Coming back from UALR on 630 to downtown Little Rock Friday afternoon, the traffic came to an abrupt stop around Pine Street. I looked in the rearview mirror, praying the woman with the cell phone would stop before killing me and ruining my three-day weekend. She did, but not before squealing the tires on her Olds 98, a car I have fond memories of, and one that would have pulverized my Honda.
Finally getting to the cause of the hold up, I saw two police cars and a pickup truck with two mattresses in the bed.
A third mattress was lodged in a crumpled position under a gold Camry. Everyone looked to be OK, but a little mystified as to what to do next, as traffic creeped by at 20 mph, with gawkers like me looking smug because we weren’t spinning our wheels on top of a Simmons Beautyrest.
I laughed out loud while remembering back to the hot summer of 1980, a few months before KM and I got married. We were in the process of moving our stuff into a house we’d rented. I’d borrowed my mom’s Vista Cruiser because I needed something with a luggage rack so I could tie KM’s box springs and mattress on the top. This, as things turned out, wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had.
The box springs didn’t hang on, and all I remember were the splintered boards from the frame dancing across the asphalt behind us. The mattress had stayed in its place, so, with cars dodging the carnage behind me, I took the coward’s path, which was to keep driving.
If someone reading this remembers that incident, mainly because it caused you to crash your shiny car, please accept my three-decade old apology.
It’s a season for renegade mattresses I guess. Last Friday night, KM and I, on our way to Judge Morley’s for salad and shrimp, came across another large square of foam on I-430, near the Cantrell on ramp. People come off the hill there like they’re qualifying at Daytona. I hope everyone’s swerveability was working that evening.
Speaking of mattresses, I’m reminded of friend Fred from Fayetteville again and the night he slept at the Acacia house on Stadium Drive.
The year was 1968 (give or take), and Fred had a Friday night date who suggested they go to a party at the Lambda Chi house, which they did.
Later that evening, his date long gone, Fred decided he’d had enough of the party and went out the front door in search of his car.
It was a dark and stormy night. (Sorry.)
Anyway, Fred’s memory was somewhat foggy from fraternity concoctions from the previous seven hours, so he had trouble locating his car, or even remembering the general vicinity where he’d left it. He began walking north, and after a few hundred paces, he decided for a port in the storm, which happened to be the Acacia house.
It was now early Saturday morning, so the living room in the house was deserted, and all was quiet. Fred shed himself of his wet clothes and laid down on a couch. But he was cold, so he got under the cushions to keep warm.
A few hours later, the sound of voices woke him up. He peered from his cushion hut and saw three guys standing there.
“Do you know him?” one of them asked.
“Not me. How about you?”
“Nope. Let’s go ask Tony.”
A small window was all Fred needed, and he was out the door, wet clothes in hand.
And, as the song says, he ran all the way home.
Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.