I was trying to figure out a very special story to tell you guys in honor of Tracy’s birthday yesterday. There are so many ridiculous tales to chose from, but don’t ask her. Somewhere along the lines of our early twenties, her brain hit the emergency eject button and dumped all the memories of our childhood. Do you know how awful that is, laughing about a memory and then having the other person in the conversation say, “Did that really happen?” You were there, fool!
I’ve picked one that occurred on a cold rainy night. We were in Tracy’s Ford Tempo (the official cool car of kids everywhere in the 90’s). I’m thinking that Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People was jamming on the radio. Tracy’s parents had laid down a strict rule, that car was to stay in town limits. By the time, Marilyn Manson was saying, ‘you can’t smell your own shit on your knees’, we were already five miles out of Cape Charles. In our defense, we were only going to Cheapside to see our friend Renee. It wasn’t really that far away. It was going to be perfectly fine!
Tracy was driving and was accompanied by Wayne in shotgun. I was in the backseat with Shannon, my boyfriend of the time. We were chatting about something, likely some crazy ramble that was coming out of my mouth. We were not paying a bit of attention to life outside of that backseat. Shannon leaned over to kiss me and then my world was rocked.
Sorry, Shannon. Not by you, by Tracy.
Somehow, Tracy had totally forgotten the flow of that road. (Wait, she was forgetting shit back then, too!) Instead of squeezing around that corner, Tracy drove that car right into the ditch, into the field, back into the ditch, back on to the road (hang on, I’m not done yet!), and then back into the ditch. Need that simplified?
Road > Ditch > Field > Ditch > Road > Ditch
It almost looks like a line dance!
As Shannon held his mouth and continued to mumble, ‘My tooth!’, Tracy started into a breakdown that sounded like a siren going off.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! My parents are going to kill me! Oh my God, oh my God, oh my GOD!”
We all shushed her and tried to calm her down, except Shannon who I think was still trying to figure out if my tooth damaged his in the crash. Wayne turned around to me and said, “What do I do?”
“Don’t they slap hysterical women in the movies. Slap her!”
“I’m not slapping her!” Wayne put his hand on Tracy’s shoulder. “Tracy, calm down.”
Wayne, looking much like a deer in headlights or a person in a scary movie, looked back at me. I grabbed Tracy’s sleeve and said, “Tracy! Let’s get out and assess the damage. Open your door and get out.”
She drew in a ragged breath and grabbed her door handle. The handle moved, but the door didn’t. The door was jammed against the ditch wall. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! I’m stuck! Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!”
Minutes later, we were all crawling out the doors on the right side of the car. The rain had picked up and we all stood getting soaked, analyzing the car. We organized together and tried pushing the car. It was not going to budge with just the four of us.
“My parents are going to kill me!”
In the distance, we could see a car coming.
“I’m going to catch a ride with that car.” I started making my way to the edge of the road.
“Mel, what are you doing?” Poor Shannon, I was always doing things that he did not agree with.
“I’m catching a ride to Renee’s.”
“You can’t get in a car with a stranger.”
“What else am I going to do?”
“I’ll go with her.” Tracy scrambled over the ditch to join me.
“You two are crazy!”
Wayne, who understood there was no talking us out of a mission, said, “Shannon, is your brother home?”
“When you get to Renee’s, call Aaron. Tell him to get together the guys and bring a rope or chain.”
“You guys are insane! What if it is a crazy person?” Poor Shannon, poor poor Shannon.
“We are going to be fine. This is so much faster than walking.” I flagged my arms and the vehicle slowed down.
Tracy let out a nervous giggle. “Uh, Mel. Isn’t that guy a crackhead?”
“WHAT?” Shannon started to say more, but I turned around and waved as I jumped in the truck.
“Thanks for the lift. We just need a ride to Bones’ house.”
“I know where that is.”
As we walked in the backdoor of Renee’s house, her mom shouted, “What the hell happened to you two?”
Tracy started to relive the story as I grabbed the phone and called Aaron. I relayed the message. Boys with muscles and a rope. We had to get this car out of the ditch. Within the hour, we were loading up in Brandon’s car with him and Bryan and following Aaron in his truck. At Tracy’s car, a very patient Shannon and Wayne were waiting.
Getting the car unstuck was not easy. The car was too wedged in the ditch to pull it directly onto the road. With much yanking, Aaron was finally able to pull the car with his truck out of the ditch and into the field. He unhooked the rope and pulled out onto the road. Our troubles weren’t over though. The car would not budge in the field.
“You girls get in the car. Put it in reverse and we’ll push you back some. See if you can get some traction.”
Tracy put the car in reverse and lightly applied some pressure to the gas pedal. The boys lined up at the front of the car and pushed from the hood. The car wasn’t gaining much and one of those boys yelled, “Give it more gas!”
Well, that did it. The car started to fly in reverse. The tires became machine guns and started shooting mud bullets. The boys were pelted with clumps of mud. As the car wheeled away, we could see them all covering their face. Tracy pulled onto the road and we waited in silence. The back doors opened. Wayne and Shannon climbed in, completely covered in mud.
Tracy and I busted out laughing.
Back at Renee’s house, Tracy and I battled the increasing wind speeds and rain. We scrubbed all the evidence off her car. Thank goodness, this would be something her parents would never find out about.
The next day I called Tracy. “I’m grounded.”
As luck would have it, Tracy’s parents took her car that morning while she was sleeping. They were heading K-Mart and experienced a flat tire on the way. Lucky for them, the blowout occurred right by a service station. As Debbie and Grover sat patiently in the lobby, the mechanic came in from the shop.
“Have you been four wheeling with that car?”
A confused Grover was escorted to the garage and was struck by an odd sight. The undercarriage of the car was covered in mud and there were strands of wheat hanging from every nook and cranny.
Happy Birthday Tracy! I’m so glad you at least remember who I am. You do, right?
Tracy and I, Blazin’ Flippers circa de 1995
Me and Tracy, circa de 1997
Tracy and me, 2010
Me and Tracy, Her birthday 2011. Boy, I can really muck up a picture!