Do Not Tread Where Danger Abounds


I may be old, but I’m not senile? What was she thinking? Surely she didn’t think I’d acquiesce to her offer to make chicken salad sandwiches for today’s lunch. It’s not that I have anything against chicken salad because I don’t. I am not strictly a “steak and potatoes” kind of guy. Frankly under the right conditions a chicken salad sandwich would be a favorable selection for lunch. I even like it served wrapped in lettuce instead of bordered by two pieces of bread.


The thing I was adamantly opposed to was for the chicken salad sandwiches to be served in my truck. That was the deal breaker!   Maybe I need to post a warning label in clearly visible sight for any “would-be passenger” to understand the rules of the road. There probably isn’t a need, but if you are in my truck and the wheels are moving, the seat belt better be fastened and there better be a strict adherence to the: “NO FOOD IN THE TRUCK” rule.


How much clearer would I have to make the signage to alert an unsuspecting individual not to tread where danger abounds? Actually, I can use my grandchildren as reference points. They learned early on the rules of the road and they know they are pretty non-negotiable.   Almost five years ago when I first bought my truck, they were visiting from North Carolina and we were taking them to visit their grandmother in Cat Spring. I had picked up my new truck a day or two before. We had driven about 30 miles before the sound of: “I’m hungry. Can we stop at the store so I can get something?” was coming from the backseat. It was my granddaughter making the request.


I really do want to be the catalyst for creating only positive memories for my grandchildren. I’m not saying I didn’t find her request a little frustrating because we had just eaten lunch before we left the house, but I dutifully stopped at the next convenience store. If she really was hungry, I didn’t want that. I even asked the boys if they wanted anything before we got out of the truck. They didn’t. Turning to Jenna, I said: “You can get whatever you want, but whatever you get you have to eat it before we get back in the truck.” That didn’t seem like an unreasonable request.


I was startled by her response: “If I can’t eat in the truck, then I don’t want it.” “No, let’s go inside and get you something. I don’t want you to be hungry. Surely you understand that Granddad doesn’t want candy or ice cream eaten in his truck?” She clearly drew a line in the sand and said something along the order of: “If I have to eat outside the truck, then I don’t want anything.” “So, are you really hungry”, I responded. “Yes, I’m really hungry, but I eat in our car all the time. We all do. Momma doesn’t care.”


In case there is any confusion and your still wondering where “danger abounds”, you need look no further than me. “Danger” is my name. The initial “D” can stand for Don, Donnie, Donald or Danger. Let’s just say Granddad won that one.


So now I’ve got the General offering to make chicken salad sandwiches with the intent they be eaten in my truck. “Oh, Dear Lord, what’s the world coming to?” Actually, how my truck even entered the equation is a subtle ploy on her part.


A couple of weeks ago, the General suggested I arrange my calendar to work in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Her mother was flying into Austin, we’d pick her up at the airport and take her to Craig’s home and then I could go on to work. The General would stay at Craig’s with her mother and they’d take advantage of an opportunity to watch all three kids play ball games this week. It was a great idea! Actually, it was Craig’s idea. It sounded like fun.


Did I mention that I am not always fully in charge of my calendar? Over the weekend I got a text that the Senate Health and Human Services committee was hosting a public hearing on Wednesday morning. I needed to be at the Capitol at 8:00 a.m. That was a responsibility I needed to accommodate. Consequently, I wouldn’t be working in Houston.


The General doesn’t have a “D” for an initial, but she’s a strict constructionist. She set up the “let’s take Grandma” to watch the kids play ball” scenario with me two weeks ago. For me to renege on that commitment put a “Danger Alert Warning” in my head. It falls under the category of: “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”.


Like I said earlier, “I may be old, but I’m not senile.” I had already crafted a “Plan B” in my head even though I hadn’t been bold enough to spoil her day or mine by sharing it with her. I’d take the day off work today. We’d pick-up her mother at the airport as planned and I would drive them to Craig’s. I would then do a U-turn and come back to Austin in order to be at the Capitol first thing on Wednesday morning. I have a work commitment at noon in Houston on Thursday. I’d rejoin them at the end of that workday.


Did I mention that the General doesn’t necessarily think a Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing placed on their calendar at the last minute negates the calendar and expectations she put in place two weeks earlier? She handled it well, but it didn’t win me any brownie points.


After work yesterday she mentioned it might work better if we took the truck today. She thought we should take a wheelchair for her mother to use for ease in getting from one ballpark to the next. I also noticed that the General was packing everything she owns to take with her to Cat Spring. Honestly, she doesn’t understand the concept of traveling light. In addition, her 87-year-old mother will have at least two suitcases. She also doesn’t understand the concept of traveling light. The General also had been to the grocery store for her own “diet plan” snacks and Green Leaf tea. In addition, she loaded up on things for the grandkids. Sure, why not take the truck?


Since her mother’s plane is arriving at noon today, her suggestion for chicken salad sandwiches wasn’t a half bad idea. We could eat them on the road. However, that set off another alarm in my head. “Hello Houston We’ve Got A Problem”.


For one thing, the General goes into orbit if I even look at my phone while I’m driving. I said, “look” not “text”. She can be so dogmatic and technically right at the same time. Like I said, she is a strict constructionist. If I were arguing the other side (and by-the- way, I don’t recommend that you argue with the General because she is a sore loser even though she rarely loses), I’d suggest that eating a sandwich while I am driving falls into the category of distracted driving. It certainly is more dangerous than my simply glancing at my phone.


However, at the end of the day, the real issue is Granddad’s “NO FOOD IN THE TRUCK” rule. I, too, can be a strict constructionist. Besides that, I promised I’d eat the chicken salad for dinner tonight.


All My Best!



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