What Did People Do?M. Stanley Bubien
Our baby was still crying as I worked him into his car seat. "Honey! Let's go!" I called to my wife who'd disappeared in search of some forgotten, last minute---and did I mention unnecessary?---item.
"Be right down!"
Michael's howls drowned my reply, and I glanced at my watch impatiently: 9:15 pm! "What did people do before cars?" I mumbled to myself. Aloud I blurted, "hurry up! It's late!" as I wrestled Michael's kicking feet into a blanket.
"I'm right here," Lydia responded at my side.
Rolling my eyes, I yanked Michael's seat from the floor, causing a brief pause in his screams, and charged for the garage. Buckling car seat, cranking over engine, and speeding away---the elapsed time barely registered in seconds.
Michael had returned to his cries, but as we wound the onramp onto the highway, he snuffled. I clung the wheel as I accelerated to a constant---and slightly illegal---75 mph., but I began to notice that the rhythmic thrum of the engine. Michael was obviously fading, and after a few more whimpers on his part, finally, silence set in.
My grip loosened on the steering wheel. "He asleep?" I asked Lydia.
She leaned her chair back and adjusted his blanket. Righting herself, she sighed relief, but said, "drive a little longer---to be sure."
I let my ears take in the quiet like breathing fresh air. After a respite, I asked, "what did people do before cars?"
My wife glanced back at Michael, shook her head and chuckled. "Suffered, I guess."
Copyright ©1999 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.
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