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Mari Peacock

Bumpers Car

Ah, the family Station Wagon. The brownish-red land-yacht with the cool third seat facing backward. Many a trip was taken in that car; and many a breakdown was had. We went to California and even made it down Lumbard Street in San Francisco. Quite a few trips to Salt Lake and Lehman Caves were taken. One time we even broke down and had to wait all day for the diesel engine to be replaced with a gas one. My Mom still refers to that car as "The worst mistake we ever made in our married lives." Although many adventures and misadventures were experienced in that car, one drags through my mind more than any other.

Growing up in a small town, as most of you know, provides incredible opportunities for entertainment: throwing rocks over cliffs, building tree houses and bush forts, jumping off the roof of the house into a pile of leaves, torturing water snakes, you know, the good stuff. One of the stunts we discovered was "pushing" the Station Wagon as my Mom pulled into the driveway. We would run outside when we saw her coming down the road and then would "push" the back bumper as she drove in. Of course this wasn't thrilling enough so we soon graduated to leaping on the bumper and holding onto the roof rack while the car was still moving. Kale, Cody and I are the youngest, and therefore the best, so parenting skills were more relaxed by the time we came around.

One summer day while the "three little kids" were playing outside barefoot my Mom hopped into the car to run some errands. Cody got the bright idea of "pushing" the car out of the driveway too. So Kale, Cody and I lined up along the front bumper and helped the wagon on its way. When it reached the road and started pulling forward we decided to "push" the car until we couldn't keep up with it. Of course my 5 year old legs weren't as fast as the older boys' so I let go first. The problem was that the car didn't let go of me. My fingers were caught between the metal and plastic parts of the bumper and I fell to my knees and was dragged down the road.

Kale and Cody immediately let go of the car and sprinted along the side screaming for my Mom to stop. I'm sure I was screaming too but all I can remember now is turning to my left and looking at Kale cheetah to catch up with the land-yacht. All of our shreaks did the trick and my Mom stopped. I was most likely crying but was finally able to pull my fingers out of the bumper.

I was helped into the car and the back seat was folded down into ambulance-gurney style Kale and Cody layed me down and broke out the bandages from the back seat cubby. I suppose my knees were 85% lean ground beef at that point, but they fixed me up good so that now only scars remain. Actually, those scars are covered by two or three layers of newer scars, but those are stories for a different day. Needless to say, I didn't "push" the Station Wagon ever again.

While the whole experience was quite traumatic I look back now and literally laugh out loud every time I think about it. Most of what I see is the look of shear terror on Kale's face; panic, horror, exertion and shock all while screaming. I can still see his little legs pumping with all their might. It still cracks me up to this very day! Cody and Kale don't smile about it though, but then, they didn't get to see their faces.

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