In 1977-78 our family lived on the military base in China Lake, California, where Craig worked at the Naval Weapons Center. He helped design Sidewinder Missile (I guess it can be mentioned now, even though it was top secret then). Every week I made a trip to the public library to check out fat novels and return the stack from the previous week. I had this habit of setting the books on top of the car while buckling my baby into his car seat. Then I would grab the books and set them on the front seat. Except for this one time. When I forgot they were up there.
I happily cruised away from the library down Ridgecrest Blvd., the town’s main street, at the 25 mph speed limit. What a grand sight I must have been that sunny day with my driver’s window open, elbow resting on the door, looking like I had the world by the tail. Except there was a stack of library books on top of my car.
I turned left into the base and stopped at the guard shack where a handsome young uniform checked my ID. He stared at me intently (was I not the foxiest chick he’d seen all day?) but he never said a word, then waved me into the base. At home in the driveway I got out to unbuckle the baby and my eye caught something on top of the car. Of all the absurdities--I had left the books on top of the car and every one of them was still there just like I had left them! And that guard had said nothing; he hadn't thought I was foxy, just a major idiot. He must have had a jovial time telling the story of that wacky mom, over a beer at the mess hall that night.