Growing up, I had young parents. They were growing up with us, in a way. My dad was a big kid, and wanted to make everything a game. Sometimes he took things seriously (the “moderately insane” dad kind of serious, I think all of our dads have freaked out at some point) but for the most part, he wanted to have fun. He wanted to have fun with us, specifically.
My parents were divorced and we were with dad on the weekends. We went on lots of adventures and did lots of interesting (crazy) things. Many of which there is NO WAY I would do with my stepkids. It seemed perfectly sane at the time, but I have my woman pants on now, and those things look crazy pants to me. Growing up really screws with your perception of things, doesn’t it?
We went on lots of car rides. Money was tight just about my entire childhood. I just assumed that no one had any, and this was the kind of stuff they did. We would get bored and drive down country roads or dirt roads and listen to the radio. Might sound lame, but I’ve always loved a good car ride.
Sometimes we would just try to find new things to do, sometimes it was the scenic route home. It depended on the scenario. We planned our weekends on a whim most of the time.
One night we were on a ride home from somewhere, probably our cousins’ house. It was late and we were back in town, close to his apartment. It seems like we were driving past our old apartments. They were the place I first grew up in, and my first “home” that I remember. That was where my parents were married the longest, so it held a lot of memories for us, and we would drive past from time to time.
It was near an old business park, and most of the buildings had been abandoned and some were partially demolished. It was creepy there, and I loved creeping myself out, so I asked if we could stop there. Dad gave his “Sure, why not”. Which is something I say to this day.
We drove over to a place that had been a cookie factory at one point, and we drove around the building to check it out. It looked abandoned. There was not much there. Then, dad had a moment that will go down in infamy.
“Hey, look at those old train tracks”
We stopped, looked. I thought he was just pointing out something antique and wondered what they were for and why they were there. They were pretty much just 2 rails standing on the ground. There was only a little bit of an incline (more like a wedge) so you could get over them, not like a regular crossing at all.
“I bet I could jump them!”
I was in awe “In the truck!?!” I gasped.
“Yeah, how fast should I go?”
“Gun it! Go fast!” I was so excited. I totally thought this would be like a Dukes of Hazzard moment. I was amped. My brother seemed a little nervous, and rightly so. He was older and smarter than me, and he knew a lot about cars. I think he had some insight into this experiment.
He gunned it and the little 4 cylinder truck rattled off towards the track like a wild pony. We gained speed and I was so excited. We had never done anything this cool! This was going to be awesome!
We hit the incline at what immediately seemed too fast. The truck got air. All 4 tires totally off the ground at the same time. I believe I heard my father say “uh-oh”. Indeed.
We. Hit. The. Ground. The springs under our bench seat compressed and all 3 of our butts hit the floor of the truck. We all groaned at the same time from being spinally compressed. The wind knocked out of us.
Dad could only groan “that was a bad idea” in pain.
We took a minute to try and recover, dad looked over the truck briefly, then we took the thankfully short ride home.
I don’t remember what became of that truck, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t keep it long after “the incident”. I think we broke that pony’s leg that night.