15 March 2006

5 Miles to the Gallon

My dad, like lots of dads, liked to load the family into the Earth Cruiser and go for long drives. Sometimes we had a destination and sometimes we did not. My mom would pack leftover chicken or make lots of sandwiches; canned fruit from our yard's many trees; homemade cookies or cake; some potato chips or shoe strings and a couple gallons of Kool Aid. Also packed carefully would be a big jug of home made blackberry wine because it was family policy to not fly with one wing. Dad's wine was powerful enough to up-end into the gas tank if we could not make it to the next gas station.

The Earth Cruiser got about 5 miles to the gallon. That was ok though because it only cost a few bucks to fill it up. The hockey stickers the gas stations gave away were more valuable than the gas they pumped.

Us kids would all be in the back of the car taking turns needing to go to the bathroom and puking. We took so much Gravol we could have booked ourselves into an addiction clinic but the puke kept coming up in wave after wave. Nobody could out-puke the Hockey family. We were the pukingest bunch of puke-happy motherfuckers you ever saw. People thought my dad had painted weird flames on the side of the car but it was just his kids' puke. One time one of my sisters was puking out the side window and the door opened up wide. She kept two hands on the window sill and kept right on puking as I pulled on her feet to close the door. Seat belts were still unheard of in those days. Dad kept right on driving. "What the Hell is going on back there?"

Dad's car looked like an unassuming family man car but it had a motor in it bigger than a lot of the cars you see driving around these days. And he used to work on jets in his Armed Forces days so keeping that motor humming like it was a Rolls Royce, not a Chevy, was a matter of considerable pride.

Dad used to drive everywhere at about 100 miles an hour. Everybody's dad did unless they were a pussy. The dads on the street I grew up on would play chicken at 100 mph every time they saw each other on the street. I remember my dad flying down the highway 100 miles an hour and having some jack ass give him the finger because he was going too slow. "Speed it up you fucking Grandma!" Or maybe we got fingered because we puked on the jack ass' car. My memories are hazed over with ten thousand tabs of Gravol.

Sometimes our drives would take us up a logging road most of today's yuppie scum SUV pilots would never attempt to drive up. My dad had a motto when it came to steep logging roads: "We just need to take a little run at it. Everybody hold on!" Up the logging road we would fly. Rocks flying from under the tires, flames from the exhaust, my mom yelling, "Stop it! We're all going to die!", and puke pouring out of both side windows like chunky Kool Aid fountains.

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