Msnowe's Blog

Back Seat

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on March 19, 2010

Our father would drive us 3 miles to the house where he grew up. We turned onto his old street and jostled down the pot-holed stretch, creeping along as both my mother and father craned their necks in opposite directions out their side-windows, ensuring that kids on the block were not poised to run out between the tightly spaced parked cars on either side of the curb.

Our grandparents’ driveway sloped down and ended where their short backyard began. The backyard was small, with a tiny hill in the very back that led up to an iron-wrought fence cordoning off the local cemetery. Their powder-blue Chrysler was parked perfectly at the very bottom of the sloped driveway, passengers facing the street. Every Sunday we arrived at the same time. Every Sunday, both my grandparents were already buckled in, staring out and up into the street, waiting for us.

Our parents would pull up to the curb and rush us out of our minivan and into Nan and Pop’s back seat. One of the three of us would jungle-gym over the adjustable armrest into the middle front seat between them. Cars were also sofas: comfortable, spaces for a playful jump or push. As soon as the car started, it would talk to us in a robotic male voice. “The door is ajar.” “Please buckle your seat belt.” Never once were we given a command in that car by a living, breathing person.

Our grandparents slid in the tape they played for us on Sunday drives. “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” would cycle on after a few seconds of rewinding clicks and burps from the mouth of the tape deck. My sisters and I had the timing down, and in unison would add our own “woof woofs!”

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