Friday, October 9, 2009

A Rebellious Nature

I'm generally a rule follower, but I have a rebellious streak, too. I've been know to assemble things without following the directions. I usually omit nuts from chocolate chip cookies even though the recipe calls for them. When I wash my hair, I lather and rinse without repeating even though the shampoo bottle recommends otherwise. Once in a great while, though, I go a little too far.

One evening, before our kids were born, my husband and I decided to go for a drive. It was a nice evening and we had nothing else to do. For reasons I no longer remember, I got behind the wheel. That's not our standard M.O. , Mr. Willoughby usually drives when we go somewhere.

We headed out of the suburbs and into a more rural area where there was less traffic, fewer traffic lights and plenty of winding, twisting roads. The speed limit is 55 mph on those roads and I was using every bit of it and then some. There weren't many cars on the road, but I was passing the few that were. I wasn't going to let anyone get in the way of my hunger for the open road.

As the road narrowed down to one lane in each direction I encountered a pick-up truck that was also on a quest for speed. He immediately made a move to pass me, but I sped up. He swerved back into the lane behind me to avoid oncoming traffic. At the next opportunity, he tried to pass me again. As he pulled up next to me I stomped on the gas. It was game on, we were battling for lead position. When I shot him a sideways glance I could see that he was shouting and gesturing at me (he wasn't waving "hello" if that's what you're thinking). I vaguely remember Mr. Willoughby telling me to stop messing with the guy and let him get around us, but this had become more than a game, it had become war. When a car approached from the opposite direction my competitor was forced to fall in behind me again.

We continued like this for several more miles, me laughing maniacally and my opponent shouting obscenities, until we came upon a town and the road once again opened up to two lanes in each direction. Truck guy sped past me immediately and was gone. The game was over.

I agreed to stop at a store in town so Mr. Willoughby could get something to drink and take over the driving duties. While he went into the store, I sat in the car and waited. I was sitting in the passenger seat and flipping through radio stations when I noticed truck guy pull into the bowling alley on the other side of the parking lot. He squealed into a parking space and ran inside.Had he seen me? I didn't think so but I knew we needed to get out of town before he did.

Mr. Willoughby seemed to be taking forever to come out of the store and I was starting to worry about truck guy wanting revenge. I tried to calm myself down thinking the guy may have gone to the bowling alley to bowl and have a few beers and wouldn't be coming out for an hour or two. That fantasy was shot down the moment I saw him come running out with six or seven big guys. Three of them climbed into the cab and the rest jumped into the bed of his truck. If they saw us, I was afraid we would be in for a serious altercation.

By the time Mr. Willoughby came out of the store I was in a full scale panic. I gave him the low down and he concocted a foolproof strategy. We snuck quietly out of the parking lot with our headlights off and didn't turn them on until we were a half block away. We took a different road home and never saw truck guy and his posse. I think we were lucky to get out of town with our car and our skulls intact.

I thought of this incident today because I was thinking about my brother in law, Gordy. He was a rebel from the day he was born. But he was also a good guy who would help a friend, a neighbor, a family member and even a stranger in any way he could.

I have a few more recent pictures of him, but I'd rather share this picture because it's one of my favorites. That's Mr. Willoughby on the front, his brother Dave in the middle and Gordy on the back wearing the cowboy hat.
One year ago, yesterday, Gordy died in a house fire. The local media had a field day referring to him as a squatter and a vagabond. He was neither. He was, however, a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. And, of course, a rebel.



Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

Scary story! I actually had a gun pulled on me by another driver, I nearly crapped my pants; luckily we were both in vehicles and I was able to drive away quickly.

I'm very sorry abuot your brother in law, what's sad about the news is that once it's out there's no taking it back.

Amy said...

I'm sorry to hear about Gordy. I love the picture you posted of Mr. W, Gordy and Dave, all adorable inncoents. The media is terrible, they are uncaring and thoughtless. I'm sorry Gordy's family had to hear him spoken of so poorly. He sounds like a really good guy.

I love your story about being a rebel. I don't know if truck was after you but he sounds like a jerk when you were just having fun. I'm so glad you and Mr. W got away safely. People just don't know how to enjoy life anymore.

Thanks for sharing these stories and say no to nuts in chocolate chip cookies!

Raoulysgirl said...

I've read posts where you've mentioned Gordy before and it saddens me that more often than not, people don't think about others before they jump to conclusions about other people. I'm sorry for the loss that your family endured. What a tragedy. My thoughts are with your family at this time.

I Wonder Wye said...

That is a nice post, and the world seems a colder place for having lost a gentle soul named Gordy. When I happened upon your blog name I at first thought it was b/c of Willoughby from P&P - huge Austin fan here. Doing the crazy dance with rednecks is dicy, I live in the country and have had a few run-ins of my own, (I too have a 'need for speed,') -- they automatically assume when they spy a handicapped license plate I am a slow driver and then --ZOOM -- my little Vibe rocks. But some jack legs can't handle this, particualarly from a woman......

Lissaloo said...

The picture is so priceless, I am sorry for your loss, loosing a treasured family member is always hard.

5thsister said...

May God bless Gordy and may He ease the pain caused by the reckless media frenzy these types of tragic events seem to generate. Take care dear friend and be rest assured extra prayers are being offered for you and your family today.

Purple Flowers said...

My sympathy to you, Mr. Willoughby and family for the loss of Gordy, who seemed like a gentle soul.

As for you driving like speed racer, you're lucky to still have your heads on. LOL I believe that trucker went to get his buddies to teach you a lesson. I was at the edge of my seat reading your "race" story, and laughing.

ChristineM said...

Must be a tough time of year for you! But that is one sweet picture.

I had an uncle who died alone in a sleazy motel room, and the papers kind of made him out to be everything he wasn't also - if I had read it not knowing him I would have concluded he must have been a drug dealer or something, but truth was he was simply a human being who could not beat alcoholism, and lost his wife, son and grandchildren because of it. He had been living there a week when he died.

I only share this story because I think Gordy has found the company of a hysterically funny, big-hearted man, finally sober named Roger in heaven, and they're swapping stories and laughing and watching over all of us.

Chicago Mom said...

What a great story! Isn't it amazing that we lived to be adults? I think of some of the crazy things I did when I was younger, and well, I know for sure that my guardian angel worked some overtime!
I'm glad you remember Gordy in such a positive way and shared his goodness with us.

BashfulToast said...

Awww, Mr. Willoughby is sooo cute!!lol=]

Rook No. 17 said...

Great story. You're my kind of rebel. I've been know to omit raisins from recipes at every opportunity. Your tale was a nailbiter! I'm glad it didn't end in a big showdown. I'm sorry to hear about Gordy. What a wonderful picture you shared of Mr. & Gordy! Thanks for stopping by Rook No. 17 today and for checking out "Cards for Kids" Thanks also for reminding me about the Graphics Fairy. I'm going to visit her now... Warm wishes,
Jenn @