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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Car Trip (07/18/05)

TITLE: There's Never Going to be Company
By Paul Potenza



Momma’s sanity was at stake. She had 13 children. On Sundays, Pop would load us up in the car (a station wagon, with a rear seat that faced backwards) and take us out, minus Momma, for the afternoon. (I always wondered why she would want to miss the fun!) Summers were at the ocean. Autumns & Springs were at a park where he would hit golf balls while we terrorized pigeons. Winter was back to the beach to collect sea shells which we would take home to paint. Each Sunday Pop promised ice cream. The problem with this plan is that I suspect that my FATHER’s sanity was also at stake. See, he had thirteen rambunctious kids in that car and the destinations always took more than thirty minutes to get TO. Same to get back FROM. Do you have any idea what 13 miserable little mobsters can DO while locked in a car, before seat belt laws? Let me clue you in. First of all was seating position. “I GOT FRONT” was the battle cry when it was announced that it was time to go. PRIME real estate. “I GOT THE DOOR” came next. A good position because you weren’t wedged between two people. “I GOT BACK” which was fair seating because you at least got an unobstructed view of where you had BEEN! Problem here is that, if you get car sick easily, riding backwards is NOT going to be Nirvana. Perhaps the two worst positions were the “wedged between two people” and WORSE...THE HUMP. Thaat’s Right. Over the Drive shaft. So now, we’re all seated (usually with ME on the hump). We start on our adventure and we’re all behaved and quiet the entire trip. Ha HA! Just kidding. The FIRST thing that we have to do see how much we can irritate the sibling sitting next to us. The BEST scheme came from my older brother Carl. He would TOUCH ME! Can you imagine that? Thirteen kids and a driver (Remember Pop?) jammed into a car meant for eight, and this clod was TOUCHING me! So I’d yell “STOP TOUCHING ME!!” Then Pop would gently reach across the seat and smack ME! Ostensibly for yelling. Then Carl, always on the alert to diffuse a volatile situation, would spend the rest of the trip NOT touching me, by putting his index finger one inch away from my face and saying “I’m not TOUCHING YOU”, until I would yell “TOUCH ME!!” SMACK. The guy would have been great at interrogating prisoners.

I told you that Pop would buy us ice cream at our destination. I question his judgement because we were noisy - restless little pukes to BEGIN with. Pop’s solution was to give us SUGAR! Let’s start the ride HOME shall we? “I GOT FRONT!” etc. Keep in mind that tomorrow is school so we want to drain every ounce of freedom that we can from this day. WE figure that the only way to stay up late is if we have company when we get home. Being Psychology Majors, WE know that the only way to make company appear is to SING about it in the NEGATIVE. So for the thirty minute drive back home we sing. We start out quietly at first. “There’s never going to be company...there’s never going to be company...hoo ray...hoo rah...hoo ro”. Gradually, we pick up steam until we’re at the top of our street and standing up in the SEATS SCREAMING “THERE’S N E V E R going to be COMPANY...THERE’S N E V E R going to be COMPANY. HOO RAY - HOO RAH - HOO RO”! By now Pop had probably taken his last valium which shows poor judgement because when we pull into the driveway...There’s COMPANY!!! (Probably ruining MOMMA’S day off. Remember her?) YAY!! This sets off ANOTHER song session which only has one word. (YEAH!) It went like this...Yeah yeah YEAH...Yeah ya Yeah YEAH!

I tell my wife these stories and she tells me that Momma and Poppy are SAINTS. True, but to tell you the truth, after speaking to them, Mom & Pop wish they could do it again.

I have an idea...Let’s go on a Car Trip.

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This article has been read 634 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nina Phillips07/25/05
Very nice, and I can see with the family that size, how ma-ma needed the break, bless dad's heart, and the kids seemed reallllllly close. TOUCH ME!
God bless ya, littlelight
Martha Robinson07/25/05
Wonderful story! Realistic but humorous! Felt sorry for both Momma and Pop.
Michelle Fout07/25/05
My husband is from a family of nine so really enjoyed this as it is so similar to his stories of road trips! The writing was wonderful, casual, and entertaining. A good read. Some more paragraph breaks would have made it a little easier on the eyes but otherwise fun! God Bless and Keep Writing!
Melanie Kerr 07/26/05
I agree that you need to break up the writing inot smaller paragraphs. Using capital letters for emphasis worked quite well.
Bronwyn Johnson07/27/05
As the oldest of five kids I usually got the front! Ha ha. Now I feel sorry for the little one on the hump. I'd better give my baby sister a call... Thank you for the lovely story, and may God bless you always!
Beth Muehlhausen07/30/05
Lots of cute descripton and dialogue! This cracked me up: "Being Psychology Majors, WE know that the only way to make company appear is to SING about it in the NEGATIVE." I also agree that breaking up your paragraphs into smaller chunks would help make this more readable. Good job - tell more stories!!!! :-)
Julianne Jones07/31/05
Made me laugh. How many of us are guilty of similar tactics or have children who are? Would like to see more paragraphs also but be encouraged: you told the story well and transported the reader right into the midst of it. Thank you!