumes to save her third born. With one hand over her mouth she grabbed him like a squealing pig and carried him out the door onto the pavement.

I fetched a pan of water. She stripped him naked in the parking lot and ordered him to stand in the pan of water. By now he had dried shit from head to toe. Truckers were laying down on the air horns as they passed on the highway and noticed the naked, shit covered child in the rest area. Mom tossed all of his clothes into the garbage while Dad turned on a ventilator and opened the windows. After an hour long fumigation process, most of the smell had dissipated. My "always look on the bright side mom" in a cheery voice said, "How about some lunch!" She then proceeded to make ham and cheese sandwiches INSIDE THE CAMPER.

No thanks.

Buck Out

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