Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Albany, New York or Bust by Margaret Ullrich, part 2, Transplanting


It's interesting to see robins searching for worms.
Mama Robin sticks her beak into the dirt and digs.
She really does toss out the dirt.
Our yard's walkway is littered with the dirt from her digging.

Mama is totally giving the cold shoulder to Junior.
He's right behind her, a really noisy fellow.
He can chirp all he wants, as far as Mama is concerned.
He's bigger than she is. 
Time for him to fend for himself.

Now that the garden is chive-free we can see more from our kitchen window.
This is a much better view than the one we had in 1972.


We're waiting for a tornado to blow in from Saskatchewan.
It's muggy and overcast.
It's a perfect day for paying bills.
Amazing the dent the property tax and a mastercard bill can make in a bank balance.
Didn't forget to renew our CAA membership.
Whether it's CAA or AAA, our relationship goes back a long way.
If it wasn't for them in 1972, we'd still be stuck in a ditch.

Forty years ago today we were on our way to Canada.
More or less.

We'd gotten up nice and early.
As our trailer was parked a block from my parents' home, we had breakfast with them.
After breakfast we left to cram more crap into our trailer.
Just before we were ready to go, everyone came and wished us well.
They wrote messages in our travel diary and waved us off.
By 1:00 pm we were on our way.

By 1:30 we were back.
Our trailer was making the car lurch to one side.
Not good.

Ma's brother, Uncle Charlie, had helped Paul make some adjustments to our trailer.
Originally our little Shasta was supposed to sleep six.
Well, we didn't need bedding for four other people.
The shelf, which was supposed to sleep two, was heavily packed.
Where there had been a couch, there was now a closet and cabinet. 

The lurching was not caused just by the junk we were hauling.
Pop and Charlie had given Paul some 2 x 4s they'd had laying around.
Good, sturdy wood.
Heavy wood.
Much heavier than the flimsy furring strips, which were just 1 x 2s.
It was a wonder that the trailer wasn't laying on its side like a dead horse.


Okay, on to plan B.
Pop, Uncle Charlie and my brother George helped Paul redistribute the load.
It only took a little over an hour.
While they packed, I listened to Ma saying we should wait a day.
Nope.  I explained to her that we had a schedule.
Paul had planned all the stops along the way.
First night - Albany.
Of course we'd make it, just a little late.
By 3:00 pm we we were on our way.


Paul missed the exit for the Garden State Thruway.
So, we were delayed another hour.
Did that make us rethink the plan?
Nope.  We were young.
Time was a moveable, elastic feast.


After 5:00 pm truckers take over the highways.
They were doing 75.
We were doing 55.
Our trailer was like a ship's sail.
By 7:30 pm we'd been blown off the road.

The mud in the ditch slowed us so we didn't crash into a farmer's fence.
A family came by to help.
When we opened the door, we saw that our possesions had been redistributed.
Only the ceramic house-shaped cookie jar cover was broken.

The cops came to examine the damage.
The mud had bent the blades of the fan.
The bent blades had bored a hole into the radiator.
The AAA tow truck came by to take us to Kingston, New York.

By 9:10 we were settled for the night in an Esso station.

No, we weren't in Albany.
But, we were in one piece.

Yes, CAA or AAA, our relationship goes back a long way.

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