A laundromat fender-bender | Sampson Independent

2022-06-25 04:12:34 By : Ms. May Zhang

By Mark S. Price Contributing columnist

That described my big brother and I when we careened down the track with the pedal to the metal in our makeshift speedster before slamming against a wall going into the turn, thereby, creating a disaster of epic proportions.

No, we weren’t behind the wheel at Rockingham!

John and I were using an empty laundry basket to dart past a row of washers and dryers at a coin-operated laundromat on the corner of Main Street and Johnston Road in Bentleyville, Pa.

Since these two whippersnappers were bored to tears watching the clothes spin round and round in an industrial-sized machine, we felt it was incumbent upon us to find an exciting extracurricular activity to occupy our time until we headed for home.

After the seven-year-old swiped a plastic container off the top of a table in the back of the long narrow room, we took turns sitting in the imaginary go-cart while the other pushed our new toy across the linoleum floor.

With the humdrum of the machines twisting and turning the linens about, the reverberating sound masked the tomfoolery taking place on the opposite side of the washers.

As soon as I was securely fastened inside the device, the minister’s firstborn revved up the make-believe engine as the Kennywood-like ride veered off course going down the speedway before flipping over while sliding into the turn around the chairs.

Tumbling out onto the sleek floor, I crashed and burned while smashing against the seats lining the window wall at the front of the twenty-four-hour facility.

“Just what do you two think youns are doing,” questioned the housewife with a stern look and hands on hips as she looked down at the mischief makers. “I have a ton of work to do; so I don’t have time for your foolish antics right now.”

“It was an accident,” professed the freckle-faced lad with nervous eyes while climbing out from under the toppled clothes bin. “We were playing cars when it went out of control and flipped over with Mark inside.”

Once the chief stuntman helped to untangle his little brother from the row of metal chairs, he helped his mother pick the little tyke up from off the floor and gave him a tight squeeze.

“I’m okay,” I announced flashing my pearly whites while extending little hands into the air. “I didn’t hurt myself; so we don’t even have to go to the emergency room this time.”

“I have had just about enough out of you two,” warned the disciplinarian wagging her finger before she placed the basket back on the table where her rambunctious offspring found it. “You boys need to sit down on those chairs and stay put until it’s time for us to leave.”

“Do you want a spanking,” she continued walking back to the front of the building where her unruly sons were sitting like a pair of wounded animals. “Because if you don’t listen, you will get the belt when we get home.”

After the little rabble-rousers swallowed hard with their eyes nearly popping out of their heads, they resigned themselves to being confined to the chairs for the duration of their visit to the self-service business.

Looking at one another with sorrowful eyes for our misdeeds, these partners in crime turned around and gazed out the large window at the passing traffic until it was time to leave.

A short while later when we loaded up the car to head for the other side of town, the mother of three backed the station wagon into a telephone pole in the parking lot adjacent to the laundromat.

“Good grief,” muttered the homemaker as she closed her eyes before saying a little prayer of thanksgiving. “Are you boys all right back there; I hope youns didn’t get hurt without wearing any seat belts.”

“We’re fine,” confirmed the second grader, who was peering out the back window, while attempting to have a look-see at what just transpired. “But the car is probably a little messed up after ramming into that pole back here.”

These little scamps hurriedly climbed out of the back seat to inspect the damage to the family station wagon when Mom stepped from the front seat after momentarily burying her face in her hands.

Within a matter of minutes of the one-vehicle accident, our little family heard a siren coming down the main thoroughfare announcing the soon arrival of the Bentleyville Police Department.

When a young blond-haired officer stepped out of his police cruiser and put on his service cap, these little scalawags noticed it was none other than our friend and neighbor, Officer Dylan Rossi.

The amiable young man exchanged pleasantries with the minister’s wife before turning his attention to these little munchkins, who rushed over to see our favorite law enforcement officer.

While the friendly neighborhood crime fighter chewed the fat with his two favorite junior detectives, the young man walked around to the back of the 1970 Ford Ranch Wagon to inspect the damage.

“I’m just glad everyone’s all right,” noted the town official as he patted the pastor’s second born on the backside before setting him down. “It could have been a lot worse if the pole had landed on top of your vehicle.”

“Since it’s in a parking lot,” he continued with pursed lips while reclaiming his headgear from the little scamp. “I couldn’t give you a ticket even if I wanted to; and believe me, I wouldn’t want to do that for all the money in the world.”

“Other than your dented fender, there’s no real damage done,” he added walking back to his patrol car to retrieve a clipboard from the passenger’s seat.

After the young blond-haired officer filled out some required paperwork, he said goodbye to his junior detectives before the little family went on their merry way while waving to the smiling faces in the back window.

Mark S. Price is a former city government/county education reporter for The Sampson Independent. He currently resides in Clinton.

Call: T: 910-592-8137 F: 910-592-8756 Address: 109 W. Main St. Clinton, NC 28328