Monday, August 14, 2006

Driveway stories

I've been sick with a head cold since Friday and spent almost all of this past weekend laying in the bed, trying to give my body the space it needs to kick the sickness. (Thanks always goes to Lynda for allowing me the opportunity to even consider such a thing when there is food to be cooked, laundry to be done, kids to be played with and bathed and listened to and etc., etc. . . . You get the idea--she's great.)

But there are things that must be done.

One of those things that must be done is our preparations for a friend's wedding that is coming up this Saturday. MF and his fiance are members of my weekly bible study group and our group decided that in lieu of wedding gifts to them (which they really don't need) we would provide the food for the rehearsal dinner on Friday. Lynda and I volunteered to handle the desserts.

Since I was laid up all weekend and Lynda was otherwise occupied, we REALLY needed to get started with the cake baking tonight. We need to make at least two white chocolate cheesecakes and two pineapple cakes by Friday. Handling one a night won't be too hard.

But then we discovered that our lone springform pan (that is crucial for the creation of the cheesecake) has gone missing. I think it was left at a friend's house when we did a trial run on the cake a few weeks ago.

So, long story short, I found myself driving to Meijers tonight to buy a new springform pan. (We'll get the other one later, but as I mentioned, four cakes in four days doesn't allow for a night off.) On the way I heard an NPR story about painting porch ceilings blue and why that is useful.

It was part of NPR's ongoing collection of porch stories. The idea of the story collection is that the mythical front porch serves as a unique place to set outside of our insular selves and reach out to the strangers who just happen to be our neighbors.

I, myself, have never lived in a house with a porch so I can't contribute a specific story that fits the theme. But I thought about it anyway. I could provide stories that fell under the theme of Driveway Stories, since my childhood home featured a driveway and even those of us without porches do have driveways. So, here are a few driveways stories that immediately came to mind.

Turning 14: Purple Rain

When I turned fourteen years old, I invited a handful of my friends to spend the weekend celebrating at my house. I think there were five or so of my friends that I asked to come. People began arriving in the late afternoon of a Friday. Everything went well until S. Parker showed up. S. didn't have the best of relationships with his parents, especially during those awkward, difficult early teenage years. I had spent weekends over at his place many times before and had witnessed shouting matches and lots of blustery anger.

It was not that much of a surprise, then, when (for some reason which I can't recall) S. got into it with his mom in our driveway as he was being dropped off. I was inside playing pool with the other guests when I noticed the problem through the front windows of the house. After a few minutes I went outside to see if I could resolve the problem, but it had degenerated into a battle of wills. S. wasn't going to give in to whatever had set the two of them off and was demanding (for some reason) to be taken home. He was going to drop off my birthday gift and then he wanted to go. In fact, he was sitting resolutely in the backseat of the car and wasn't going to budge until he got his way.

After a few more minutes of this driveway standoff, it finally blew over. I don't recall if one of my parents came out to smooth things over or what exactly happened. I think I even gave up waiting and went back inside to continue playing pool. But eventually, S. gave up his driveway vigil and came inside.

Other than that, the things I remember about that birthday (1985) was that a. I got Prince's Purple Rain cassette as a gift (which we listened to quite a bit that weekend--especially "Darling Nikki.") and b. I heard the next day that my grandfather had died of a brain tumor and we would be heading up to Kentucky for the burial. He was actually buried on my birthday.

The Great Blizzard of '02

I think it was in 2002; I know we were living in our first house at the time so it had to be between 2000 and 2004. It was February and we drove to Louisville, KY to visit Lynda's aunt and uncle for the weekend. While we were in Kentucky, a severe snow storm blew over the Midwest. In our area of Kentucky it wasn't cold enough for snow, so we had slick sheets of ice everywhere. Lynda's aunt's truck went off the road and hit a tree. My car also went off the road, but luckily we didn't hit anything.

When our visit in Kentucky was over we drove north to get back home to Ohio. Luckily the interstate were well plowed and that part of the journey was fine, but we knew from weather reports that mid Ohio has received somewhere around a foot of snow over the weekend. (That's pretty unusual for central Ohio to get that much all at once.)

We knew things were rough when we drove up to our house. In our old house, the driveway traveled from the street past the house's south side and into the detatched garage in the back. Our neighbor to the left had a chain link fence dividing their driveway from ours. This made the back half of the driveway a narrow chute from which snow had to be pushed.

Left unattended, the long, narrow driveway was completely blocked with several inches of snow. There was no way the car was making it back to the garage. I parked at the curb and slowly trudged my way to the garage to get my snow shovel. Lynda took young Sarah inside while I tackled the drifts of snow that rose up to my knees (at least). All I had was a shovel and daylight. I started.

After a few minutes of pushing the snow this way and that way, trying to create a pathway for the car to move in and our Monday morning, my neighbor appeared with his brand new snow blower. He immediately began chewing up the snow in the lower part of the driveway with gasoline-powered speed while I focused on clearing a pathway from the back door to the garage.

That was one of the nicest moments of neighborly interaction that I had with those guys. I would have been out there for probably an hour or more trying to shift that stuff. He showed up and we made short work of it in less than half that time.

So, do you have a driveway story? Let's hear about it.


Anonymous said...


I like the idea of driveway stories but, really, can we get more S. Parker stories? And don't play dumb like you don't know the one I am talking about.

But getting back to the original line of thought, what about the time Mom ran over Shorty's tail while backing out of the driveway? Did you witness that one?

David said...

I was too young to witness the maiming of Shorty's tail, but I remember hearing everyone describe it. I kind of thought he got his name from that incident, but I guess not.

As to the infamous S. Parker story that you alluded to, yeah, I'll get to it. But I need a reason.

Shall I wait until one of my own children does a stupid thing? Or would that be waiting too long?