Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sundaes in the Car with George


If you remember the movie "Christine" you know what the old man's first American car was. When he got over here from Europe the first thing he did was buy himself a red '58 Plymouth Fury with a white interior, white wall tires, steering, brakes and tailfins that could turn the Andrea Doria on a dime.
In other words, subdued, elegant.
In later years he sold that car to my mom's friend who had it painted pink in a pre-Mary K frenzy and I had one of my most famous carsick hurls onto a cop's shoes in the back seat of her.
But that's another Bunny for another day.
The old man was proud of his new ride and fanatical about its upkeep. After all, the best wheels he could afford in the old country was probably a converted Messerschmidt with the wings lopped off and the engine replaced with a bicycle tire pump.
This baby had straight six power and the old man knew how to use it.

On his first summer in country he decided to do as the natives do and go on a road trip. He fancied himself an outdoorsman having spent a better part of the war outdoors as people kept shelling houses he was in. Anyway, he could point to a picture of a deer or bear and declare that neither of these belonged in the living room so I guess he had his credentials there.
He and his friend packed up their respective wives in their respective cars and headed north to the state park. Now the old man had the Plymouth and his pal had a '57 Chevy Bel Air. Four people in two cars that had a combined carrying capacity of Uruguay. What the hell, they were still in the fifties.
The idea was to drive to and through the park to see what they could see. Maybe some wildlife. Maybe they'd stop to pet a bear. Or get it hooked on fried foods and get deer to like smoking cigarettes. They got part way there when the wife of the pal who had a touch of a weight problem like Charlie Manson isn't a people person decided she was hungry. Or maybe it was the Dairy Queen she spied just at the same time as her hubby rang a small bell on the dashboard. We'll never know.
They stopped, the boys both got cones so they could drive and gesture and Mom got the same thing the other gal got probably to assure her that more than one human being could consume a dish about as big as the spare tire; a banana split.
Now a banana split in 1958 was a grand thing. It was served on something like a meat platter, had three basketball scoops of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate ice cream, a split banana that these days gets towed behind a speedboat in the Bahamas, was covered in whipped cream, nuts, sprinkles, cherries, a few pats of butter, onion gravy and bacon bits and finally was floated in a great lake of hot fudge sauce.
While her companion probably was boiling off the extra on the manifold, Mom could only get down to one scoop of ice cream, a few cherries and Lake Michigan that had been Superior of hot fudge.
I can't finish, what should I do with the rest? She asked the old man.
Throw it out the window.
I mean, why the hell not? They were only in a state park. What was the worst that could happen; she'd bean a bear cub who'd just go crying to Mama anyway because he didn't understand the rank deliciousness he'd just been hit with.
Throw it out the window.
Of the speeding car.
Using a forearm motion.
Now this was not what she was instructed to do but it is what she ultimately did. She threw the meat platter out with a forearm heave and the thing left her hand to sail out over the hood of the car where it hovered for just a second until it picked up a new course aft. Not of course until it had bounced off the side pillar of the car and deposited the remaining fudge onto the white interior of the Plymouth such that the old man's car had a cowboy's Pinto motif. The dish then sailed onto the hood and subsequent windshield of the trailing car.
The old man and his bud stopped their vehicles the way you'd expect a jet to tailhook onto the Nimitz. Naturally they were both furious enough to have their first experience with raising children by acting like them. And of course they made the most logical first choice when you're in a state park, you find the first lake to wash the cars in. They backed the leaden beasts up to the edge of the water to wash them, Mom waded into the lake to rinse off, her friend accomodatingly waded in to raise the water level to a more convenient spot and tempers were soothed once the cars got clean, stuck up to their axles in soft sand, the women came out of the water with leeches and they never again did rough it anywhere farther than the parking lot of the A & W.

Bunny on.

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