Bill, my brother, was an observant kid. He was quiet and paid strict attention, especially to those things he found most interesting. Like driving.
Remember when cars had bench seats in front? Well, Bill sat up there in between Mom and Dad. The three girls sat in back. (Usually talking and singing and trying to beat Dad at the ABC game.)
Little did we know while we were horsing around, Bill was soaking up all the steps for driving a car. We didn't think he'd been watching. Or could even pick it up. He was two.
So....here we go. Buckle your seat belt.
We would go to the meat market on Saturday morning. Holy heck, I hated the way that place smelled. It did help Maria determine her future job. She wanted to be a butcher. (She likes bacon.)
But, if you stayed outside, in the car, with the windows down, the smell was quite delightful. There was a gentleman, Rudy, who had a tamale cart in front of the meat market. And boy howdy were they good. He was a good cooker. I would lean my head out the window and breathe in the tamales. Mom always bought some from him, and we would go home and have lunch.
One particular Saturday, Mom took pity on our noses and let us stay in the car while she went in to get meat. The three girls sat in the back. Bill sat in front in the middle seat. Mom came out to buy our tamales. And while I'm praying she buys each one he's got, Bill puts the car in drive. Our big, white, 1980s Buick shoots forward over the guard and slams right into Rudy's tamale cart.
My mom and Rudy, of course, are shocked and going crazy over human injury. (There weren't any. Rudy's cart stopped the Buick. And we were quite safe in that boat of a car.)
Meanwhile, I'm devastated. The tamales! Their foiled bodies are everywhere. On the hood. The gritty pavement. The dirty sidewalk. I jump out and start picking them up, but the adults aren't helping and Rudy's cart is crushed and there's no place to put the food, except in the car and that might be stealing. And you know we aren't buying any today because Mom doesn't believe in the 5 Second Rule.
As I mourn the loss of spicy goodness, my brother has become famous. And my Mom has become flustered.
Of course, we paid to fix Rudy's cart, and all was back to normal by the following Saturday.