Monday, November 22, 2010

Hunting Season 2010

You've probably been wondering why there have been no adventures of Gastron O. Nomical. He's probably been having all sorts of fun, but without any of us.

We've been going through Hunting Season 2010, aka The Great Car Massacre. In the middle of a blizzard, or excuse m
e, BLIZZARD-LIKE CONDITIONS (to some purists very separate and distinct from actual blizzards), the 2-point buck came out of the swirling black whiteness, attracted to the lights of the swirling white whiteness by some primitive force th
at brings deer and autos together all over the globe.

Mom was the poor unfortunate who happened to be driving when the deer rushed at her, thwacked the passenger-side lights, thrust one little antler into the engine compartment, and kicked out a light o
n the driver's side for good measure, before collapsing dead beside the road. There was nowhere to pull over right there, and the car kept going just long enough to coast onto one of the few roads out there in the middle of the bliz - in the storm.

Jack was at work, so I set out to her rescue in the only vehicle available to me - our aging and ailing van, whose transmission is slipping like Bambi on ice, so I only drive it right in town. (You might be wondering why, after I drove all the way to CA to bring back the little red truck for Mom that she wasn't driving it. Bear with me - there was a very good reason. Well, a reason.) Despite all trepidation, the rescue went off without a hitch, as well as the subsequent towing. John-John, my brother-in-law, turned out to have his own personal tow truck, so he drove the 10 miles out of town, hooked up our defunt Suburban, pulled it onto the bed, and drove it back to our house. By that time it was so late and cold that he parked the tow truck in our driveway, Suburban still on it, and got a ride home.

The next day, Mom had to go to Williston for many essential supplies, as well as a dentist appointment, and oh yes, picking up Jackie the Junior Border Collie from the vet after being fixed. All that was going to fall to pieces if I couldn't get the red truck running again.

It was all my fault. I admit it. Dad had so carefully warned me numerous times that there was a quirky little thing wrong with the red truck. Something kept the battery from staying charged like a normal car, so it either had to be started every day, or plugged into the special little battery charger in the engine compartment. "Don't forget," he said again and again. "There will be all kinds of trouble if the battery goes dead."

The night I got back from my trip at almost 11 pm, I was so dead I could hardly walk. As I staggered into my bedroom, bed lit up as with a spotlight, I looked down at my hand with horror to find the truck keys still clutched there. Before keeling over, dead asleep, I have a vague memory of handing them to Devon - desperate times call for desperate measures, and I foolishly thought it was a better option than dropping them under the bed - and saying, "Grandpa will kill us all if you lose these. GO HANG THEM UP!!!" Then a few giggles, and a tiny voice saying, "Look! A laser! Hee hee hee," before all went black.

The next morning the keys were nowhere to be found. With no way to start the truck, it sat unplugged past the critical point, and the battery died. Still, how bad could it be? I had jump-started so many batteries I lost count years ago. I could do it in my sleep. All I had to do was find the keys, and Devon had no idea where they were.

After four days of frantic searching, Tiggy found them in a cup-holder in the van. Go figure. No problemo, I would have the truck going in 3 minutes, tops. (This was the day before the buck hunt.)

Hooking up the battery charger with practiced ease, I turned it on to Quick Charge. A shrill siren split the air, and I made it several feet straight up before recovering enough presence of mind to snatch the clips off before something exploded. Jack thought that was pretty funny when I called him, and he informed me that it was the car alarm.

He thought it was even funnier when I called him after a quadrillion attempts to charge the battery while turning off the alarm, had all failed. At least I think he was laughing. It could have been my ears ringing.

The next night, with the Suburban down for the count, it was confession time. Holding back ~most~ of his I-told-you-so's, Dad gave me several things to try, and one of them worked. Just in time for Mom to leave for the dentist and vet, I whisked the purring truck over to her.

That evening, the call came in. "Do you suppose John-John can make another trip to Williston? The red truck has broken down." I think there were muffled sobs in the background.

With the Suburban hastily set down in the driveway, the family tow service sprang into action once more. Mom rode home with Tina, so she wasn't there to see the dazzled coyote slicing through the heavy snow, mystically drawn to the glowing li.... thump thump. Never mind.

Two cars that don't run any more. Two animals that don't run any more. Most folks would call that a draw.

I call it a pedestrian. Two pedestrians.

Doing a lot of walking,
Noni Beth

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