Danny’s family spent the better part of the 1950’s on the road. For context you may want to read:
It was one of those hot summer days and we were on the road again. We were traveling west on US Route 66 with trailer in tow. Dad stopped at a truck stop for gas and mom made sandwiches as usual. Back then, mom and I rode in the trailer and dad drove. We all got out and used the rest rooms located on the side of the station. I am sorry for what happened next to this day, but you have to consider that I was only six.
As we came out of the rest room I spotted an ice cream sign on the restaurant window. “I want an ice cream cone.” I pleaded. Without hesitating she replied, "No! We don't have any money.”
I WANT AN ICE CREAM CONE! I screamed at the top of my voice; loud enough that all in the vicinity must have heard.
Dad jumped out and told me in no certain terms to get into the trailer. I kicked my foot on the gravel in the parking lot scattering rocks everywhere and I started cursing him. Now if you’re a kid reading this; please, please never do that! It will cost you. He kicked my butt all the way to the trailer and headed back to the cab. I stood there by the pavement, crying. US 66 back then was a two lane and a semi-trailer truck flew past.
The dust swirled and the breeze was strong, so I shut my eyes. When I opened them, I saw a piece of paper fluttering down to the ground a few steps away. I looked closer. It was a dollar bill. When picked it up, I realized my first impression was wrong. It was not a dollar, it was five dollars! I was so excited I ran to mom with it and told her we could get ice cream now. I tried to understand mom’s answer but "no" was not a word I would accept at the time.
I was determined to get that ice cream cone; I had money and a plan.
I told mom I was going to ride with dad in the truck as she stepped into the trailer. I would often ride up front with dad. So she nodded her head, no problem. As she shut the door on the trailer, I rushed into the restaurant to get my ice cream. When I came back out, they were gone. I mean really gone.
I ran to the road and looked both ways, but they were nowhere in sight. I had lost the dip of ice cream in my cone while running. So there I stood by the highway crying and grasping an empty ice cream cone. I had been abandoned by my parents!
Some men came and took me back to the gas pumps and asked me where my folks were. More and more people came out and gathered around me. I'm really scared. A nice lady in the restaurant brought me out another ice cream cone. Not long after, mom and dad pulled up. Dad told the gathering about how it happened. For some miles, Mom had gone crazy in the trailer trying to get his attention when she didn't see my head in the cab of the truck.
I learned a lot of lessons in my childhood but I didn't learn how to put them to use until we had kids. Or maybe it was when I turned 30.