O’Hare Or Bust

Chapter 35, Blog 2

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang



Melinda hit me with a pained look and whipped her keys to Nicky, who seconds later backed our Jeep Cherokee into the driveway.

“Mom, watch the kids,” hollered Melinda as we crawled into the middle seat. Folding his walker, Harry tossed it in the back, slammed the hatch door and took shotgun. Under his breath, he hummed a tune. I focused on the faint melody.

“Let’s go, gang. We have miles to burn,” my coach said and restarted humming. I leaned forward to catch it. The hatch popped open. Ralphie hopped in with a crash and slammed the hatch door shut.

“No freakin’ way I’m missin’ dis,” he said.

“Don’t bend my walker, Son,” said Harry.

I had other concerns.

“Hey, we don’t have any plane tickets.”

“We will call,” said Melinda. “We can call before we get there. I think there’s a flight to L.A. leaving in less than two hours.”

“L.A.?” I asked. “I don’t want to go to Los Angeles.”

“What ’bout airport security and all that crap?” asked Nicky as he backed the Cherokee onto the street. “It’s gonna to take forever.”

“Just get this buggy going,” said Melinda. “We WILL deal with it. All right? Let’s go!”

“LET’S GO!” we shouted.

“L.A.? What happened to Oregon?” I was stuck.

“Hon, there is no direct flight to Eugene,” Melinda said. “I already looked.”

I poked my head out my window as we turned onto Stonington. There were at least three cars following us – an impromptu convoy headed for O’Hare.

“Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!” I shouted at a little girl walking her dog. Already I was flying.

Melinda tugged my head back in by the shirt collar.

“Listen, you Moron, you better sober up – and fast,” she said. “You big, fat idiot …” She paused. “Do you know I love you?”

I couldn’t remember the last time Melinda said that. I forgot I was drunk.

“I love you, too. You should come to Eugene. The kids, too.”

“We don’t have the money right now,” Melinda said.

“Make another deal with Depends. Or use the damn credit card,” I said. “How many times am I going to be in the Olympic Trials?”

“Maybe none,” interjected my coach. “If we don’t get moving …”

Melinda sighed. “We’ll see.”

“Did you bring my good track shoes?”

“I have them right here,” said Harry.

“How about my old, ratty, green warm-ups?”

“We have it all in the back,” said Melinda. “Shut up and take a nap or something.”

“How about my lucky jock?”

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang