somebody’s watching you!

July 19th, 2009

Some times on Sundays, when we were growing up, Dad would say, “Let’s go for a Sunday Drive!” which was fine by Mother, who enjoyed getting out of the house and out of the kitchen.  Dad would usually have a quasi-destination in mind; a sprawling farm to feast his eyes on, a Morgan horse to consider buying, or simply the Oceanside and sit beside and smell.  We children loved the Sunday Drives because our good car behavior would inevitably be rewarded at the end of the trip with an ice cream cone or pink-spiced popcorn.

The six of us would pile into the Vista Cruiser and motor forward, sometimes singing together or playing math games directed by Dad.  One time, when I was sitting in the way back and bored to tears, I began whistling a current favorite and when the sound reached the front of the car, Mother and Dad turned at the same instant to inquire, “What on earth are you whistling?”  “Basin Street Blues,” I replied.  They looked at each other in bemusement and didn’t inquire further.  Unbeknownst to them, I’d been playing their vinyls for several years and by age eight was a devoted Blues fan.

On the home-bound leg of the trip, with children silenced by the consumption of our reward, Mother and Dad would begin a conversation of their own, in the intimate cadence of love and comfort that came with time and familiarity.  I presume they thought we weren’t listening because they’d often use made-up words or abbreviations with which to communicate.  But I was always listening, because it was fascinating, this love language of theirs.

At a certain point, Mother would always ask Dad, “What would you like for supper?”  Dinner, on Sundays, was always served at lunchtime, and supper served at dinnertime and thus more casual than the rest of the week.  Dad would ponder a moment and then suggest something similar to this, “Some C.S.S., and a T.S would be nice.”  Mother would then add, “Along with an H.R?”  It took me a number of Sunday Drives to crack their code, and this is what they meant:  some cold, sliced steak, tossed salad and a hard roll.

One day after their menu consideration had transpired, I piped in, from the back seat, “Don’t forget the E.D.B.M.O.T.R.W.A.O!”  “What on earth is that,” they asked.  “An extra dry Beefeater martini on the rocks with an olive!” said I.  They sheepishly turned back around and I went on slurping my ice cream cone.  So much for codes.

Who's watching whom?

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.