Cram: (v) to fill something by force
It is impossible that all of the memories we have of another person are going to be good. Matter of fact, a good portion of the people we encounter may end up touching our lives in more negative ways than positive.
Yet it is useless for us to hold onto grudges, believing they grow more valuable over time, like a fine wine.
Case in point:
Much of the time I spent with my mother was not particularly beneficial to my soul. I suppose this article would be more interesting if I went into the details of those unfortunate moments. But since I have sifted through them, I will spare you the unnecessary remembrance.
What I would like to do is recall one Thursday afternoon—many, many years ago—when my mom showed up to the junior high school to drive me across town to the gymnasium, where I was going to attend basketball practice. I was just thirteen—frisky, ornery and always looking to do something beyond the pale.
I had invited all my friends from the team to catch a ride with me in our family sedan. Little did my mother know, when I asked her if it was alright for some other guys to come along, was that I had invited fourteen.
Now, she was not a woman given to enjoying, enduring, and certainly never planning a prank. I don’t know why, on this particular day, she didn’t put her foot down and object. (Maybe it was because her foot was on the gas pedal.)
But one by one, my friends crawled into the trunk and the back seat, laying on top of each other, giggling like first graders, complaining and breathing heavily, until finally I inserted myself into the front seat, which now held six people including my mother, barely able to close the door behind me.
Once we all were in, she chose to take a long, dramatic pause. Now that I, too, am a parent, I’m sure her thinking was:
A. What in the hell am I doing?
B. Won’t it be just as much trouble to get them out of the car as drive them?
C. Where is the town cop this time of day? and
D. Could I actually make a stand on this without totally humiliating my son and becoming known as one of “those” adults?
She simply reached up, put the car in drive, and took us the two-and-a-half miles—very, very slowly—to our destination.
She was surrounded by adolescent laughing, gasping, spitting and snorting.
She never said a word.
She never took her eyes off the mirrors.
We arrived, and miraculously, were able to disengage from one another’s flesh, run into the building and start bouncing the balls.
I didn’t thank her, I didn’t look back, and we never spoke of it again.
But there is one day in my memory when my mother, with all her quirks, allowed me to cram fourteen friends into the Chevrolet—without yelling or fussing.