Saying I struggle with keeping up with my blog and selecting interesting and informative topics to share would be an understatement. My goal this year was to post something...anything...at least once a month. So far I have accomplished this goal...sort of. Most of my time has been spent on my new Crime Blog. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I hope you will take a minute and give it a try. Here is the link (also found under “My Blog” on the drop-down menu).
July has become somewhat of a complex month for me. My family typically gathers to celebrate the birth of our nation on Independence Day with fireworks and BBQ’s just like any average American family. We eat, we laugh, we enjoy the fireworks and the reaction of the young children after each colorful explosion. But in our family, someone is missing. We lost my younger sister, Lori in July 2004. She passed away suddenly following heart surgery. She was young, big-hearted, and wildly irrational at times, but she was ours. And her life was cut way too short.
It would take an entire book and hours upon hours to relay the lifetime of adventures my sister and I shared. Suffice it to say, my early childhood was spent arguing with my mom because I wanted to go hang out with my friends alone; not babysit my younger sister (I always lost that battle). There was a five year age gap between us, which seemed like a lifetime to me at the time but later seemed like nothing. I soon progressed to accepting my sister’s constant companionship, whether I wanted it or not... To ultimately cherishing our time together. This didn’t happen overnight of course. The progression was gradual but deep rooted. By the time she passed away, we were not only close sisters but we were lifelong friends.
Which brings me to the reason I mention this. I thought it might be fun to relay some of our wild adventures together. For those of you who know us...a few of them might just sound familiar. To those of you who don’t...I hope you get a laugh or two as you read our story.
So... here’s my introduction. I am going to call these crazy, uninhibited and sometimes dangerous events “Wild Adventures with Mel and Lou”. Why, you might ask? Well, let me explain.
*** Did your parents hate you or did they just want boys? ***
The year was circa 1990 something. It was a warm evening in the middle of summer. And two sisters were bored. A condition some might cringe at...others might ask to join along. On this particular evening they decided to venture out alone. The duo was, of course...me and my accomplice, fellow action seeker and sister...Lori.
We climbed into my almost new, black Thunderbird and headed for downtown Salt Lake City. Neither one of us had a destination in mind. We didn’t have a plan. We just had HoJo on the radio (for those of you who don’t speak 80’s, that’s Howard Jones) and too much energy to stay home. So we did what teenage and twenty-something bored, energetic, young people did back then in Salt Lake on a weekend. We dragged State Street with the radio a little too loud, the wind flowing through the open windows and maybe just a little too much attitude. We were there to have fun and for us, that meant people watching. Now, I know some folks head downtown to hookup or find a date. Not us. We were just there to mess with people and blow off steam.
To some that might sound cruel but it really was harmless. As we drove up State Street, flipped around and headed in the opposite direction, we soon became bored... again. I’m going to take a minute to insert a personal quandary here. For the life of me, I have no idea what fool decided dragging a main thoroughfare was fun. I mean... you go up, you turn around, you go back, you turn around, and you drive back up again. And yet, a few decades ago, this activity was considered a time honored tradition in many cities, states and small communities across the nation. It was practically a rite of passage here in Salt Lake. Go figure.
Lori AKA Lou...the Instigator
Okay - Intermission over, back to the story
So...we were deep in discussion, debating our next move, trying to decide if we should leave or hang out a little longer, go find something else to do, or give things a few more minutes to see if it got interesting. Our dilemma was simple, if we left...where could we go? Not quite ready to call it a night and head home, we made one more turn and started north up the preverbal dragstrip. That’s when things got a little more interesting. A truck pulled up beside us that contained two guys who apparently were also bored with the mundane. They seemed cool, personable and relatively harmless as we did the parallel dance common while leap-frogging through traffic at midnight on a busy roadway full of bored, energetic youth. Then came the challenge... “Let’s play chase.” Always up for a little competition, we accepted.
If you have never played chase the rules are simple. One vehicle (the hider), takes off. The second vehicle (the seeker) follows. At some point the hider takes a turn off the main roadway onto a side road. This signals the beginning of the game. The seeker has to continue at least one block down the road before they can turn and begin searching for the hider. It’s kind of like hide-and-seek with cars. If the seeker finds the hider, they simply pull up behind the vehicle, honk once, then speed past their competitor. The roles are now reversed.
If you are both good, you can chase each other around the city for hours. If one driver is better than the other, you simply disappear never to be seen again. Eventually the seeker will give up and the game is over...you lose.
We decided I would be the hider first and the truck would be the seeker. I took my time, waiting for just the right moment to make a sudden right and speed away down darkened backroads. It didn’t take long before the truck found us. Roles were reversed and again, within a matter of minutes, I located my prey. This went on for quite some time. Both of us had played the game before and we were both talented adversaries.
On my next turn at being the hider, I decided things needed to be taken up a notch. Otherwise, we would be playing this game until the sun came up. I glanced in my rearview, saw an opening and made a sharp right. Then it was peddle to the metal. I accelerated, swerved around another corner, and encouraged Lori to be my spotter. We may have coasted through a stop sign or two without making a hard stop, taken a turn just a little too sharp and left a mark or two on the asphalt as we burned rubber hoping to disappear around the next turn. I can’t say for sure but at one point we may have also “gone dark” in an attempt to escape a dark blue predator in the form of a decked out truck. The statute of limitation has expired on this hypothetical semi-recklessness but I’m still not confessing to anything.
When I was sure we had lost our tail, we headed for home. I’m sure you can imagine our surprise, when a dark blue truck pulled up behind us as we coasted into Murray (a city that is well outside the normal drag range). Now, what? We had to lose these guys. We simply could not go home until we did. Not an easy task. We’d been trying to lose them for well over an hour. The truck slid in beside us and motioned for us to rendezvous in a nearby parking lot.
As I pulled in beside the guys, Lori exited the vehicle. She never did understand the importance of communication. In my mind, we would pull in, wait for them to get completely out of the truck, then floor it, and hightail it to the next through street – disappearing blindly into the night, never to be seen again. Not so easy to execute when the passenger hops out and starts a conversation with the enemy. As I exited my vehicle and approached the two men I heard part of their conversation. “What’s your name,” was clearly the first question they had asked her.
Lori, again communication! Claimed her name was Lou. Where had that come from? They didn’t believe her. As she continued to debate the issue, I stepped up beside her and was instantly confronted with “her name”. Luckily I overheard the brief exchange and was able to confirm this little white lie without hesitation. That’s when I was asked the same question. I immediately answered, “Mel”. And in the space of a few seconds, without any coordination whatsoever Mel and Lou were born.
“Did your parents hate you or did they just want boys?” one of the guys asked immediately.
“They were expecting boys,” we both said immediately and our identities were solidified.
What happened to the guys, you might ask. Well... we ditched them, of course. We followed them to a friend’s party and when they exited their vehicle, we drove away. Lori, never one to miss an opportunity to pour salt in a wound, called out a message to our surprised but worthy opponents as we drove away...