I offer a motto on this 2011 New Years Day:
Never follow a pick-up truck loaded with large fruits and/or veggies.
This guiding principle for life's journey came to me a dozen years ago on an I-35 entrance ramp in Austin, TX. My eldest son, Speech-Debate, had just spent a few days at the University of Texas attending an honors colloquium for high school seniors. The other two guys and I drove down to collect him. Heading home we pulled onto the Interstate behind a pick-up filled with cantaloupes. Melons started bouncing out of the truck bed and onto the highway, all around our Buick. Boing-guh, boing-guh, boing-guh!
During this week's long road trip bringing Dad to Texas, we were stuck behind a white pick-up truck carrying watermelons. Nine hours into a twelve-hour drive Dad discovered the Jeep Commander's passenger side sun visor. He could reach it and maneuver it to the side window and back. The low sun blazed into my eyes, and out, leaving trails like Sixties Kodak flashbulbs. The Arbuckles added intermittent deep purple shadows between flashes. The pick-up's cargo added the threat of imminent watermelon attack. One hill I got ahead of the pick-up. The next I was back behind the danger. Post Traumatic Cantaloupe Syndrome made it very scary. Repeat. Repeat.
My sister and I preferred to compare our four-state drive to Thelma and Louise, but Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase popped to mind. In 1986's Back to School, Rodney Dangerfield's character is inspired by Sally Kellerman's reading of a Dylan Thomas poem . Nobody will mistake this for a cinema classic, but it was my introduction to the poem:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And against following the watermelon!
© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder