Monday, June 4, 2007

the bump in cheyenne

That summer evening in the camper was a typical looking night. Cheyenne’s only interest to us that day had been the gift shops and the Safeway store. But now, as we neared another standard gas station, it seemed of little interest to us – except maybe for a bargain soda. The macaroni was on the stove, and we were all involved in our own little worlds, expecting supper soon after gas – probably by moonlight at a dreary rest stop. My mind had strayed to greater things though.

I, as a guard of a Union train and its passengers during the Civil War, thought it my duty to protect them. Firing through the windows of our train car, I saw the enemy train racing past, firing into ours. Quick, up front! Reloading, I climbed up into the overcab. There lay Jennifer in a classic pose of stoic boredom: lying flat on her stomach, head in her hands, eyes staring sightlessly. Karen, sensing a 35 cent soda, was climbing down from the bed. But I had no time for this nonsense: I had a battle to fight. Take aim – CRASH!!

The world turned upside down as we left the street. In an instant it had happened – the biggest bump! The tiny drainage ditch, crossed at an angle, had turned the camper into mayhem. The results, disasterous. Poor, unsuspecting Jennifer, was hurled onto her back in an instant, where she lay stunned, from which she never fully recovered. Innocent Karen, wishing only for a cold drink and undeserving of such punishment, hit the floor, bottom first. Our would-be dinner lay also upon the floor. Kathleen, our cook, later fought valiantly to save at least some of it, so that others might partake of its cheesy flavor. To others in the cab, I know not of their ordeals, although assuredly great.

But of all these disasters, I know not of any greater than mine. I lay there, shocked, my loaded musket unused, the hostile train mysteriously escaped, gone from memory – the battle lost! Of course the counters and shelves of the camper were cleaned in the wink of an eye, but the trip, in spite of the catastrophe, was not a total loss. And in reverence I know that in time all mankind wilt know of this, the big bump, greatest page in the history of our life.

July 4, 1983 (age 14)

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