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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Home for Christmas (11/20/08)

TITLE: Rolling Home
By Linda Germain


When my mother called to suggest I pick up a few relatives as I made my way from sea to shining sea to the big family Christmas feast, I had been sound asleep.

“Sweetie Pie,” she drawled in her charming Savannah accent, “Uncle Joe and Aunt Penny don’t have the money to fly and Cousin Alvin doesn’t have a license anymore; besides, he’s afraid to get on an airplane.”

“But Mom, I thought that was his twin, Calvin.”

She was in one of her I-have-to-make-a-fast-point-with-my-wandering-first-born monologues while I was still in a semi-groggy state of mind. I agreed that on my way from purple mountain majesties, through fruited plains and amber waves of grains, I’d give them a ride. It seemed like a charitable notion at the time.

I took Arveena for a good scrubbing and tune up before we offered free transportation to kinfolk. Arveena is what I call my vehicle/home. Every square inch is compact and organized; a road warrior’s dream. I make my living writing travel books and articles. I love my wonderful job and this special residence.

After miles of peace and quiet I arrived at Uncle Joe’s and Aunt Penny’s. Bless their hearts; they were standing in the driveway beside some old luggage and something I did not expect – a small dome shaped object with a cloth cover. It turned out to be the cage of an elderly parrot named Doodle. I opened my door and extended Arveena’s steps. Penny was already squealing.

“Hello, Chris! Oh my…just look at this beautiful RV.”

She threw her fat little arms around me for a hug. Uncle Joe ambled a few feet behind her, giving Arveena the once over. Ever the spokesperson for the glass half empty syndrome, he whistled low.

“Bet you don’t get much mileage out of this big elephant, do ‘ya? Probably don’t go over 40 miles an hour either. Does it have a bathroom?”

“Hi, Uncle Joe. Actually, I don’t have to worry about that. Some of the contracts I have with travel magazines include money for gas and repairs. Affirmative on the facilities.”

The two humans were like children with a new toy. Everything about Arveena fascinated them. As darkness descended, I pulled into an RV campground. They watched closely as I backed into a spot and hooked up the power and water lines.

Doodle waited until morning to display her enormous vocabulary. She was quite the long winded bird. We stopped in Oklahoma to pick up Cousin Alvin. As a surprise bonus, Calvin was with him. One brought his harmonica; the other his guitar. I never realized how much I hated that partridge in a pear tree song until about the thousandth round.

By the second night, I made an executive decision, based on the weather report, to guzzle coffee and keep going. The chatter, music, and disagreements among my troops ended when they all fell asleep. I put Doodle’s cage in the other front seat. She watched the lights and beginning white precipitation with an uncanny interest. I liked her.

“We’re going home for Christmas, Polly Wolly Doodle Girl.”

Her only comment was, “Jingle bells, Jingle bells,” an obvious response to the C word.

I managed to deliver the whole bunch to my parent’s front door. My head was aching from no sleep and too many off-key carols from happy relatives making a joyful noise. After the interminable eating and chatting I slipped away for some rest inside Arveena’s much appreciated silence. In a few hours there was a timid knock on my door. Mom and Dad came in grinning and carrying a dome-shaped item. I was trapped in groggidom again.

“Chris, Honey, thanks for transporting our sweet family characters. Dad and I are going to buy return bus tickets for them. Penny wondered if you would like to keep Doodle for company and just drop her off next time you’re near their place.”

What could I say? There’s just something especially charming about a parrot riding shotgun and chattering funny bird language. I hugged both of my favorite people and laughed.

“Sure Mom. Why not? Hey, I need to get going for my next assignment.”

“You go on, dear. Oh…we love your beautiful rolling home.”

After their tearful exit, I looked around my compact abode, smiled, and started the engine.

“What a Christmas,” I said to my new roommate.

Doodle cocked her head to one side and began to sing Jingle Bells. I joined her.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Faire Stewart11/28/08
What a delightful and unique story! Great job with characterization and love Doodle.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/28/08
Families are interesting, aren't they? You've certainly created some fun characters here. Thanks for taking me along for the ride.
Connie Dixon11/30/08
Cute! How did these people escape my family tree? I'm sure I've met them. Loved your story.
Teresa Lee Rainey12/02/08
This was such a fun ride/read. I really like the bird! Very cute! :)
Catrina Bradley 12/02/08
The MC's positive attitude is what makes this story so enjoyable. I love how he takes everything in stride, and "makes lemonade".