have fond memories of car trips to visit my Czech-Moravian maternal grandparents,
my mother at the wheel of our '55 seafoam green, four door, unairconditioned Pontiac
Chieftain with the orangey-amber glass hood ornament, zipping out Highway 90 westbound
from Beaumont to Houston,
windows down in good weather, then picking up Highway 290 from Houston
to Brenham, and on into Caldwell,
our final destination, on Hwy 36. Westward Ho! That was my mother's motto. Mama's
name was Estelle and that woman loved music. She liked Big Band, Country and Western,
especially Western Swing, “church music” and gospel, rhythm and blues, almost
any genre, and she heavily favored anything with a lively beat. She was a marvelous
dancer, a trait that sadly didn't make it through the DNA to me or my brother
Butch, and she had a pleasing, mellow alto singing voice, another miss for me,
although Butch has a nice rich baritone. The car's occupants varied slightly on
these trips, Mama, of course, my brother Butch, me, nicknamed Sissy, very often
my aunt Lydia, whom we called Pee Wee, who lived with us off and on for many years
and who helped “raise” us, and a younger cousin, Mary Ann, who also sometimes
lived with us. |
Now if you recall, there was an extremely athletic type
of dance invented in the early 1970's called breakdancing, a street style dance,
I guess you could say, that was supposedly invented by kids. I believe it was
actually invented by my mother at least 15 or 20 years earlier, though, but I'd
have to call it brakedancing, to be completely accurate. She usually had the radio
on when she drove, even though stations would fade in and out as we moved through
different broadcast ranges. We might start listening to a Beaumont
station playing C&W, get to the outskirts of Houston
and pick up R&B, then we'd hear hymns or gospel driving back home on a Sunday,
and in between, we'd hear little Czech stations as we sped through or near the
small communities with predominantly Czech populations.
Mama was sometimes
subjected to “fits” or attacks when she drove on these trips. To my recollection,
there was never any warning that they were about to happen, either. The car would
just slow way down, she would start to hum, getting louder and louder, words gradually
emerging and becoming clearer, her hand would beat time on the steering wheel
and we finally became aware that we were fast approaching...Hut-Sut Time in Texas!
Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah and a brawla, brawla sooit,
on the rillerah and a brawla sooit.
Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah and a
brawla, brawla sooit,
Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah and a brawla sooit.
Now the Rawlson is a Swedish town, the rillerah is a stream.
is the boy and girl,
The Hut-Sut is their dream.
She would hit the
brake pedal in time to the beat as she sang louder and louder, that big old, mid-century
bathroom green, mile long Pontiac bouncing and bucking like a rodeo bull, little
heads bobbing and rolling, while squeals of laughter filled the car and escaped
into the wind. Hysteria in a can, that's what Mama produced, every time she fell
victim to that primal beat, felt the boogie woogie bubble up in her soul. When
she recovered, there was nothing left but giggling, hiccoughing half emptied bags
of brawlas, two and sometimes three of them, and she would hit the gas as she
sped across the rillerah of the Brazos toward home.
"True Confessions and Mild Obsessions"
September 14, 2012
Related Topics: Mothers
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