THE MIDNIGHT SKULKER 29
Friday, March 2, 1974
4:52 p.m. Central Standard Time
Spotting their tan, 1973 ‘Mercury’ Station Wagon, “Thank God!” Quickly unlocking and tossing their two suit cases through the rear door, then unlocking the passenger door for Marsha, Mitchell rushed to the driver-side door as she reached across the seat to unlock it.
Out of the wind now, sitting a moment to acclimate to the comparative quiet, putting the key into the ignition, starting the motor, letting it run for about thirty seconds, Mitchell turned the heater to ‘Hi’, put the car into ‘D’, and drove from the parking lot.
Grey exhaust smoked from the thousands of cars that inched their way through the snow-induced, extended rush hour.
Slapping from side to side, the wipers of the Mercury leaving wide swaths of clear glass, the heat of the defroster melting the hail like snow.
“Mitchie, take it easy! You knew we’d be running into traffic at this time.”
Too cold for the falling snow to stick, but the wind’s velocity causing it to blow as stinging, billowing white clouds that effected the Friday evening rush hour traffic making it crawl at an even slower pace.
Catching the north-west bound US 90 to Higgins Road which would take them through Hoffman Estates to Schaumburg; the trip in normal driving time from O’Hare Air Port to Schaumburg would, on average, take forty-five minutes to an hour. But on this evening, considering the wind, snow and traffic, after nearly an hour and fifteen minutes, at the speed they were traveling, it would take, at least, another half hour to get home.
Hearing the rattle of the motorized garage door, other than Myra and Walter – Mitchell’s parents – the entire family, including Sabra was in the lower level of the tri-level house to greet their parents.
Hugs and kisses all around, included Sabra, the Great Dane that, in an copious amount of affection, standing on her rear legs, throwing her front paws onto Marsha’s shoulders, besides a number of abundantly sloppy Great Dane kisses, Marsha was all but knocked off her feet.
“Mom, hi!” The heat of the kitchen and scents of mushroom/barley soup and roast beef assailing their senses, kissing his mother, “God, that smells good!”
Wiping her face as she came into the kitchen, “Hi, Myra.” Kissing her mother-in-law’s cheek, “Thank you!” Marsha said sincerely.
Turning from the stove, returning Marsha’s kiss, “You know it’s my pleasure to watch my grand- children.”
“Hi, Mitch.” Motioning to the evening news on television that was focused on the unmoving traffic on the ‘Kennedy Expressway’. “The ‘Kennedy’s’ a parking lot.”
“Yeah. And the snow’s not helping any. It’s not sticking, but it’s blowing like hell”
“Didn’t expect you to be so late,” Myra called from the kitchen. “Come on, let’s eat!”
“What about the pool?” Sammy asked. “Tell us about the pool.”
The four children, the four adults and Sabra, who’s head – much to Myra’s annoyance – was resting on the table between Mitchell and Michael with her expressive eyes shifting from side to side silently begging for a morsel of food, which, much to both Myra and Marsha’s annoyance, she occasionally received.
Through with the thick soup, — that was almost a meal in itself— a dish of roast beef, asparagus, mashed potatoes and gravy before him, “The back yard is really beautiful. There’s a big peach tree there…”
“With real peaches, Daddy?” Sharon asked.
“No, silly,” Marsha replied, “with plastic peaches… Of course ‘real peaches’!”
“And there’s an orange tree and a lemon tree and, uh, grapefruit, and…”
“An avocado and even persimmon trees.” Marsha added, adding, “Michael, stop feeding that dog!”
“And in the front,” Mitchell said, “there’s an olive tree.” Smiling, “With real olives, Sherry.”
“The pool, Daddy?”
“The pool is about, uh,” gesturing about the width of the kitchen, “a couple of feet wider than here and… as long as… from here,” pointing to the far kitchen wall, “to there,” pointing to the far family room wall.
“Does it have a diving board?”
“Yeah, it does, Mikey.”
“A high diving board?”
“No, Sammy. It doesn’t have a ‘high diving board’.”
“And,” Ellie asked, “it doesn’t snow there… ever?”
Swallowing what he was chewing, “No, honey, it doesn’t snow in San Diego, ever.”
“How close is our home to Grandma and Grandpa?”
Looking at Michael, “About twenty minutes,” Marsha said.
Becoming serious, “Tomorrow,” Looking at Michael, “you and me will go to the A&P to see if we can get boxes so we can start packing some stuff.”
“Yes,” Marsha added, “we’ve only a month to move so we’ve lots of work to do.”
“We’re going to have a ‘mover’, Mom?”
“Yes, Ellie. Daddy’s going to talk to Mr. Plankow…”
“ ‘Mr. Plankow’, that’s Daddy boss?” Michael asked.
“No, he’s not Daddy’s boss. Mr. Plankow owns the company that trained your father and sold us the territory in California.”
“And he said that the company would help with what it cost for us to move to San Diego, so I’ll talk to him on Monday to see what mover he wants us to call.”
©November 3, 2011 / Mark M. Lichterman