“Danny, you got that Zeppelin tape with you?” Craig asked when the radio went to commercial.
“Got a perfectly good cassette player up here. Toss it up.”
Seconds later, the tape was in the player and cranked up. Stairway to Heaven filled the air. This time, they made Maddie sing solo because none of them could hit the notes like Robert Planet, except her.
Ahead, Polly took the exit. This was a planned stop for gas, food and bathrooms. They followed her to the Little America truck stop, gassed up and parked by the restaurant.
“How are things in the girl car?” Craig asked as he walked his wife to a booth for two.
“Nice and quiet,” she replied, smiling. “They’re talking about Job’s Daughters. I was a member, you know.”
“How could I forget? Our first big date was the winter dance.”
“That it was.”
The other chaperones, a couple in their sixties, herded the kids into booths. They tried to make Maddie sit with the girls, but she adamantly refused.
“I’ll stick with my car,” she told Caroline.
“All right, Barbara,” Caroline replied, calling Maddie by her older sister’s name.
“Hm?” the older lady’s mind had already wandered.
“My name is Madison. Not Barbara. She’s my sister.”
“Oh, of course. How nice.” She fluttered away.
“That old bird hasn’t even met Barbara. She’s just heard her name,” she snorted. “She can’t seem to get it straight for the life of her.”
The boys watched the old woman flutter around, making a fuss over her husband, before taking a seat with the girls. Her husband came to sit with the boys and Maddie.
“Baaa,” Clayton bleated as he watched Caroline.
The teenagers laughed. Leslie, Caroline’s husband, had no way of knowing that was Clayton’s way of saying his wife was dumb as a sheep.
Lunch went by quickly, followed by another bathroom break. They all piled into the cars once more. The boys fought about whose turn it was to sit in the back with the luggage. None of them contested Maddie’s right to sit up front, but they didn’t offer her the back, either. She didn’t mind. Even with a blanket, the back of the station wagon didn’t appeal much.
Brad won the coin toss and took his place in the coveted back. Daniel took his place in the middle seat with Clayton and Richard to the left and right as they were before. Daniel brought out his bag of tapes and handed them to Maddie for safe keeping. He also allowed her first choice. She dug through them. They had very similar taste in music. She held up her find with glee.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes