(repost of a Tom Gauldin post to rec.woodworking some time in the 1990s)
Every now and then, something arises that brings back memories so
strongly that they simply cannot be ignored or kept silent.
My wife and I celebrated the last of our children leaving home to
attend college, by taking a long, long driving trip around the country. As
the miles rolled on and our backs began to tire, we decided that it was
time to come home. The most logical way to return to Raleigh from
Colorado seemed to be Interstate 70, crossing Kansas and Missouri.
The trip began normally enough, but as the miles rolled on, my mind began
to drift back to the last time I had enjoyed such wide open spaces, where
you could see up and down the interstate for miles. My mind returned to
a family vacation with my parents that took place about 1960. . .
I was 13 at the time, and was legally too young to drive. That meant
little to Dad, who enjoyed sitting in the back seat on long trips. As a
result, by the age of 13, I already had two years of highway driving on
long trips under my belt. Mom would sit in the front, helping me follow
the scant road signs of that era, while Dad would enjoy a beer in the
Dad's job as Business Manager at a college gave him the entire month of
August off from work. Dad never drank- except when he was on vacation.
Then, he'd buy a six-pack of Hamm's beer about 1:00 every afternoon, and
would enjoy 3-4 of them as the rest of the day passed along. He was an
older fellow, having been 45 years old when I was born, and lived a
modest, calm, collected life in a small Missouri college town.
On that fateful day in 1960, we were crossing Kansas on our way to Denver.
Dad had me stop in Topeka, so that he and Mom could use the facilities and
he could get his well-deserved six pack of beer. We left Topeka just
after lunch and as the miles rolled on, Dad had a couple of the Hamm's. Mom
even celebrated the first day of our vacation by enjoying one.
Unfortunately, towns (read that as restrooms) are few and far between in
western Kansas. Nature, age and beer took its toll on Dad's bladder and
he finally asked me if I would stop along the roadside so that he could
relieve himself. I stopped the car as Dad got out of the back seat and
looked both ways carefully. There didn't appear to be a car in sight, so
Dad began to relieve himself.
Naturally, as luck would have it, a car appeared on the horizon and bore
down on us from the front. Mom told Dad, "Don't panic- nobody can see you
there with the car in the way." This was all I needed to hear.
As the car approached, I quietly put our own car in gear. Dad was
standing there still relieving himself when I decided that the moment had
arrived. I floored our own car- pulling ahead about 200'. The result was
that Dad was now standing there alone along an Interstate highway in the
middle of the afternoon. . .urinating. The approaching car honked at him as
it passed, as did the one following it. Being an older fellow, Dad simply
couldn't turn off the flow- and his modesty demanded that he do something.
The result was that he replaced "himself" in his pants while still going,
effectively soaking his pants, socks and shoes.
Well, what can I say? Mom was hysterical; I was laughing so hard that
I couldn't breathe as Dad "waded" up to the car. He didn't even have
the courtesy to open my car door- he merely pulled me out through the
window. The only bad to come of my misadventure was that I had a great
deal of difficulty sitting for a couple of days.
Looking back as a parent myself, my only regret in the entire incident was
that Dad didn't listen to me when I suggested that he change his
pants/drawers/socks beside the car. . I assured him that I wouldn't drive
off again. . .