January 20, 2014
Exercise from my Advanced Mindful Writing Class: Pick a sentence from your last writing entry and take the story forward
Sentence: Instead it reminds us to peer deeper into the woods for signs of comfort while our bellies relish the sweetness of simple comforts and the tastes of travels to come.
When we peered into the rolling hills covered with thick groves of trees, we realized that they closed in on each side of the town like two sleeping dragons standing guard over a horde of gold, except that the horde was just a gaggle of people milling about town, completely oblivious to the idea that they were hemmed in. During the long visit being hemmed in was all we knew. We were like patches sewn into your favorite pair of jeans. We covered the worn spots, but that also meant we had nowhere to go.
On Wednesday afternoons during the summer of the long visit we made our weekly escapes in the jet-black hatchback my grandfather borrowed from our great aunt’s daughter. At 12:00 he would take a break from clearing the fields with his hedge trimmers, short scythe, and rake and walked seven blocks to get the car. We knew our grandpa was special. He rode ten-speed bicycle all around town. Sure, he didn’t have a car in his driveway like most other grandparents, but he had access to a black beauty of a race car that drove like a dream.
I remembered the day when the old car got towed away. It was two months after grandpa was laid off from his job as an electrician at the A&P plant. They told him on a Wednesday that work ended on Friday through a stiff yellow carbon copy page that was typed to make it official. He got another letter in the mail the following Monday informing him that his pension had vanished along with his paycheck.
We heard grandma and grandpa talk about it in the kitchen while we made card houses in the dining room. “How are we going to make it, Harry?” My grandma said, running her fingers through her hair and pulling it when she reached the ends.
“We’ll think of something, “ he said, rubbing his chin.
He turned sixty-two in seven months, which meant he could collect social security. But that didn’t make car insurance payments in May or fix the carburetor that crapped out in June. So the white rambler made a farewell journey to Nowheresville, USA, right after the man with greasy hands handed my grandpa a twenty-dollar bill. The old car was pitted with rust holes you could fit your fist through. It shot you around like you were riding a bucking bronco, but it had four wheels that still rolled. The sides wobbled and flapped limply as the tow truck pulled it out of the gravel driveway and onto the city street.
But this was Wednesday and Wednesdays were for fresh air, sunshine and fantasies of escape. So we just waited for grandpa to get back with that borrowed car so we could go to the pool. It really was the nicest car of anyone we knew. The sides were smooth and shiny without any dimples of rust. It had thin red pinstripes down the side that reminded me of the Knight Rider’s car. Sometimes I wished Aunt Carol’s car could talk just like Kit, but then maybe it could also record our secrets. That didn’t seem like such a good idea so I just focused on the car’s bucket seats, which meant everyone had their own space.
“Buckle in,” my grandpa said, looking into the rear view mirror to make sure we were listening. The car never started until he heard all three clicks. “Keep your feet off the seats,” he would remind us. “If we get it dirty we might not be able to use it next week.”