Seat belts are life savers in this day and age. Age being the operative word was the real challenge in this endeavor. It appeared to be a simple outing on this family reunion picnic. My daughter, Janette, who was eighteen at the time, volunteered to help me out driving my mother, age ninety, and my two cousins ages eighty five and eighty on this beautiful June day.
It wasn’t a long drive, perhaps forty minutes at the most, but I took my responsibility seriously in caring for these elderly ladies. Their children loved them very much and I would not want anything bad to happen to them. So, I stressed the importance in driving safety and reminded them to fasten their seat belts.
They all wanted to sit together in the back seat which was fine because they were on the short, small size and I had an ample back seat. With great excitement and looking forward to spending a pleasant day together, they started to get in. My mother who was the aunt and matriarch in the family started to give orders as to who would sit where and they obediently complied with her demands being the good nieces they were. Regardless that they were eighty and eighty-five, they would not question Aunt Myra’s directives. At this point my daughter was beginning to roll her eyes to the sky above seeking some kind of help to get her through the day. I just told her she was going to heaven for her good works here on earth.
First one into the car was my cousin, Marna, age eighty, the baby of the group. She always wore matching tee shirts and shorts and this day was no exception. She has big blue eyes and that day she wore a matching tee shirt and shorts in sky blue which made her eyes pop even more. Of course, the look was quite stunning until your eyes traveled down to white socks pulled half way up her calf with white tie sneakers.
Cousin Edith, age eighty-five, sat behind me, as she was instructed. Even though we were going to a picnic, she wore a frilly blouse with fancy shorts with a lacey hem that came below her knees. Of course, all her shorts came below her knees because she was barely five foot tall in high heels. It was a good thing her shorts were longer because she always wore thigh high support hose and copper sandals that showed the hose seams at her toes. She managed to carry her bag which was almost as big as her and find a place for it at her feet. She loved that bag because it had two sets of straps, one to put over your shoulder and two more to carry as a handbag. Of course, she could switch at a moment’s notice because she always kept both sets of straps on her bag.
My mother, of course, was in the middle of the back seat, all the better to enforce her reign as Queen Bee of the group. From there, she could direct everyone in the back and front seats of the car. My mother was dressed to kill with coordinated cropped pants and matching shoes. I was able to convince her not to wear high heels because it was a picnic. Somehow she managed to find hot pink pants with a complimentary flowered blouse and shoes that were the exact shade of pink as her pants. It’s a good thing she had three closets to contain her wardrobe. Of course, she needed jewelry; pink earrings and matching necklace, a silver bracelet and sparkling imitation diamonds on her watch, and four rings. She kept her jewelry to a minimum because it was after all, only a picnic.
Finally, everyone was in and ready to go. When the question came up regarding seat belts, which I held firm on,there began such a flurry of searching and trying to shift bodies to accommodate buckles and mistaking the wrong latch for the wrong buckle, my daughter and I had to intercede. After sorting out whose seat belt belonged to which person, the attempt to buckle began. My cousin Marna tried very hard, but expressed, “I can never get these to work right.” My cousin Edith reached across my Mother to try to help her, but couldn’t make it work, gave up and tried to buckle her own with no success. “Are you sure this is the right buckle?” This went on for another 10 minutes. Of course, my mother was not very helpful, “What is wrong with you, Marna?” I am sure Marna felt like she was eight again instead of eighty. In the end, my daughter and I buckled everyone in and we finally were on our way.
Of course, about half way there, someone, probably my mother, was thirsty and someone else had to use the rest room which necessitated a stop. Unlatching your seatbelt has to be easier then latching it, right? Wrong! We had to unlatch their seatbelts as well. Needless to say, that day required us to latch and unlatch their seatbelts a total of eight times going to this picnic and to this day, my daughter and I remember and laugh a little over what we thought would be a simple ride to a picnic, but turned out to be a lot more difficult than we expected.
They appreciated our help and our patience and we appreciated the priceless blessings of spending time with these little ladies and their seat belts. It turned out to be a long day, but a good day in the end because we all arrived home safe and sound with our seat belts properly buckled.