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Looking Back

My father always had a Buick. With a family of seven though dad was pushing the Buick envelope. I guess he figured that if he had enough kids Buick might come out with a bus model. Then he came home in the Vista Cruiser.

Suddenly there was a seat for every bottom and a window for every set of eyes. It was huge and yet sporty. The Vista Cruiser came complete with five separate doors and windows in the roof. Now, if planes, tornados, alien spacecraft or anything else noteworthy passed above the vehicle everyone could see it. All the seats behind the front, folded down so you could haul enough cargo to supply the armed services of a smaller size nation or enough groceries to feed a family of seven for a month. I remember dad complaining that those groceries cost a hundred bucks.

Now I can't a hundred dollars worth of groceries to go that far if I take it out of the bag and smear it around. With five doors, the ingress and egress maneuvers could now be performed without fisticuffs or kicking. Soon we had assigned seating which even added to the speed and ease of loading. There was the front bench seat.

My father was the permanent driver so it was mandatory he was behind the wheel. The front passenger side was occupied by the official driving critic and cruise director, my mother. Between them they would alternate my youngest brother or my youngest sister. When one of them was front and center the other would be secured in the middle of the second bench seat. Behind the driver was designated my other brother. It was determined early on that if he was within arms reach of my father, discipline could be administered without stopping the vehicle except for extreme whacking sessions.

My father was a high school teacher back when physical discipline (violence) was just a part of the curriculum. When dad thumped your noggin it automatically emptied out all nonessential thoughts and reset. Kind of an early form of a re-booting. The passenger side, behind mom, was the back-up mother, my sister Janell.

Janell was also voted the one most likely to blow chunks, since she got motion sickness just turning her head too fast. If she glanced down while the car was moving it was a pretty safe bet things were not going to go well. Her mandatory position was looking forward out the front window at all times and she had permission to roll down her window in a snow storm if she so desired.

My assigned seat was even more remote. Behind the second bench, in the floor was a seat that folded up like some secret agent feature on a spy car. It was so cool it didnít even face the same way as the other seats.

It faced the rear. It even had its own private door. Even more significant that door which was huge and had its own Power window.

Finally, I, as the eldest son, had received the honor and prestige I truly deserved. I could stare out that window and see everywhere we went without having to look past the distracting forest of family members. There was only one small glitch in my otherwise perfect world.

I was not in control of the window. At any moment and without warning, my father could remotely operate my window. Imagine you are flying some sort of super high tech jet down the freeway backward. When suddenly my canopy would open, just a crack. Flying reverse mach three, I could have been sucked right out of that crack if it were not for my restraining belt. At the very least I would be snapped abruptly from a perfectly good day dream.

One day as we were cruising along on another of our many family outings, my father decided that the family had gotten entirely enough freash and it was time to pressurize the cabin. He began to roll up my window. I don't really know what was going through my pre-teen head at that time. Maybe I decided that I had not had my fill of fresh air. Whatever my reasons were, I placed my fingers on top of the window as it was going up and began to push down. I remember that I had to strain against the force of the rising glass and that in order to focus all my power I closed my eyes and pushed down with all my might.

I did not open my eyes until I felt the sensation of pliers closing on each of my fingertips. Now I was in serious trouble. Obviously I had not forseen this.

It is safe to say that my reasoning power or even common sense had not yet totally developed. I did not feel the need to alert the rest of the passengers to the fact that the village idiot had done it again. With both hands secured in the window it dawned on me that rolling the window down myself was not going to be an option. Maybe if I waited quietly the family would need air and dad would roll the window down again.

At least a crack. I only needed it down just a smidgen. My fingers really hurt.

I hoped someone needed air soon. Then came the regularly scheduled security scan of the mobile playpen by my mother. She spotted me flopping around attempting to free my fingers. For a moment she just watched, trying to decide if her eyes were deceiving her. No, the oldest child had indeed got himself trapped in the back window.

"Dear, you better roll the back window down a little. Your first born is stuck in it," she reported to my father. Dad did a quick glance into the rear view mirror and confirmed her statement. Being a high school teacher whacking students was perfectly fine, swearing in front of them was not. I had the ability to really catch him off guard.

Normal vocabulary words were not going to be enough to convey his extreme displeasure. "What the Hell are you doing back there?" He asked. I said nothing.

What could I say? "I fell asleep with my hands were out the window?" "I wanted to see if my fingertips would flap in the breeze?" I don't know. Nothing really seemed to come to mind at that moment. Maybe, the blood flow to my small brain was being cut off by the pressure on my fingertips. The window slowly went down a little and I was able to retrieve my fingers. As I my fingers in I observed there was now a dent in each fingertip that seemed to be more than half way through each.

I was pretty sure these dents would be permanent. My father drove on muttering, swearing quietly to himself.

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