Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Couple of Dee Dee Stories

  • During the previously blogged Quebec City trip, I noticed a number of "Aigle d'Or" gas stations. This was a brand I'd never encountered, and I mentioned the large number of such stations that we had passed.

    Dee Dee immediately opined that there were more Irving gas stations than Aigle d'Or. Naturally, this became a competitive situation.

    On Monday, I did the driving for the return trip, and we kept a running count of the stations with the two brands. Carla and my dad were in the back seat, the counts remained pretty close, and after a while things settled down. After perhaps a half hour of relative quiet I heard Dad say, "Oh, Donnie! Look to your left!"

    This was followed instantly by "I HATE YOU! You're supposed to be sleeping," from Dee Dee.

    I looked to the left, saw perhaps fifteen or twenty *huge* Aigle d'Or gasoline storage tanks, and made my claim: "I get a thousand points." If not accepted, exactly, the claim was not contested.

    Perhaps a dozen years later Dad and I encountered an Irving station in New Hampshire, and nothing would do but that we pull over and take pictures of it to mail to Dee Dee, who by this time was married. When next we talked on the phone, her reaction was identical to her responses over more than a decade: "He's so cute."

  • Dee Dee and my great-aunt Bertha became great friends, and from time to time the two of us would visit her in Brockton and take her to a local chain steak house, possibly Bonanza, which was Bertha's favorite place.

    One such night was during the winter, and it was freezing cold and slippery. The plan was for me to pull up and let Dee Dee and Bertha enter the restaurant while I parked the car somewhere. Bertha was nothing if not adventurous, and the instant the car stopped she was out the door, not giving Dee Dee time to help her.

    Now it happened that the car was at the crest of a short - perhaps five foot - incline, which was iced over, and just as Dee Dee got to Bertha and grabbed her arm, the two of them started gliding down this incline.

    My heart was in my mouth as I watched Dee Dee and this eighty-odd year old woman slide to the bottom, but they reached it safely and with Bertha whooping and laughing.

    We had a great time over dinner and when it was time to go Bertha jumped up and took off by herself again. She was awaiting cataract removal surgery and was half blind, and with a right turn she made a beeline for what she thought was the exit door handle. She had a death grip on a gooseneck lamp which she was trying to pull off the wall when I reached her.

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