Baby and I rolled out of our hometown of Roadapple Ridge, Iowa on our way to the High Country of Colorado. I’ve always loved to drive, including drive people crazy, and I’ve spent more days than I’d like to admit just cruising. Waking up in one state and bedding down in another hundreds of miles away wasn’t new to me.
If you can’t tell it already, I have a lot of RAM in my head. Random Access Memory. The weirdest things just pop into my head sometimes, little snippets of my life and whatnot. We saw a school bus heading the other direction into town, and I caught a glimpse of a kid with football pads on, and those two things put together made me think of my dad’s football cheer before an Iowa Hawkeyes game:
hold ’em down and
I don’t know how old I was when I realized the last word should have rhymed with ruck, but I do remember that I kept bursting into unexpected laughter while we watched the game on an ancient black and white Zenith TV that was bigger than my first apartment. Seemed like it, at least. I watched John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s funeral on that TV, and I wasn’t tall enough yet to look over the top of it.
My old man was one random dude, too. We’d sit on the couch and watch the game, him cheering every time Iowa scored, then yelling to get off their asses when they didn’t. He and Ma would talk while the commercials were on — insert Ward and June Cleaver here — and then he’d jump up and stand just off to the side of the TV. The game would come back on, and a few seconds later he’d do one of two things: a) he would lean over and stare down the front of that old Zenith like he was waiting for something to pop out of it, and then Ma would bust out laughing, or b) he’d mutter unintelligibly under his breath, and then Ma would bust out laughing.
It took a while to figure that one out, but I finally did. Turns out he was ogling the Iowa cheerleaders when the network would show them, or bitching when they didn’t. To put it more succinctly, he was trying to get a better peek down their cleavage, as if he was standing right in front of them.
The whole idea that you can actually adjust the camera’s angle — you can’t, I’ve tried — but just the *idea* of it is too absurd for words. He wasn’t dumb, he was one hell of a smart guy, but he pretended like, maybe *this* time, he just might be able to see down her shirt. He did it just to get a laugh out of Ma. It worked every time, too. Half the fun was watching his face.
My soul was restless as we rolled up and down the hills of Iowa, and I couldn’t find anything that felt right on the satellite radio, so I did what I sometimes do best: something completely absurd and random. I spun the dial on the satellite receiver and grinned when it landed on one of Baby’s favorites, the 50’s channel. The first notes of Chuck Berry’s “No Particular Place To Go” filled the truck. That’s irony. We were cruising along in the truck, Baby beside me at the wheel, but we DID have a particular place to go. We had to go to Colorado so I could teach that boa not to be a dipshit.
“JD, tell me a story,” Baby said.
“You’ve heard ’em all.”
“I know,” she smiled, “but I want to hear a story.”
“Well okay then!” Baby always giggles at that line because I lifted it from the movie Raising Arizona. After decades of practice I sound sort of like the guy in the parole board hearing. “What story do you want to hear?”
“The one about the stolen railroad locomotive.”