Sundays aren’t for moving anyway

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 29, 2004

Commentary by Clif Lusk

Somewhere I was grasping for a moral to the story – a lesson to be learned from an adventure, A Wise Saying, as it were.

There would have to something that would give these certain events in my life a clarity.

All it took was a few minutes relating the story to Jay Shows. He was, the gifted person he is, able to lead me into the discovery of the moral. All he did was point the way, really, and I was able to grasp significance of those certain events.

As often as I can, I interject my family into my columns – our private times and activities, what our kids do or say, what our family is all about – because I believe the family is the single most important element in our society. Without it, we’re really not much at all, and the fabric of our society is irrepairably torn.

Plus, it’s usually good for at least a chuckle or two.

These Certain Events, that happened to put me into my search for a moral, took place over the past weekend. Perhaps it started, by was of foreshadowing, about this time last week.

You see, we’re only recently transplanted Alabamians. We’re from a small town in Mississippi nestled in the Piney Woods. For a small town, it’s not too bad. There’s the Sonic, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn, Kentucky Fried and Krystal (although it’s in a gas station). If you like your food greasy, there’s the local caf/ and there’s the burger stand over by the elementary school where you can call in your order for the country’s best chili burger, or a slab of ribs, and it’s ready by the time you get there.

If you’re hungry after about ten o’clock, you’d better raid someone’s fridge.

This paints the backdrop for the story. We went “home” for the weekend because we needed to work at cleaning out a building my wife and I own on Main Street. It’s a big building that housed my wife’s dance and gym studio,

which we closed down after the recital and is for sale.

At issue on this trip, specifically, was removal of a bunch of plywood I had stored there. It was going to a friend in Troy who needed some for flooring at the hunting cabin. (Anytime I can contribute to a place where I might get an offer to hunt, I willing).

Moving our family – four kids in all ranging from 11 years-old to three-and-a-half months – is a chore. It doesn’t matter if it’s around the block or across the state. It’s still troublesome.

“I think Clifton has a Boy Scout thing Friday night,” my wife offered. “I don’t think we can go.”

The concept of me trekking to Mississippi on Friday, and then driving to Troy on Saturday didn’t sit well either. The kids wanted to “see” Daddy Buster, my father-in-law. They usually just seem to do the same thing at his house they do at our house – watch TV and make a mess. And fuss.

Ended up, we made the trip. The family drove to Demopolis Friday afternoon, loaded me up and headed west. We made it to Meridian where a leather chair after pizza with my sister-in-law was where I ended the day.

I had already made arrangements to have “Little Blue” available for use. The heavy duty trailer would tow fine behind the mini-van and I could always hitch it up to the truck after getting it back to Demopolis.

What most folks know as three-quarters plywood, actually called on this lot 23/32, I guess for twenty-three thirty-seconds of an inch, got loaded onto Little Blue. Plus some Marley dance floor, a roll of black rubber looking mat that costs a billion times more than rubber mat ought to cost.

One of the tires went flat. No problem, that’s what air compressors are made for.

Sunday morning, the van loaded to the gills with kids, Smith County, Miss. watermelons, and junk from the dance studio office, we got out of town fairly early for us. It was about eleven thirty.

We could have left sooner but I kept stopping at places looking for rope to tie down the load. I found some in Quitman, Miss. The Dollar General had opened after church by the time we made it there.

Now we don’t normally go through Quitman on the way to Alabama, but Highway 18 seemed to offer a better shot to Demopolis via Rock Springs, Ala.

Except that, after not having passed another living soul in about 30 minutes, we found an orange highway sign that said “Road Closed Ahead.” Not a good sign for a van load of young ‘uns and a trailer full of plywood.

Thankfully, it was just the bridge out instead of the whole road. A drive-around had been built so we managed to skate on through what was actually a beautiful drive through the country. We hit Highway 80 at Dixie.

As Paul Harvey likes to say, now it’s time for the rest of the story.

It was just about 20 miles this side of Selma when that tire on the trailer gave up the ghost. It blew. Of course by then, the trailer was in tow behind my pickup. It probably would have flipped the van.

It took two jacks to get the trailer up enough for us to change the tire, which was the doughnut spare from the mini-van, predictably almost flat.

“We’re ready to roll,” I reported.

“Clicketyclicketyclikety” replied her van, the battery drained by her hour-and-a-half on the side of the road running emergency flashers.

After having to turn around with the trailer and come back down a four-lane highway on the wrong side to jump start her, Clifton discovered the jumper cables were missing.

Luckily I found someone at a nearby home who had some, so we were set.

Until the truck started “cutting out.” It was, no doubt, the fuel pump acting up again, but that settled down past Selma when a few fuses blew the fuse panel cover off the side of the dash board. Truck’s been running fine ever since.

“You know,” my wife said just before we pulled away from the side of the highway, “the reason why we’re having trouble is because we’re supposed to be in church on Sundays, and not moving stuff.”

Ah ha. That was A Wise Saying after all.