This story started out as complete truth. However, as I’ve continued, I’ve changed small details. For instance, some of these events happened within a 30 miles radius of New Glarus…and I don’t remember exactly how I was proposed to…anywho…just wanted to be honest…If you are interested in the other installments start here.
Three long years passed. Steve and Sue and a myriad of other friends were married and had already started their families. Although we were the first to get married, we hadn’t even thought of having a baby yet. Baby S. was a plump little boy of seven months, with a triple chin and blue eyes; a rounder baby, I’ve never seen.
Early that spring, the five of us decided to pay my parents a visit in Wisconsin. This brought me great relief. Life was much more tolerable when T. and I were with other people, as it seemed I could do very little correctly when we were home alone. He could actually be quite romantic and gentlemanly around others. After settling in our temporary quarters at my parent’s home, and Baby S. was down for a nap, the four of us discussed our day trip to New Glarus the following day.
The next morning, Steve and Sue sat down to breakfast with the “I love New Glarus” tee shirts they had purchased on our last trip a few years previous. We helped mom clean up, and T. and I were ready to go. But it seemed like it took forever for Steve and Sue and Baby S. to get going. Babies made everything more complicated! I had never been on a trip with a baby before, and couldn’t believe all of the paraphernalia we had to bring along!! There were diapers, strollers, extra clothes, and sunscreen. After packing the car with what seemed like enough supplies for a week, we strapped the baby into the car seat. We were finally settled.
“You know, I really should nurse him before we leave, that way he’ll sleep on the way,” announced Sue.
T. glowered. So, we unstrapped the baby, went back inside and waited for Baby S.’s feeding to be done. Sue came back with a grinning, satisfied baby in her arms….
“Look at him smile!” I said. “He looks as though he’s enjoyed a good meal.”
“Uh-oh,” Sue answered, “He’s not smiling, he’s filling his pants!”
So…we waited until he was done “doing his duty”, and then Sue changed his diaper and once again we strapped the baby into his seat, loaded ourselves into the van, waved goodbye to my parents, and finally got on the road to New Glarus.
It was a little rainy, and we hoped that by the time we arrived, the weather would turn. To our disappointment, it only rained harder. As we pulled into town, Baby S. was screaming to be fed and the rain made the view look like an impressionist canvas using only black, white and grey paint.
“I thought you checked the weather Kim!” T. snapped. He knew we couldn’t walk around town with a baby in a stroller during a monsoon.
“I did! It said we only had a 30% chance of light showers,” I quietly defended myself, looking to see if Steve and Sue noticed the catch in my voice.
There was a tense quiet in the car. “At least we won’t get sunburned!” Steve tried to find the silver lining in everything. It was usually annoying, but this time I was relieved and gave him a quick smile of gratitude.
We parked on the Main Street and opted to eat an early dinner at Ticino’s, a pizzeria named after the Italian Cannon in Switzerland.
The atmosphere was quaint, and the thin pizza amazing, even if it was sprinkled with Cheerios from Baby S. We still had hope that the rain would let up and we could browse at all of our favorite shops. Lingering as long as the shrieking Baby S. would allow (even though the squeals were happy ones, the other customers had begun to stare), the rain was coming down even harder than it was before.
“Let me just run across the street so that I can buy the baby a matching tee shirt, then the trip won’t be a complete loss.” Sue suggested.
The guys stayed at the table with the baby, while Sue and I shattered silver puddles to the other side of the street.
I paused remembering that it was this very store that T. had whisked me away from in order to propose to me at the Christmas store. It was this very store where he declared that someday, he would buy all of my clothes for me. He did, and lucky for me he had very good taste, but I longed for the freedom Sue had to purchase tacky tee shirts if I wanted to. However, the whole stroll down memory lane, caused me to feel warm and fuzzy and I wanted to get back to T. and break the tension that had been there all morning.
When Sue and I returned to the restaurant, we were soaked. The baby had thrown all of his remaining Cheerios in a circle around his high chair which was now pulled up to a karate video game that T. and Steve were playing. Baby S. was shrieking with delight at being left to himself.
“Steve! Why did you let him make such a mess while we were gone?”
“We were busy,” he responded, eyes still glued to the video game.
Sue was on her hands and knees picking up as many Cheerios as she could, while I came behind T. and wrapped by arms around his waist. He was in deep concentration with the intense game he was playing, he didn’t seem to notice my attempt at peace.
The sky did brighten a little before we got everyone packed in the car again.
“Maybe tomorrow, we’ll bring out the dirt bike, if it isn’t raining cats and dogs again,” T. suggested.
The next morning was quite a bit cooler, but there wasn’t any rain. After attending my parent’s church, Baby S. was taking a nap, Sue and I were helping my mom make chili and the guys were on the driveway messing with T.’s dirt bike.
“This chili needs more chili powder!” Sue announced. She dumped in a couple of tablespoons more. Mom and I exchanged knowing glances, for we were sure this would be the spiciest chili ever, but not about to cross her opinion, we conceded.
“I’m gonna go out there and see if the boys will let me give a try on the dirt bike. I used to ride one when I was younger. Do you mind keeping an eye on the baby for awhile?” Sue asked me.
“No, go ahead. Have fun.”
She treked out to the front yard, and T. handed her the helmet and showed her a few things on the bike. I thought I’d watch her first run and cheer on Team Girl, since the boys thought they could hog the bike for themselves.
There was ever-confident Sue swinging her leg over the top of the bike, kick starting it on the first try. I had to smile. She was still everything I was not. I wouldn’t be caught dead on a dirt bike. Off she went, at a reckless speed straight down the driveway. She raced to the end of the driveway. Why isn’t she turning? I thought. Instead she went straight into the neighbor’s shed. I saw the helmet fly off, twenty feet from the shed.
Steve started jumping around and waving his arms and screaming for help. My dad ran outside to see what he could do. Part of me wanted to go and help and part of me wanted to run and hide. The way the helmet flew off, I was afraid she had been decapitated.
“Mom, call 9-1-1!” I shouted. Praying under my breath, I asked God to give me courage to deal with whatever the next few minutes would hold. Running across the lawn, I came across a slightly calmer Steve bending over his wife’s body as my father stuck his finger in her mouth to clear it from gobs of blood. Blood was coming out of her ears and Sue was unconscious. I was just glad her head was attached. The ambulance came, and T. drove behind it to the emergency room. Steve told me to stay behind and take care of Baby S. I wondered if it would be the last time I’d ever see Sue alive again…
For the next installment read this.