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2004-05-28 - 2:04 a.m.

When Myra and I talk about going on road trips it sometimes makes us think back on the bad old days when we used to have to endure long, long road trips in the back of an un-air-conditioned Ford Pinto. We traveled cross country a couple of times a year between Colorado, where we lived, to Louisiana, where the relatives lived.

This trip was always hellish for us. The back seat of that Ford Pinto was designed in such a way that a person taller than 3'6" would have to sit with their knees under their chin for the whole ride. It was insanely hot and getting hotter going towards Louisiana. It was like driving a Pinto into Hell. Every stop along the way was more humid than the last. In Colorado, AC is not standard equipment. It's not necessary there. In Louisiana, you're crazy if you don't get air conditioning for your vehicle.

Add to that my tendency to become ... shall we say... less angelic than usual... when I am too hot. Humidity upsets my chi. I was also a teenager when we had the Pinto and this in itself caused me to be somewhat intolerant of my hyperactive, perpetually flailing sister.

My hair, at the time, was approximately 3 feet long or so, and this was a problem in the back seat of the tiny car with the wind whipping through my very long hair, creating knots. It was pure torture for me being trapped in the back of a Pinto with my hair, the sister, the heat, and the humidity. Every now and then something funny would happen to get our minds off the misery.

When I say "something funny", I mean "something appalling" usually. One time we had to travel with both our cats in that tiny car, and the cats were freaking out. One tried to make a break for it, out the back of the car at a rest stop, and my dad slammed the hatchback door on my mom's head while trying to stop the cat. That was a hoot. Everyone was stressed out, mom cried, it was a bad moment, but we ALL laugh about it now.

Another time, my sister tossed a raisin into the front seat of the car and my dad "killed it". He hammered it with his fist, because he thought it was a bug. We laughed our asses off about that. Dad never did see the humor in that, but we did.

After all the stuff we went through getting to Louisiana, we were always happy to see Granny and all the rest of the relatives. Then we grew up and moved here like crazy fools and Granny had the NERVE to kick off. I mean, come on. We made the supreme sacrifice of living here to be near the grandparents and I'll be damned if they didn't all kick the bucket within a fairly short span of each other.

I still laugh when I think about how Dad looked killing that raisin.

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