WEEK 10 Prompt: The key is in the lock, but I can’t turn it. (11-01-2009)
It was a rainy, November night and I needed to run out quickly to the local convenience market around the corner. With seven children, I could still have two full gallons of milk in the refrigerator after serving supper, but by 11:00 PM be completely out. This night was no exception. My husband insisted on going out for me, saying, “…there are crazy people out there this time of night, why don’t you just let me go for you?” He was always so thoughtful.
Our daughter, Michelle overheard the conversation and ran into the room saying she needed a can of soda for her field trip the next day. Juice boxes, glass bottles and thermoses were not allowed according to her teacher. And of course, that was all that I had in the cupboards. Michelle, about to turn 13 at the end of the month, insisted on going to the store to select her own flavor of soda, wanting to see first hand what selections “Honey Farms” carried. We did not usually shop there as their prices tended to be high.
She reminded my husband and I about the “buddy system” we had in our household. That being said, you do not go out after dark alone. She proposed she and I should go together. She was very convincing. Giving it some thought, my husband and I both agreed it would be an opportunity for “Mother/Daughter bonding” time. With a large family, you make the most of every opportunity to spend time with each and every one of your children, whenever that time may be. This seemed the best time tonight. Word spreads quickly in a household with five daughters. Now Michelle’s sibling and roommate, Jennifer, almost six years old, wanted to come along too. They were inseparable. This now became “Mother/Daughters” bonding time.
Michelle and Jennifer hopped into our green, 9-passanger Pontiac station wagon and I drove down the street in a downpour. It was one of the first cars to have automatic safety locks on the back side doors, which was one reason we bought this car. Michelle began to read to Jennifer from a book laying on the back seat. Then, Michelle spoke up. “Mom, just give me the money, pull up in front of “Honey Farms” and I will run in to get what we need”. It sounded reasonable. Michelle was very responsible this way. And that is precisely why my husband and I thought it appropriate that she should be given a house key for her 13th birthday. She may need it for emergencies.
I live-parked on West Central Street directly in front of the store and handed Michelle a twenty dollar bill. She pulled the hood of her sweatshirt over her head and darted for the door barely 20 feet away dodging puddles as she ran. Within a few minutes, I noticed a parking space became available directly in front of the door, so I pulled in and waited there. I continued to read Jennifer her story.
I looked up just in time to see Michelle standing at the register. I was almost finished with Jennifer’s story so I continued. A minute later, Jennifer and I watched as Michelle burst through the door, ran directly past our car, across the parking lot to the side walk on West Central Street. She ran right up to an identical green, 9-passanger Pontiac station wagon and proceeded to put her key in the passenger side door. Then she ran around the car and tried her key in the driver’s passenger door. I jumped out of the car and ran towards her. She hollered, “ The key is in the lock but I can’t turn it.” She did not believe it was not our car until I pointed to it parked directly by the front door. And then, she still had to peer through the windows just to make certain!
She was drenched by now, so was I. The brown grocery bag disintegrated around the milk. She was so embarrassed at the time, she told me, to think someone may have been watching her trying to get into their car. Years later, she tells me, how embarrassed she is now looking back, because she also thought the key we gave her for her birthday opened every lock in the world.
It has become a standing joke at our house now. When she and her family are leaving after a visit to head back to Connecticut, I always ask if: they have everyone they came with, everything they brought with them, and their keys (plural). Michelle will hold up one key on its key ring and say, “This is the only one I need, “ and grin. I look at my Grandchildren and say, “ Let me tell you one of your Mom’s favorite crazy stories when she was little.” I have a captive audience.
John, I tried last night and today to post this on the class blog. It says it will not accept my html. Any suggestions?