Thank you for joining me for the summer redux series. I will be re-posting stories you may not have read, in the fashion of a summer re-run. We’ll get back to our regular posting schedule in a few weeks. The original “Moses Supposes” posted back in March 2013. It’s been embellished a little since then.
* * *
Previously in Fannie’s world . . .
Summer arrived in Western Washington. June rain, fog, and wind with regular helpings of sun breaks roused the spirits of undecided Western Washingtonians from spring Gore-tex wearing to summer blue tarp camping—because they bring their own blue sky with them. The mercury stretched to 65º F, then yawned.
A sun break highlighted a small brown and gray ranch house in Gig Harbor, Washington.
Bunny Gutierrez stood at the end of Richard and Fannie Cranium’s driveway, clutching the box of Bissinger’s chocolate-covered blackberries they brought back from their trip. Richard relived his Burma-Shave trauma induced by Fannie’s parents during the trip . . . .
* * *
“Richard, that still doesn’t explain why you’re so tired,” Bunny said, with her refined Texas accent. Her long blond hair swept back into a pony tail which crowned her statuesque figure.
“Bunny, that was only the beginning,” Richard said, his shoulders slumping like a bear. He placed his hand on my shoulder. “We ran into a little road construction along the way.”
“From George to Ritzville, the traffic traveled one lane in each direction. Think Seattle on the Friday before a holiday weekend,” Richard said, spreading his hands wide.
Looking up at Richard, I said, “By 8 0‘clock, we could see Spokane in the distance. The sign read, ‘road closure from 8 p.m to 8 a.m.’. So we spent the night just west of Spokane. Thus ended the first 300 miles of our trip.”
“Bunny it took 12 hours,” Richard said, yawning. His shoulder sagged another inch.
* * *
Sunday morning the sun crested the Rocky Mountains to the east. A beam of light wiggled its way passed the curtains and landed on my face. Opening one eye—our bedroom looked wrong. Richard sat at the small table between the bed and the bathroom working on his laptop. The morning brain fog thinned—we’re not at home.
“What’re you doing?” I asked, stretching. A small yawn punctuated the question.
Richard jumped. “I’m downloading music so I can survive the Burma-Shave outbursts.”
Laughing, I rolled out of bed.
Richard looked at his watch. He looked at me. He looked at his watch. He shook his head. “You do know it’s 6 a.m. don’t you?” he asked, smirking. His blue eyes danced. He said, “Every corpuscle in your body should be revolting right now.”
I kissed him on the cheek. “I been telling you for the last eight years my allergies to morning are greatly exaggerated.”
I walked into the bathroom, the mirror did a double take. My short brown hair somehow formed into a wedge reminiscent of the 80’s with spiky bits frizzed out for sport. The pillow molded modern artwork onto my left cheek. I must have left my zombie avatar packed in the car, she would have looked much better.
“Fannie, you know we aren’t gonna make all the stops your parents planned if we’re to make it to Missouri by Saturday,” Richard said.
“Good luck with that one,” I said, shaking my head, “my dad’s a stickler. Getting him to change plans will take an act of Congress or upsetting my mom and aunt at the same time. And I don’t need to remind you my aunt’s not here.”
Richard rolled his eyes. “I’m gonna need a lot more music.”
* * *
“Bunny, in order to make the reunion by the following Saturday and make it back for work on time, we needed to spend more quality time with the pavement,” I said. Nodding toward Richard, “So Richard volunteered to play road warrior since my parents refused to skip any stops.”
* * *
My father manned the helm of the sky blue mobile land yacht. He wore a dark blue Greek fishing cap to diguise his horseshoe hairdo, and sported his sky blue polo shirt with coordinating khaki travel pants. He matched my mother’s ensemble. She added a pale blue scarf tied around her neck, her Betty White wig, plus sky blue sandals with three inch heels. White Diamonds perfumed the morning air.
Richard’s black and white rugby jersey somehow made him look even taller walking next to me.
My mother looked from Richard to me as we approached the car.
“Fannie you look out of place next to Richard with that ancient Fleetwood Mac tee and walking shorts,” she said, shaking her head.
But in that heat, I was comfy. And I don’t need to match my husband.
The broken clouds crowned the mountains. We pulled out of the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel as the construction crew removed the barricade from the interstate on-ramp. My watch read 8:07.
Low clouds hugged the Rocky Mountains as we reached the far side of Idaho’s Lake Coeur D’Alene. The sun burst through the clouds like a spot light on the lake’s mirror surface forming a partial rainbow.
Richard and my father switch positions in Missoula. We filled up with gas. My mother and I pulled a Chinese Fire Drill. Richard rolled his eyes. He positioned his ear buds. He tuned us out as we cruised the highway headed toward Rapid City, South Dakota.
Road construction outside Butte detoured us from the highway.
Richard took us on a tour of the Burkeley Pit. Raw, pale, terraced-earthen walls surrounded a deep pit filled with a dark lake. The cotton-ball clouds admired themselves in the reflection.
The mobile land yacht maneuvered its way back to the interstate. It met road construction between every town from Butte to Billings.
Nearing Gillette, Wyoming, at half passed midnight the clouds parted. Moonlight showcased the plains illuminating the oil pumps bowing to barbed wire fences.
My mother scanned the horizon pretending to look for the Devil’s Tower.
Winking at me and nudging my father awake, she said, “Moonlight.”
My father and I said, “And roses, Whiskers, Like Moses, Just don’t go together.”
Everyone except Richard said, “. . .Burma-Shave.”
My father followed by singing, “Moses supposes his toeses are roses. . .”.
Richard’s shoulders tightened and his hands gripped the steering wheel. My mom and I joined my father with the rest of our favorite song from Singin’ in the Rain.
With enough room in the back seat for a Radio City Rockette to help with the finale, my parents swung their arms wide, threw back their heads and at the top of their lungs sang, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.”
* * *
“We spent the night in Gillette,” I said, laughing.
Bunny shook with suppressed laughter. Her eyes dropped to the pavement. Two vertical lines deepened above her up-turned nose. The chocolate box slipped from her hands. She grasped it with her left hand and exhaled with vibrato. “That was close.” She clutched the box to her chest trying to squish the laughter back down.