52 card pickup


how easily those we love can slip from us

Before seat belts and car seats
Mom drove the old blue Chevy Pickup

to visit grandpa and grandma
with The youngest ones my family  perennially called
” The Little Girls”
she drove with heightened instincts
The Chevy was hard enough to drive
With a starter pedal on the floor
A one size fits all bench seat
Where legs could barely reach the pedals
A steering wheel the size of  a hula hoop
A stick shift rattling like an old man’s cane
Grinding through the gears

I can see the Little Girls
Their tiny selves peering over the dash.
As mom turned the corner,
The rickety door flew open


and the Little Girls rolled toward
Federal Boulevard
Tumbling toward pavement


In 1945
Mom, herself a teen, fell from a pickup seat
Through an open door.
And could still feel the scars along her side
Motivation and instinct.


She grabbed them
pulling them close to the giant steering wheel
As if it was an every day occurrence.

But she’s still trembling
40 years later

As she remembers
Seeing their  library books
Through the ridiculously small review mirror
Twisting and spinning on the asphalt

like 52 card pickup
not until Old Blue
Grumbled through the drive
To settle by the barn.
Did she find time to cry.


  1. …I know it may seem this one aint like fergoshsakes social commentary.

    but it is absolutely perfect.


  2. yup, you opened some floodgates fersure…
    Drove a ’51 with my Grampa walking along side
    herding cows back from pasture
    shifted into granny low
    throttled back to idle
    looking under the wheel
    ’cause I was too short
    to look over.

    …thought I was really sumpthun.

    Rode on the fender of the old Allis-Chalmers too,
    right where the tool box was mounted,
    hanging on with my fingers wrapped around
    the beaten, banged metal,
    Grampa smoking his pipe,
    straw hat just a bit askew.

  3. Spectacular, vivid, heart-pounding…. I remember being a projectile in my parents’ cars, too. We’re lucky we survived! ***mcb**

  4. Same year/model; I was driving (5years old) the Ford from a field for Dad, forgot which was brake &which was foot feed and ran right into a tree where my littlest brother was playing. He had stood up just in time. I became the house slave as a result. Complete with chores, my private instructor (mother) and no more fun on horses, bikes. It ended well. from “Oldest child only”

  5. Five of us in a in a blue 1959 Chevy Impala. Driving NW on highway 64 going to Somerville, Tennessee on our way to visit Grandma and Grandpa Woods. My little brother actually slept in the rear window on the trip. My other brother and I played a version of leap frog from side to side in the back seat while singing songs that we learned at summer camp. You opened the floodgates feywit…of precious memories. :D

  6. Mom had told me to never lean on the door . . . I remember watching the pavement moving beneath me as I nearly fell out the partially opened door . . . 40 years ago. Always do what your mother says .

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