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Don’t Make Me Come Back There

Today Dano was enjoying a greasy sausage, egg, and hash brown with crisp toast breakfast in a local cafe. Just got through smelling the hot steaming java in my real coffee cup not the styrofoam crap you get at the fast food joints. Then this haggard looking woman and her three hyperactive kids came to the register to pay their bill. In the six minutes it took to pay up, the three "ritalin poster child kids" trashed the front end of the place. As mom and the little monsters exited the building without tearing off the screen door, thank goodness for small miracles, one of my mother’s key quotes, no make that key battle cries came to mind - "Don’t make me come back there."

Let me elaborate, the cause for mother’s battle cry was always a trip or an outing in the family station wagon with us six kids in back and dad driving (poor bastard) and mother back seat driving up front. Dear old mom had perfected back seat driving to an art. "Edward you’re going too fast for these curves; you keep crossing the center line. By the way, I just saw a speed limit sign, it says 60mph. Don’t you think you should stay under 70mph and honey if you don’t get in the left lane you are going to miss your turn." That was her standard warm up before she really got down to business. Oh sure, dad threw out the usual male defense remarks like "Dear if you think you can do better you take the wheel," or the classic "Shut-up Kathy I’m trying to drive, I can either drive or talk to you but I can’t do both at the same time!" It was no use mother was a consummate master of the art. In the woman’s operating manual there is a small chapter on back seat driving. I feel some key sentences were authored by my mother. This manual is huge and it does exist because all women think alike on too many things. That is a topic for another day. It may take me two or three days to cover it completely.

When the kids began to act up in back, on top of the regular commotion up front, it often became too much for any two sane parents to bear. Mom would start with the light warning remarks, "Settle down, damn it, can’t you see your father’s trying to drive and you kids better straighten up right now!" Then dad would push her to the next level. "Hell, Kathy, we missed our turn, can’t you do something with those kids!" Mother would follow with, " You all are cruising for a bruising; don’t make me come back there!" Most of the time, that was enough to make us chill out. But for the few times that we didn’t back off (kids will be kids) mom switched into combat mode. "I’ve just about had it! Don’t make me come back there. Don’t make me come back there!" The folks keep a unique window scrapper under the front seat. It had a thick wooden handle with a six inch leather strap on the end opposite the scrapper. Who are we kidding, this was no tool for taking ice off of car windows, it was a disguised kid beater. It was invented by a parent with many horrible children.

All it took now was a trigger. "Damn, Kathy that truck missed us by inches." "Edward, pull over." The car had barely come to a stop, when short, stout, middle aged mom moving with acrobat like speed and grace was among us brandishing the "ice breaker" with ninja like skill. With a final don’t make me come back there, justice was dispensed to all. No child went unscathed. She was unstoppable. Smack, thwack, swish, whip, boom, bop, pow, whack, whip, whip, thud. She struck with uncanny speed and accuracy, throwing deadly combinations of the club handle and the whip like leather strap. She was like Chuck Norris and Xena Warrior Princess rolled into one.

Back to the present. As I left the cafe to start the work day, I noticed that our haggard looking mother was struggling to settle her three little heathens into their mini van; while father fretted over a map draped across the steering wheel. I couldn’t help myself. Across the parking lot I hollered, "Don’t make her come back there." The family all turned and gave me a most puzzled look. Satisfied, I smiled, hopped into the old Buick and drove off to work.

Word to the wise. Don’t you dare miss any future episodes of Dano’s Says. Don’t make me come back there if you do.


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