PULLING THE SCOTTY
I am tossed from side to side
between my Mother and Daddy
as the little green GMC pickup truck
slowly makes it way up Old Cherry Mountain Road.
Every so often Mother would yell “Stop, Cecil!”
Daddy would explain for the dozenth time that
he’d have to get to the curve first.
Once we were at the level place in the road,
the three of us would climb out and trot
back down the road to retrieve the rock Mother
wanted for her rock garden.
Daddy would place it in just the right place
in the back of the truck and we’d all climb back in.
Occasionally I’d lollygag and end up sitting by the window
where I stretched out my hand to snap off
long fronds of Queen Annes Lace that happily
grew at the edges of the old road.
Daddy would go through the gears on the steering column,
first, clutch, second, clutch … and the truck would balk
at the idea of switching up to third gear, so we’d settle
into second as the rock in the back lurched backwards.
Mother laughed and Daddy would shake his head …
Mary Alice and her rock obsession! He adored her for it.
Merrily rolling behind us was our turquoise and white
Scotty Camper, rocking side to side like a happy drunkard,
the yellow ping-pong ball smiley face hanging in the window
seemed to echo its elation. It had followed us from
South Georgia along the slick concrete freeways that
ker-thunk ker-thunked beneath the wheels, and later
along sharply curving mountain roads where Mother was
certain it would tip over at every switchback.
We finally rolled into Bill and Nancy’s campsite
on Cherry Mountain and Daddy set the emergency brake.
My cousins, Tim and Jeff climbed out of the creek
shaking off water as they ran up the hill. Mother opened up
the Scotty and began bringing out lawn chairs.
Daddy used the rocks in the back of the truck to
keep the Scotty from rolling down Cherry Mountain.
That night I slept in the overhead bunk in the Scotty
gazing past the Smiley Faced ping-pong ball at the same
moon I would come to adore over the next fifty years
with the cousin I would someday learn to call “Mom”.