AuthorsDen.com   Join (Free!) | Login  

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
   Services MarketPlace (Free to post!)
Where Authors and Readers come together!

SIGNED BOOKS    AUTHORS    eBOOKS new!     BOOKS    STORIES    ARTICLES    POETRY    BLOGS    NEWS    EVENTS    VIDEOS    GOLD    SUCCESS    TESTIMONIALS

Featured Authors:  Walt Hardester, iLinda Frank, iTygo Lee, iWynn Schiller, iLloydene Hill, iSage Sweetwater, iCheri Dohnal, i

  Home > Inspirational > Stories
Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Alan D Busch

· Become a Fan
· Contact me
· Success story
· Books
· Articles
· Poetry
· News
· Stories
· Blog
· Messages
· 190 Titles
· 221 Reviews
· Save to My Library
· Share with Friends!
·
Member Since: Feb, 2008

Alan D Busch, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.




Featured Book
Noddy in Wonderland
by Paddy Bostock

Will wonders never cease?..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members


Featured Book
The Last Train At Sunset
by Pearl Nsiah-Kumi

The Last Tran At Sunset s a collection of poems, short articles, and Bible studies. The articles are short and easy to understand, and point to Jesus as the Son of God a..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members





Share    Print  Save   Become a Fan


Cruising Route 66 With Dad
By Alan D Busch
Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

Share this with your friends on FaceBook

This a newly revised and expanded chapter 1 of my manuscript in progress about my father's last weeks of life and the time we spent together.

   Cruising Route 66 With Dad

It was such a hot summer Sunday that the black pitch used
to
patch the roads reached its boiling point by mid-morning, a matter of some concern to local highway and volunteer fire departments.

As we crossed over the mighty Mississippi from Missouri to Illinois, my father, a genuine sun worshipper, gleefully lowered the convertible top of his flashy Ford Thunderbird.Fashionably dubbed the “T-Bird” by afficionados, my dad, older brother Ron and I cruised along U.S. Rte. 66 from St. Louis to Chicago. It happened one summer Sunday, a lifetime ago. Life was … good.

My brother Ron and I couldn’t have been more excited. Anticipating a grand week in Chicago with Dad, we rode very comfortably in the leather –upholstered back seat where any  mischief might at least remain undetected for a while which, as matter of fact, it did or so we  thought.

My folks had recently divorced and, as the courts typically decided in those days, the mother received custody of the children. Don’t get me wrong. We loved Mom then as we do now forty-five years later. Simple as that.  My dad too, to his everlasting credit-though the non-custodial parent-was then and has always been a conscientious father. While we saw him only four times a year, he more than made up for the infrequency of his visits by the quality of the time he spent with us.

We had just passed through Litchfield, Illinois, one of those “slice of Americana” towns you’d miss had you so much as blinked or nodded off for a second. In the old days before the interstate was rerouted outside the town, “motorists’, as they used to be called, drove through the town itself, stopping at every red light, “stop” sign, Esso “filling” station (remember their slogan that advised us to ‘put a tiger in your tank?’) and “Dog ‘n Suds”.

 Now there was no finer lunch to be had on a sultry summer day than a Dog N’ Suds all-American beef hotdog on a steamed poppy seed bun with everything on it (naturally!), the greasiest fries you could ever imagine and an ice cold root beer.

“Hey, you guys hungry?”
“Hey yea, Dad!  How ‘bout Dog and Suds?”
“I was thinking the very same thing. I see their sign up ahead.”

“What are we gonna tell Dad?” I whispered to Ron, nearinga state of panic.
“What are you asking me for? I’m not the one who lost his cap,” Ron shot back.
“Me?"

“Yea, you.”
’ Why did you dangle it in front of my face?”
’Why did you reach for it?”
“You think we can go back and find it?” I asked pleadingly.
“Are you whacky? That was probably thirty miles back. It’s long gone by now. Probably hanging off the hook of some fisherman’s pole.”
“You really think so?”
“Yup.”

 As for the cap, a powerful wind swept across the historic Eads Bridge just as we crossed the state line into Illinois. and snatched it from Ron's hand. We gasped as we watched it fall into the barge-congested, muddied waters of the Mississippi River. It probably never even came close to reaching New Orleans

Should we have shared the cap between us? Well sure, but that was way too adult for two eight and ten-year old brothers.. And so we tussled about who would wear it first and for how long. “Boys will be boys,” I saw my Dad mouth, smiling contentedly, when both he and I looked into the rear-view mirror at the same time.

My father loves the sunshine, the brighter, the hotter, the better. But, as with everything, there is a limit, and my father reached his that day. He had driven bare-headed from St. Louis and, by the time we reached Litchfield, given the baldness of his pate, it had become too hot even for him.

“Wow, the top of my head is burning up,” Dad remarked as he pulled up to the Dog ‘n Suds Drive-In. Edging up to the two-way speaker as closely as he could to avoid having  to hang out the window to place our order, he depressed his automatic window switch.

“Boys, will you hand me up my cap, pl … ?”

“Welcome to Dog N’ Suds. May I take your order?” a

pleasant
lady’s voice asked

“Oh, okay, sure,’ Dad responded, turning back to the
speaker.


Hi, okay, thank you. One moment, Miss.  'Fellas' hot dogs

and fries, right? Shakes too?” We nodded eagerly.

‘Yea sure, Dad, two chocolates, right?” Ron turned to me,
beseeching my quick agreement.

“Hello sir, may I have your order please?” she requested again with the slightest trace of irritation in her voice.

Dad turned back quickly to place our order. Whew! Saved by the lady’s voice in the Dog N” Suds speaker.

“Yes, sorry about that” he began, “We’ll have three dogs with

the works, three fries, two chocolate shakes and one extra large

root beer.”

Within five minutes, our roller skating teenage waitress hooked  

our tray onto Dad’s half open window.

What a treat! And you know the best part of it all? Dad’s extra

large root beer struck out the flame scorching the top of his head.

Maybe, just maybe he’d forget about the cap. Ron and I wolfed

down our dogs, fries and shakes.

“You guys ready?”

“Yes Dad, thank youuuuu …” Ron and I lazily responded,

feigning irrepressible sleepiness while harmonizing our yawns

and stretching our arms overhead. Good thing the top was

already down. We would have gone straight through it

otherwise. We handed up our trash to Dad.

“Hey, you know,” Dad cheerfully said, “By the time you guys

wake up from your naps, we’ll probably be in Chicago.”

Thinking we had pulled the proverbial wool over Dad’s eyes,

Ron and I “dozed off.”

Have you ever noticed how summer weather can dramatically

change within several minutes? As we approached Lincoln,

Illinois, about forty miles beyond Litchfield, those big, fluffy,

puffy gray rainclouds- which had been looming overhead ever

since we left Litchfield-became ominously dark, blotting out

the rays of sunshine, a welcome respite from the intense heat.

Dad put up the convertible top.

“Hey boys, everything all right back there? You sleep okay?”

Ron looked at me. I looked at him. The jig was up! “Oh just

great Dad. Are we almost there?”

“No. we’ve got a ways yet.”

“Dad, is there another Dog N’ Suds coming up?” Ron

inquired.

“Hey, yea Dad, how ‘bout those shakes?” I chimed in.

“Don’t know Son. I had a root beer. Remember? Oh, by the

way, my cap … do you guys got it back there?”

You may not believe this, but at that precise moment, Dad’s

cap probe was interrupted yet again, but this time by a 

thunderclap so startlingly loud that I spilled the rest of Dad’s

root beer on Ron’s shirt. What fell from the sky were not

raindrops but rain buckets. Dad switched his wipers on high, but

they could not keep up with the deluge.

Dad pulled over. We’d wait this one out. After five minutes,

the rain stopped, having moved out as quickly as it had

moved in. The temperature must have dropped fifteen

degrees. Dad put the top down again and seemed happy, you

know carefree. Pulling off his shirt at a rest area, he drove the

rest of the way into Chicago bare-chested and still bare-headed,

smiling broadly. He certainly appeared to be enjoying life-kind

of like the idealized characters depicted on the ubiquitous

marketing billboards. Remember their smiling faces fashionably

accentuated by Marlboros or Benson and Hedges and whose

hair was as wind-blown as Dad’s would have been had he still

had the red wavy locks of his youth?

My father never mentioned the cap again. Did he realize what

had happened? Probably did, but this week in Chicago would be

his time with us and ours with him. Jeopardize that over a

cap? My dad wouldn’t have done that. Besides, the cap wasn’t

exactly a Biltmore black Canadian suede fedora, just a cloth

cap, no big deal, right? And you know what? Even had it been

a Borsalino, my father was wise enough to know that it’s not the

hat but the head wearing it which makes the difference.

 Alan D. Busch

10/18/0

 

 

 


Want to review or comment on this short story?
Click here to login!


Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!






Children's Stories Volume 2 by Janice Scott

This second volume of short stories is again suitable for children and adults, since the stories can be read at more than one level. ..  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members


The story that must be told by Robert Davis

Twenty one courageous and inspirational stories including the story COP OUT. Written and edited by Irene Watson and Victor Volkman...  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us


Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.