Warren zevon songs and seatbelts

chapter 1

The first thing she learned from her father was stoicism. Which, may not have been a learned thing rather than an inherited trait.

The second thing she learned from her father was that she was better at stoicism than he was. Neither one of them were very good sharing their thoughts and feelings with others, but she had never even shown an ounce of distress, fear, or sadness. Either she was calm or she was riding an adrenaline high as engines roared and the wind whipped her hair into a mess. It was one or the other, nothing else.

Neither one of them expressed nor vocalized their feelings openly, but while her stoicism remained constant, her father's was forced. His face always gave him away while she remained a rock. That's not to say that she didn't feel nervous when he was teaching her to drive, she was frightened out of her mind of making a mistake, but she was the only person who could tell that. Pa's perfect little lady can't mess up. This wasn't something he had forced onto her, it was of her own doing. In truth he fully expected her to make a few mistakes. The night she was born was the first time he had ever smiled in his adult life, and the first thing he said to her was "Oh Lord, you're gonna give me grey hair."

When she was about five she had fallen from a magnolia tree. He came to her and flatly asked, "are you okay?" But, his breath was short, his words were shaky, his eyes were bugging out. She, matter of factly, calmly stayed, "yes, but I have gashed my knee." He held her hand for the stitches as she craved her neck to watch the nurse suture her knee. Afterwords she looked at him and said, "I don't think the anaesthetic worked."

With that said, probably the most important things she had learned from her father are that Warren Zevon songs and seatbelts are required. Any time they were in a vehicle together he never started the car until she had her seatbelt on, and the car didn't move until "he was born in Big Beaver by the borderline."

Driving Ouma's old Buick was like driving a land boat. Right about the second time Warren sang "will get me out of this" he had braced himself for the end, and his life had flashed before his eyes. Albeit at 3.3 miles per hour... but directly after that the hood of the Buick buckled upward as it went under the bay window of the dining room.

His face was red, his eyes wide, he didn't say a thing as he gripped the center console and the door as though they were life preservers. The Buick came to a jerking halt and she didn't even look at him. She didn't say a thing until his breath normalized. To his credit he never blamed her but she still carries the guilt of it decades later.

"I'm sorry, Pa, I missed the brake." She said earnestly but flatly without looking at him.

She hid in her reading nook with Watership Down and Zevon Live.
"How far are you?"
"I've read it before."
"What's your favorite part?"
"At the end when Clover names her kittens after Captain Holly's owsla who died at the Sandleford Warren."
"It&apos ;s sweet to remember them, and it makes me cry."
"I've never seen you cry."
"I know."

The piano intro to Frank and Jesse James started at she put the book down. "Pa, I really am sorry about Ouma's car."

"It's okay. I'm not worried about the car. Are you okay?"
"Funny thing is, your Ouma hated that thing. She wanted a Thunderbird but with all is kids she needed a bigger back seat. Not that she would fit in a thunderbird. Your Ouma was... substantial."
She cracked the slightest smile then it faded back to her resting race. "Pa?"
"Ouma and Grandmother were both really very fat, and Ma is fat. And, Joan and Lindsey and chubby, and all my cousins who are girls are either chubby or fat, right?"
"Your sisters are still young, they will grow out of it, but yes there are a lot of heavier women in our family."
"Well, then why am I not fat?"
"Well," he thought a moment, "I think you've got mine and Oupa's genes. And, there is nothing wrong with that. Everybody is beautiful, it's our differences that make us so."
"But my face looks like Ouma."

The old ford tore through the sugarcane like a hot knife through butter. She tapped the brake and put it in second coming to a screeching turn on the road through the field.

He held tight to the 'oh shit' handle in the back seat of the 450 as his cousin, Pat, yelled "Moccasin! Moccosin!" And, she slammed the heavy truck in reverse as "Rolaaand the Thompson gunnerrr" cheered them on in the background until there was a pop and Pat cheered.

He didn't say a thing, not even when they got back to Pat's house but she knew. She knew exactly what he was thinking about.

The sun had started to get low on the horizon, and almost as an anthem "Ahwooooo, werewolves of London" sang the Chevy through the cotton. She was smiling but focused. He was scared out of his mind. He had her stop the truck about twenty feet from Hayder's farm and they sat on the tailgate sharing her first Fosters as "Mr Bad Example" excitedly blared from the radio.

The irony was not lost on him, but as usual only his face showed his emotion.

She had just finished her first lesson in driving and her first beer. The warm day was giving into cool night. "I was stayin' in the Marriott with Jesus and John Wayne." She kicked her legs in the air from the tailgate of the Chevy.

"Pa," she said with all the stoicism she learned from him, "Why is ma fat and I'm not?"

"Oh," he said thinking about the several times this conversation had come up before, "she wasn't always." Theres was a pause for while as the sun sank lower and and the night began to set in. "Your Ma, she likes what she likes..." he began but didn't say much more for a moment. "Your ma wasn't always fat. She chose it."

"She chose it?"

"She was as skinny as you when I met her, but she wanted what she wanted. Part of it's her genes but she decided to accept that and not fight it."

Pat slammed the water moccasin down on the chopping block and began to gut the snake. He sipped a beer and watched his daughter talking to his wife. The wife who chose to be fat and the daughter who drives like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Her belly couldn't be hidden anymore, even as she sucked in. It was ever present. She wasn't fat but she was no longer the lanky little teen she was when he taught her to drive.

When cousin Georgina flipped the bmw into the swamp her driving habits settled a bit, and for that he was grateful.

At Georgina's funeral he found her outside with her cousins, drinking beer and actually laughing. He couldn't help but notice that she was not the little girl who learned to drive in a Chevy and then put the Buick into the house because she couldn't find the brake. She wasn't even the girl who reversed so fast to kill a venomous snake that he didn't know what was going on. She was a woman now. And, undeniably heavy.

His nieces and nephews gradually made their way back into Pat's house but she remained on the deck. He didn't say a word when he sat next to her.

Finally she broke the silence. "Pa, I wanna be fat like ma."

"Well you don't look like you're starving."

"I'm taking that as a compliment."

"What brought this on?"

"I've wanted it since I was little. Ma's big belly, big thighs, her heft."

"I mean why are you telling me now, does your mother know?"

"She's known for years, since I first got a potbelly. I'm happpier this way. That adrenaline rush I get from driving, that is now the same as just waking up and looking at myself."

"Bethany," he said calmly, "I kind of figured that's what was going on."
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