In spite of appearing contrary, I have nursed my back these last two days in a state of total sloth. Not my style, and alleviated only a tiny bit by listening to an all time favorite, Middlemarch. I love Elliot’s tour de force, as if she was saying to the world, “look, I know almost everything, and see what I can do with it!”
Her detail is exquisite. Little boys, “standing between their father’s knees as he drove leisurely,” brought to mind first my brothers, then my sister standing in the middle of the front seat of the car, between my parents; the catbird seat. Certainly not safe, but way before seat belts, interstate highways and seventy mile per hour speed limits. My mother could restrain any child in the front seat.
My own children and my nephews enjoyed the same vantage point. As parents we thought nothing of it. My husband and I felt we had improved on the arrangement with the seat we had for our daughter. Wooden buttons for spinning and a tray of cheerios and the kid was all set.
There were motorcycles, too. My sister-in-law, my brother, my husband and I all rode together. With our children. Beth was six, Shelly four, Michelle three. They had helmets.
Beth was old enough to ride behind me. Shelly rode in front of my husband; Michelle generally was in front of Helyn. On the gas tanks. Or, as Helyn said years later, “We thought we were invincible.”
This winter is invincible, too. I drove home from work in sleet and hail, only because, at thirty eight degrees it’s too warm to snow.