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Joyce L. Rapier

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Books by Joyce L. Rapier
Whose Life Is It Anyway? "Blues In the Night"
By Joyce L. Rapier
Wednesday, February 12, 2003

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Whose Life Is It Anyway? (c)
Published in the Press Argus Courier, March 10, 1983

One of my favorite colors is blue. Not too much blue, just enough to let me know I'm not stuck 90 miles from nowhere in a vast body of water. That's too much blue and has a tendency to make me sick!
My husband had a blue truck. It could be so nice when it wanted to be. That is, until each of my boys turned 16. My number one son liked clutches and music. He would drive like a saint while chauffering his father. Once I got into the truck, it was a whole new ballgame. I donned goggles, space suit and had my own barf bag. He turned into the Red Baron and the blue truck flew like an Enterprise space cadet. I accused him of having suppressed emotions and told him I was too young to be eliminated.
Number one son could have bought two Cadillac's, a Rolls Royce or Mercedes Benz with the money spent putting clutches into his friend, the Blue Bomb. No, no, no! He liked the smell of transmission fluid and the color of sparks as they melted metal into the pavement. He went through 15 steering wheel covers, 99 gearshift knobs, six side mirrors and 22 clutches. The last clutch was a lulu! He wouldn't settle for a plain, ordinary clutch. It had to be an Indy 500 racing clutch!
Number two son liked wide tires and music. Ordinary tires wouldn't do! They were the kind that lifted you to heights you didn't know existed. You could peer over the tops of trees and pluck poor little unsuspecting birds out of nests. He jumped ditches kin to the Grand Canyon and swooped down hills like a bobsled. The truck was wired with sound. LOUD sound! His music would penetrate steel earplugs and make dogs howl.
To this day he still says, "What?" He purchased so many tires; he could have owned a tire factory. Instead, he chose to melt down, worn out tires in the backyard and mold it around barbed wire. "Yeah, Mom, I know it stinks! I'm using it to get better traction." For months I wore a gas mask and steel plated shoes while walking in our backyard.
My little yellow Toyota had the motor blown out, compliments of mumber one son and was parked on the side of our yard. Having to run some errands, I cautiously approached the Blue Bomb. "Mom, are you sure you can drive that truck?", the boys snickered.
To tell the truth, I wasn't sure but I wasn't about to let that truck get the better of me. "Sure," I yelled, "just watch!"
Climbing into the cab, I slid the seat up next to the dash 'cause my legs are short and began to back out of the driveway. I was having trouble keeping the clutch pushed to the floor, but it was short lived! My foot flew off the clutch, my knee hit the steering wheel, the accelerator stuck and I shot up the street like a Roman candle being shaken from a pop bottle. I laid a scratch of rubber that looked like the burn of a Titan missile.
All I remember is sitting there plastered to the back of the cab, hands cupped in prayer and feeling like I'd just been jet propelled. After all, it only took two seconds to go half a mile! How I managed to get that souped up truck back to the house is beyond me. I managed to drag myself to a chair and plopped down.
The Kids were rolling in the floor laughing their fool heads off. Laughing hysterically, the boys asked how I liked the 3,200 foot-pound pressure per square inch clutch.
"It's a gas, isn't it, Mom?"
Gas my foot! It was more like a 50,000 pound thrust!

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Reviewed by Tim Johnson 4/27/2003
Reading this brought back an incident that I had with my father years ago. The first time I every tried to drive a stick shift the both of us were sitting nose first in an orange grove. My dad said, "Okay son, just ease on the clutch, give it a little gas, and back out." I did just that. I eased on the clutch and before we knew it, I had kicked it in turbo and we ended up making a backward u-turn into the very next middle. It wasn't funny then, but it is now.

Tim Johnson
Author of Twisted Oak: Eyes of Discernment

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