It is mid-July 2009 in Russell, Kansas. This unassuming town is not necessarily the heartbeat of the Midwest. It represents more of a slight pulse. I am sitting in the back seat of a white GMC Suburban. It is huge! And immaculate!
The two front seats contain the hindquarters of my 48-year-old brother, Steve, and of my 104-year-old grandmother, Kora. Half-asleep, I suddenly come to when I realize we are moving at a speed way beyond the “suggested limit.” Grandma is at the wheel, driving rather aggressively and without much regard to those around her. Surprisingly, we manage to stay somewhat between the lines, although at times, she swerves and nearly misses a fire hydrant or passerby.
“I can’t believe they are still letting me drive!” Grandma laughs, as she makes the vehicle go seemingly airborne amidst oncoming traffic.
At that point, I notice she is not wearing her glasses and that she is squinting fiercely.
It is then that I realize we are no longer in Russell. We are nearing Kansas City. And it is snowing. There is a thin sheet of ice upon the road. Grandma drives undeterred by the elements. It is still July. This is really weird.
I yell to my brother to stop her. “You need to do the driving. Do something! We are going to get killed!”
I then reach for my purse in search of my lip stick. For some reason, amidst the chaos, I have a sudden urge to touch up my lips. I guess I was thinking it would make me look better in the morgue. I then see a chocolate shop to my right. That sounds good, I say to myself.
Grandma is still diving like a complete maniac. I keep thinking to myself, “Why is she driving? Her privileges were taken away a few years ago. What is going on?”
“Steve! Stop her. She is going to crash this thing!” I continue to yell. My heart is beating rapidly. I can scarcely breathe. I need to get out of here. I need to get out of here. I need to get out of here.
I open my eyes abruptly. I see a clock before me. It reads 5:16 a.m.. The sun has yet to rise. It is then that I realize I am in my bed and have just awakened from a wild nightmare. Thank goodness. I had to gather my wits about me.