The sweat flowed like lava from their skin. The black top was a hot skillet ready for morning breakfast. The taste of salt from the sweat produced an unquenchable thirst and the banshee-like screeches, coming from the little ones on the sidewalk on the Southside of Birmingham, was deafening. Two objects were hanging precariously from the top of the vehicle, and the fear of these devices of torture falling was always present in their minds. Twine and ropes hung as if to represent a type of gallows that awaited, and would ensure their fate. The ancient Greeks described a world ruled by Hades in similar terms, but this was only a family of four trying to move a mattress and box springs on the luggage rack of a Nissan Xterra. Maybe, the Greeks had trouble moving beds too. How did we get to this point? It was a Journey into Darkness that began innocently...
The day started with a plan. A plan to go to yard sales. These yard sales were chosen by my wife, and we would abide and find them. A detour for hat shopping occurred en route. An Alabama Crimson Tide football hat to be specific, because toe will be hitting leather very soon. Unfortunately, my old BAMA hat had been thrown to Parts Unknown after the somewhat chilling ending to last years Iron Bowl vs. Auburn, but that shan't be spoke of here. The hat shopping turned into baseball glove and Ring Pop shopping, and no hat was purchased.
Next, was the hair cutting of a young hippie. No more skate boarder/bangs in the eyes type hair. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but if you want to get a job and impress someone's father one day that's not the way to go. Hair cut and yard sales await. Yard sales were a bust, and lunch at Golden Corral was called for by the wife and children. I've been through the hell of getting into a bad chocolate fountain at the Golden Corral, and it has historically been a big hit or a huge miss as far as eating goes. Took a chance. Bad chance it was. First off, the Bathroom area smelled like a circus. That is never a good sign. Even animals don't crap where they eat, so to speak. Food was cold, and the only redeemable food item was the corn pudding. Corn pudding? I don't know, but it was good. Even the desserts were horrible, and that in itself should be a crime. Buffets should have good desserts or you should face prosecution from the authorities. Quantity over quality I suppose.
Then came the mattress store in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Why Vestavia Hills, Alabama? Swimming Pools? Movie Stars? Nope, just luck of the draw. It was a fluke that we were even in this place to begin with. Life deals the cards, we just play them. Long story short, nice lady with a good priced mattress and we made the purchase. I would like to take this time to say something sort of unrelated, but I need to say it. My wife would have bought a mattress from the store in Gardendale, Alabama, but the lady was extremely rude and unprofessional when she came in the store asking questions with the kids in tow. We don't tolerate idiots around here very well, so no sale was made by this mattress store saleswoman. Two words come to mind, as described by my wife, "Female Dog." To quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I've got to say about that."
The nice lady, not the one in Gardendale, told us that we could save $80 by loading it up and taking it home today. She spoke of her renowned prowess for knot tying, and that the luggage rack of an Xterra would do fine. Cheryl, filled with visions of dollar signs saved in her eyes, said "Sounds good." I on the other hand was skeptical. I have moved many things over the years, and I have had many things scattered all over the interstate. Mainly, because I believed I could tie it down effectively. I knew we were in trouble when the nice lady's hands were shaking as she tied these "knots," and she reference the You Tube instructional video that she had just watched. Eyebrows raised. They were raised even further when she said, "I prayed about this really hard before I came out here." Not faulting her for praying by no means, but I was under the impression that she was an expert of the knot tying variety. We left Vestavia Hills with a box springs and mattress, and my first words to Cheryl were, "Fasten your seat belts, this is going to get interesting." It did.
First moment of concern came with the shifting of our bedding from the top of the Xterra on the Highway. We were forced to remove ourselves from the road, and this is where we pick up the story from the opening. Luckily, I had some rope. The expert knot tying from You Tube had come loose, and we were stuck on the Southside of Birmingham. The children were hot and irritating. Not irritated, but irritating. I almost sold them to a homeless man named Romeo, but I thought better of it. I also had an idea that the kids could ride on top of the mattress and box springs, thus holding them down while we traveled. My father put me in the back of a pick up truck many times to "hold" stuff down. I'm still living, with all my limbs. I knew that Cheryl wouldn't go for this idea so we moved on. We thought we had it tied down enough, and the journey continued.
Stopped once at the Jazz Fest on the North side of town to adjust the load, and almost got a hot dog. Stopped again at a car wash across the street from the Jehovah's Witnesses place. A guy named Alphonso was very friendly, and offered a car wash, but I told him that we had to be moving on. This mattress ain't gonna set itself up! Stopped in Fultondale to wipe Maddie's nose, and adjust the ropes. I told Cheryl, "If we make it past Gardendale we've got a punchers chance to make it." She was skeptical. Stopped once more in K-Mart parking lot by a woman selling tomatoes, and I had to yell at Jesse for teasing his sister. She may have been teasing him I can't be sure, but hot, tired, irritated, and transporting a mattress and box springs adds up to a bad mood. That is a fact. We came into Morris at the mile stretch that I call the Autobahn. The speed limit goes up from 50 to 65 for about a mile or so, and its every car for themselves. It's like the Wild West out there. We were so close to home we could feel it.
Somewhere people are laughing, and having a good time. Joy is everywhere and flowers are basking in the sun. Smiles are contagious, and no one is sick, not even a cough. There is joy in Kimberly, Alabama too, because the mattress and box springs didn't fall off.