NEWS FROM THE SHADOWLANDS
My great uncle, my dad's last uncle I'm told, has passed away at 99.
It's a sad day, but I cannot attend his funeral due to class. And I'm okay with that. I have expected this day for awhile, and am sad but not that broken up.
Ted (I think his full name was Theodore) was my grandfather's older brother (one of them - I forget which order they were in) and he was a good guy. He told good stories, and he loved to drive Cadallacs. He was the owner of a construction company located near Fergus Falls, Minnesota (if you've done buisness with me and know my last name, you've heard of the company.) He always seemed to own a Cadallac deville or equivallent.
When I first learned to drive, we were going up to grandpa's for a visit. It was shortly after Mom's death, and my brothers were in college, so only dad and I went. We ended up going with Ted - I forget what was going on out there, it might've been grandpa's birthday or something - and Ted came with, but insisted on driving his Cadallac Deville. This was back when Devilles were big fancy cars - 1998 - and he owned one of the biggest most comfortable ones. Leather seats, deep green color, the whole package.
Well, we had just left the Big Chief - the truckstop near Fergus on I-94 that's known for its bison burgers - and both Ted and Dad were about ready to take a nap. So guess who's turn it was to drive.
I had gotten my permit late due to a late start at driving school, a lack of interest at 16, and the complications from dealing with Mom's cancer. I had gotten my permit early, so I could've driven her to chemo and doctor appointments, so I had a fair amount of driving experience. On a side note, I had learned to cross four lanes of traffic between the Riverside Avenue exit on I-94 and I-35W, a three mile stretch, at rush hour - both ways - so I had done good so far. (The exits for I-35W are left exits on either side.)
Anyways, I was asked to drive from Fergus to at least Jamestown. Driving a car worth 80,000. Ted had always traded it in - he usually leased cars instead of buying them outright, and thus always had the new model.
Intimidating? You bet it was. I adjusted the seat, checked my mirrors, pulled into traffic, got onto the interstate going west. I avoided the cruise control. I eased into the accelerator. I found my rythym.
We didn't hit anything.
Finally, we got to Jamestown and I graciously let someone else drive. Dad asked Ted how the kid did.
He had been sleeping in the backseat the whole time, and must've somehow knew exactly how many times I wavered over the line closest to the shoulder. The man knew cars, vehicles, you name it. He loved to dance. We were at the VFW for supper once with Dad, myself, and his son Dennis. A good song was played by the band in residence, and he got up and jitterbuged along with it. Ted was a great dancer - I couldn't believe it.
Anytime I drive through Dalton, I will wear my construction cap with pride. Ted had a good run.
In other news, I had my first BA level midterm today. One hour to write two essays by hand. Lame. I got it done in time - but only just. As for the content, I think I did okay.
Also, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (also known as AWP) is coming to Minneapolis again next spring. I will be attending for a change. My teachers have asked me why I haven't gone yet, and I honestly haven't had an answer for them - other than I didn't think I qualified.
Next year, I'm going. And if I do it right, I might be able to go with the college paying my way.