Revving up Fast Tammy


Though the sky was leaden and the rain fell steadily, the rolling hills of Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond were studded with the pale pinks, greens and whites of spring, as Beth, Jim, Ellie, Rebecca, Mike, Dell and I gathered with Gwynn’s children, grandchildren and her most recent love under a tattered awning to say goodbye to the pride of North Little Rock. Afterwards, we gathered at a church hall reception with her friends to share stories, browse fabulous photos (arranged on a timeline so you could follow the progression of her always-stylish glasses), and nibble on some really tasting roasted veggies and ham biscuits.

It’s always that contrast of the sad circumstances balanced against the joy and fellowship of being with people you have shared a bond with. If it’s wrong to say I had a lovely time today, then, well, I’m wrong.

And the positive vibes of friendship and family were coursing down I-85 (well, not the I-85 in Atlanta — hope you’re OK, Pattersons!) as Dot was slated to be taken from the hospital back to Carol Woods, where she will be treated with antibiotics for two weeks. Let’s all cheer for that medicine to do its work and get our Miss Coquette back in the game. That woman’s got azaleas to fawn over, people!

We, the Parkers, have been braving the rain to pack up a big black rented minivan dubbed Fast Tammy for a spring break trip up north. We’ll stay Saturday night with Daniel, Honor and Simon in Summit, spend a day/night in the Hudson River Valley (where our only aim is to eat at a restaurant I saw in a picture posted on Facebook by my former boss), and then continuing on to Burlington, Vermont, to see that species known as College Studentenous Gordonous Coates. It’s supposed to snow. And sure, everyone spends their spring break where it’s snowing but without skiing.

But speaking of Fast Tammy, I must share a Dell bon mot that Beth and Rebecca will have to suffer through a second time.

We named our car last week by randomly picking adjectives and nouns and putting together combinations like the Crunchy Spaceship, the Dangerous Dirigible, etc., and eventually settled on Fast Tammy. As we drove to the library the other day, Dell said Fast Tammy was a “he.” imagesI told him Tammy was a girl’s name and methods of transport tended to be female.  He said in his mind certain cars were girls and certain cars were boys. At that moment, this car (or one very like it) passed us in the opposite direction. Without missing a beat, he says, “And that one’s transgender.”

Sign of the times.

So, about those games. Dub went into the Sweet Sixteen with both of his teams still intact, yet remarkably, he exited the round with none. His two #4s did him proud, but alas, it was time to go. We also lost Beth, Dan, Elizabeth, Martie, Susan, and, oh yeah, me.

No one was more surprised than Mike P. to be remaining for the Elite 8. His #11 Musketeers of Xavier were still hanging on, but then again #11 is essentially the numerical representation of “one for all, all for one.”  Joining him in that round were Carl, Ellie, Gordon, The Greatest, Kiran, Rivers and Robert.

But Mike P. was led into a valiant defeat in that round, as was Ellie, Carl and The Greatest. And though it may be disrespectful to that generation, can I just get a hallelujah that the Wildcats wilted? Christian Laettner and Luke Maye can both live forever in the glory of knowing they dashed Kentucky hopes in the final seconds of a Game That Counts.

And that leaves Robert vs. Gordon in the first game tomorrow, a southerner vs. a northerner, a west coast team vs. an east coast team. And in the second game, Rivers and Kiran will have face off in the another bicoastal battle. We’ll be watching from New Jersey, and I hope you’ll be with loved ones where ever you are,

Cheers, all!