Reliving the Draft


Urgency Day 403

500 Things Items 95-99: Art supplies

  • History: Gifts of unrealized potential
  • Value: Music called Sam, not painting
  • Parting pain: Gifting forward, so none
  • Un-possessing: Again, gifts

I was re-introduced to the importance of the draft this weekend.

In a previous life—in other words, before parenthood— Paul and I moved all our crap, our dog and our cat to Eugene, Oregon from Herndon, Virginia. 2818 miles by the most direct route, which we didn’t take. It was the only thing we didn’t take.

Even then, we had too much crap.

In fact, we had so much crap, Paul drove a huge rental moving truck and I drove our light-weight Toyota pick-up. This was in the days of yore before cell phones, so we communicated through CB radios. Our “handles” were Ernie and Zippy. Paul was Ernie, short for Earnest, in the big main truck; I was Zippy in the little back up truck.

Those names make sense even if you didn’t know we got them from an old Dave Barry column about his family’s dogs, Ernie, the big main dog, and Zippy, the little back up dog. Can’t you just hear Zippy’s annoying yips?

We had a pretty eventful road trip:

  • The cat tried to slice out my right eye just as we were leaving Virginia– poor Paul got some dirty looks: I looked like the poster-child for domestic-abuse victims the whole trip (To my mother’s every-lasting credit, she actually drove about 100 miles to a rest stop in Pennsylvania to retrieve the cat, who decided the only place he was willing to make the trans-continental journey was wedged underneath the Toyota’s accelerator pedal; mom flew out with him a month later.);
  • Our stop-over visit in Peoria with my terminally ill mother-in-law would be the last time I saw her—she died just a few months later;
  • And as we drove across a bridge over the Snake River approaching Burley, Idaho, I watched from behind in wide-eyed horror as a sudden wind-sheer nearly blew Big Main Truck Ernie—and therefore Paul—right off into the Snake River.

Among other incidents. Eventful: oh my yes. But through it all, I was never really alone. Even though we drove separate vehicles, often with no radio reception, and blessedly, with no cat, I never felt alone. For over 3000 miles and a week’s worth of highway driving, I can count on one hand the number of times I allowed another vehicle to pull in between Zippy and Ernie. Between me and Paul.

Yes, I drafted for over 3000 miles.

A reminder of the exquisite sense of security—not to mention great gas mileage— I experienced drafting behind Paul all those miles, all those years ago came back to me on this weekend’s bike ride.

Deep philosophical query:

How can a gentle summer breeze feel like an unrelenting gale when you are trying to ride your bike into it?

For all the cycling we’ve done, this remains a mystery to me.

But I do know for sure, the best place for me to be, whether riding a bike or driving the back-up truck, is right there drafting behind Paul.

The continuing adventures of Zippy and Ernie.

Today, as I approach the milestone on Wednesday of having un-possessed 100 thingsstay tuned!— I present a few drafting supplies of the artistic kind which will surely go to family and friends. Laura in particular is a wonderful painter. She and Erin gave Sam the easel. However, we can all agree: Sam’s chosen art form is music.

Quick inventory:

very cool easel, even if I'm a rotten photographer

  1. Wooden easel
  2. Acrylic paint set
  3. Plastic palette knives
  4. Metal palette knives
  5. Chinese Calligraphy set

3 Responses to “Reliving the Draft”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    Well, yes. I think we can agree that your mother gets the prize for driving to PA to pick up the cat.

    PS – I love the columns about Ernie and Zippy.


  2. Katherine Says:

    Having drafted behind Paul, I can testify to what a good slip stream (as YJ would say) he has.

    I’m pretty sure I was there when that calligraphy set was bought –at Sam’s request. Just not sure where we were!!

  3. sthibeault Says:

    You’re right, Elizabeth: Mom is the best, so we win the prize!
    Katherine, Paul offers an equal-opportunity slip stream to all his cycling mates. I’m so happy to be reminded that you’ve enjoyed this service, too! I think we bought the calligraphy set on a visit to CT, probably the one right after we told him we were dragging him kicking and screaming out of NO VA. Whenever it was, I’m sure bribery of some sort was involved(just kidding- he’s great).

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