The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Opinion: An annoyed family is a close family


Local columnist

I called my parents on Monday, asking, “Remember that summer when we drove to Albuquerque in the Monte Carlo to see Becky dance? Well ... why did all the other kids go in the bus and we took our own car?”

“Uh …” Mom, whom I asked first, couldn’t remember. She gave the phone to Dad.

I refreshed Dad’s memory. “Remember when we went to Albuquerque? It was in the 1970s, and we went with the summer program at the North Portales Community Center, but everyone rode in the bus, except us. Why did we take our car?”

Dad couldn’t remember either. It was only four decades ago.

I tried to help Dad out. “Remember, you were frustrated because you couldn’t find where we were going, and me, Becky and Julie were in the back seat giggling and making a lot of noise, and so you pulled over and turned around and slapped us all in a row with your hand; one, two, three?” We got quiet real fast.

Dad laughed. We all remember that incident. Over the years, we have laughed about it many times, though, granted, we weren’t laughing at the time. Our faces were stinging from the hand burn, and our pride was hurt. We weren’t emotionally scarred for life, just for a few minutes, enough time for Dad to figure out how to get to the convention center.

Neither Mom, nor Dad, nor Becky, who was still visiting Mom and Dad when I called, could remember why we drove in Dad’s old Monte Carlo to Albuquerque, but they remembered the infamous hand-slap.

Maybe Mom and Dad wanted to see Becky and the other girls dance “The Hustle.” Maybe Mom had gone for work reasons because she worked for Community Action, the agency which oversaw the writing of a grant for the summer youth program. Maybe they just wanted to get out of town.

After I got off the phone with Mom and Dad, the real questions then came to my mind. How did we all fit in that two-door black Monte Carlo? Of course, we didn’t have to wear seat belts back then. How did Dad find the Albuquerque Convention Center without GPS? What did we do on that road trip without cell phones, DVD players or video games?

We drove Mom and Dad crazy, that’s what we did. Oh, and we made memories to last a life time. Selective memories, of course, but memories nonetheless.

This summer, take a drive with your kids, minus the gadgets. Let them get on your nerves for a little bit. No parent has ever died from this condition. And kids, let your parents get on your nerves too.

Dr. Phil has never said it, but I would venture to guess that an annoyed family is a healthy and close family. If you haven’t driven each other crazy, then you haven’t spent enough time together.

Helena Rodriguez is a Portales native. Contact her at: [email protected]


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