Friday, October 21, 2011

If You Don't Like the Way I Drive, Stay Off of the Sidewalk!

“Sissy, should I call the police?” my grandmother, Mamaw asked my mother using a concerned tone. Living about three hours apart, they were on one of their regular early morning phone conversations, almost always initiated by Mamaw. These usually started with her calling my mom, aka Sissy at 5:00 a.m. at the earliest, and in the most innocent voice that she could muster, asking if she woke my mother up;(which she always had). She didn’t just reserve the early morning intrusions for my mom. One time, she and my grandfather showed up on my sister’s doorstep on Christmas morning around 6 a.m. They didn’t understand why they were greeted with sleepy eyes.

“Why would you call the police, Mother?”, asked my Mother, sitting up in bed. It isn’t every morning that she received a call at 5 a.m. being asked by her elderly mother about calling the police. She turned on the bedside lamp. She had to squint.

“To tell them about that car I ran into a few days ago,”, offered Mamaw.

Sissy jerked her head, wondering if she heard correctly. “You ran into a car a few days ago?” she asked. She was frowning like someone does when they smell a terrible odor.

“It wasn’t my fault!” Mamaw offered. “That woman shouldn’t have been parked on that church sidewalk!!! It was her fault that I hit her!”

“You hit a car parked on the sidewalk……at church?!” Sissy asked with incredulity.

“Now, Sissy, she is NOT supposed to be parked on that sidewalk! When people park on the sidewalk, people have to walk around their car. Everybody knows that.”
Mother, what were you doing DRIVING on the sidewalk?” Sissy asked. She sighed and shook her head. How much longer would she and her sister, Mary allow their mother to keep driving, she thought. She had turned around and swung her feet down on the side of the bed. So much for anymore sleep, she thought. 

Mamaw said, “Well, I was just backing up, leaving church and wham! She wasn’t supposed to be parked there! All I need to know is, do you think that I should call the police?”

Sissy said, “You didn’t call the police when you hit the car?”

Mamaw replied, “No, Mrs. Such-and-so was in church and if I would have called them, then we would have had to wait for her to get out of church. We needed to get home so I could make lunch for Edgar (her husband), and well, she shouldn’t have parked there to begin with!”

“Well, why are you asking me?” Sissy asked.

“Because you are my insurance agent” replied Mamaw.

“Ohhhhh Lord” Sissy replied. “Did it damage your car?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Did it damage Mrs. Such-and-so’s car?” asked Sissy.

“Not that I could tell”, replied Mamaw. “But I was thinking that maybe I should call the police just in case they find damage to her car. And not only that, but they ought to write her a ticket for parking on the sidewalk! That is against the law, you know!”

“Mother, if they write her a ticket for parking there, they are liable to write you a ticket for not reporting the accident AND  for driving on the sidewalk!” Sissy informed her. She took another deep breath and shook her head again. Her head was starting to throb. The phone receiver was starting to feel heavy.

“So you don’t think that I should call the police?”, Mamaw quizzed.

“Mother, if you haven’t called them already, I don’t see any reason to call them now!” Exasperated, Sissy was almost yelling now.

Mamaw changed the subject. They finally ended the conversation. Sissy went into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. Maybe the aroma would help to calm her nerves. It usually worked when her mother aggravated her early in the morning. 

Time passed and everything worked out fine. One day, I was doing my Christmas shopping when I spied a car tag for sale that said, “If You Don’t Like the Way I Drive, Get Off the Sidewalk”. I thought of my Mamaw. I HAD to buy it for her. I did and gave it to her for Christmas. She got as mad as a wet hen! What did she say when she read the tag? “Now everybody knows that she wasn’t supposed to be parked on that sidewalk!!!”

Thanks to Mamaw, I guess everybody does……

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins


  1. That's a great story, Kathy. And a great way to start off Friday - with a big laugh.

  2. is that a real picture of them??? an i love all these storys u used to tell us as kids ahaha

  3. Thank you, Glynn. My Grandmother was truly a Grand Dame.

  4. Yes, Levi, that is a picture of your Great-grandparents. I am so honored that my 15-year old son actually visited my blog! You kids were my guinea pigs for all of these family stories.