Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Clarence's Turn

Pop never learned to ignore advice from Mother, especially while he was driving. Once when we were on the way home from the old farm place, we approached a house Mother always referred to as that of the Old Grey Goose. I had never seen her, but I imagined her to be a gangly, goose-like woman dressed in old fashioned clothing. Just as we got near her house, we were in a long line of traffic and Mother said, “Why don’t you pass them?” So Pop started to execute the maneuver just as I observed from the back seat that the slow driver three or four cars ahead of us was turning left.

“He’s turning, Pop!” I exclaimed with some urgency.

“Huh?” Pop replied, turning around to look at me.

At that moment, our vehicle clipped the back bumper of the turner, pushing it off the highway and into the front of the Old Grey Goose’s house. Mother screamed, Pop swore and I waited to get my first glimpse of the Goose. She came out immediately, yelling at the driver of the car intruding through her front porch and into her living room.

“Clarence, you have ruined my preserves!”

Clarence retorted, “They pushed me into your house!”

Mother said shrilly, “We did NOT push you into that house. Get me some water. I have a heart condition (news to us) and I have to take a pill (it was an aspirin).
The Goose went into the house and returned with a glass of water and things calmed down a bit. The Goose did indeed resemble some kind of waterfowl. She had a very long narrow nose, a gangly neck and she wore a grey smock with intricate tatting around the neck and sleeves. She was barefooted. I saw no webbing.

When the deputy arrived, he began questioning the crowd of motorists who had stopped. He asked the first man in the little circle that had formed on the ruined porch, “Did Clarence have his blinker on?”

“I can’t say. But I knew Clarence was going to turn.”
The deputy asked the second driver gathered there, “Was Clarence signaling to turn?”

“I’m not sure, I was two cars back, But Clarence turns here every day at about this time.”

Each witness testified to the same thing about Clarence‘s daily routine. But when the deputy got to Pop, his reply was, “I didn’t know Clarence was going to turn. I didn’t see a blinker.”

When the deputy asked Clarence if he had his blinker on, he explained, “I don’t remember, Doyle Wayne, I just remember hollering ‘whoa, whoa’ and trying not to hit Maudine’s house.”

I guess Maudine is a good name for an Old Gray Goose, one with ruined preserves and a torn up porch and living room.

Anyway, our car was still drivable. There was just a little damage to the front bumper and fender. Clarence had to call a wrecker. Mother drove on home after the wreck, her heart having settled down. To her lifelong chagrin, the accident was adjudged to be Pop’s fault.

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