Tuesday, April 16, 2013

'K' is for Knife - Blogging from A to Z

Ready for an adventure, my husband and I made the four-hundred mile trip from Mobile, Alabama to Memphis, Tennessee driving US 45 north. We were on our way up to visit our friends, their new baby, and their new historic home in Midtown, just off Poplar Avenue. This was Labor Day weekend, 1991, before either of us had cell phones. We were joyfully driving our new, used, bright white, Jeep Cherokee Laredo. Oh, how I loved that car.

Not only did we enjoy the drive, but we also enjoyed the cassette tape system. I remember listening to Vivaldi, Bach, Listz, James Taylor and Joan Rivers as we made our way through Mississippi towards Tennessee. That day was probably perfect. I found it not only exciting, but also amusing that our friends had grown up one street over from my father's sister, Aunt Mildred. She was gone, but I was visiting the same places, and I don't mind telling you that ghosts were everywhere.

We looked forward to the holiday visit. We looked forward to visiting the Cook Convention Center and seeing the "Catherine the Great" exhibit during it's last month in town. We also looked forward to watching the ducks at the Peabody as they came down the elevator and walked the red carpet towards the lobby fountain. We had plans to visit Mud Island and see a new housing development. I particularly looked forward to catching up with my girlfriend over lunch at The Women's Exchange Tea Room; to sharing gossip, recipes, memories and dreams. 

Less than an hour after arriving, our host and hostess took us over to the Rendezvous for ribs. I remember the afternoon clearly because I'd not heard of dry-rub prior to that dinner. It was delicious, and to this day, I've never had better than that. Everything was good. We had a happy visit with two of our favorite people. Our only wish was for more time.

And, as things often go when you're having fun, the weekend went away much too soon. Sunday night arrived. My husband and I were relaxed, happy, and filled with good food, and new memories. We hugged our friends, kissed their new son, pet their three hound dogs, and then said "goodnight," feeling sad about the drive home the following morning. 

Then the house became quiet. It was quiet until around two a.m. That's when I woke up thinking that I heard something outside. The dogs were stirring. They walked up and down the stairs. There was traffic noise off the corner on Poplar Avenue.  I heard glass break. Because of hearing loss my husband heard nothing and continued to sleep. I wasn't sure about the sounds, but I felt okay. We were safe. I looked around the room, closed my eyes, and returned to my dreams. I didn't hear anything else until the following morning when there was a knock at our bedroom door. My friend, who always had a flat affect, called both of us by name and said, "I don't know how to tell you this, but your car was stolen out of our driveway last night." We were four-hundred miles from home.

I don't remember any feeling of panic. I don't remember being upset. We knew things would be okay. We were always that way about unwelcome surprises. I imagine we were in shock, but I don't really know. We rented a car, packed our things, said "good-bye" and drove home trying to make sense of what happened. 

Arriving late in the day my Mother, who lived with us, met us at the back gate, "The Memphis Police just called," she said. "They found your car abandoned on a Junior High School playground. It's impounded. They said you can get it tomorrow, but they close at five."

Up the following morning we drove north again. We made it in time to go to the impound lot. I remember feeling my heart sink when I saw the car. The windows were down, except for the tiny window up front on the left side. That window had been broken. The interior was soaked because of a steady rain during the day. Our cassette tapes were gone. The steering column had been cracked and removed. The ignition keys would no longer work. Kindly, however, our thieves had left a kitchen knife on the dashboard. More than four thousand dollars later, and two more trips to Memphis, our car was repaired. Once again, we drove home.