Rock of Ages

It appeared that some awful tragic event had taken place; an earthquake maybe, or victims spilling out of an airplane, and tumbling from the sky.

A man, woman, and toddler were immobile on the pavement, the landing spot of poor decisions and alcohol.

It was early May.  Petey and I had been dating since January.  We didn’t have a date that night because we were taking Mom out for her birthday. 

On the way, I happened to glance out the window at the surreal sight of Petey and our friend Pig, standing in the parking lot of the bank, which was closed.

They were pacing around Petey’s beloved Corolla, which was sitting at a 45-degree angle resting upon a large landscaping rock as if taking a short break from the business of ferrying Petey around Elizabeth City.

I think my whole family had taken in the bizarre vignette at the same time.  By the time I yelped, “Dad!”, he was already maneuvering the car into a u-turn.

As soon as we turned into the bank and the car slowed, I jumped out and ran.

Right up to two drunken, befuddled miscreants.  I was embarrassed, disappointed, and frustrated by the poor judgment of Petey and the Pig, and resulting havoc.

But I also knew I had to put that on hold, because when not being a drunken fool, Petey was studying to be a registered nurse, and would graduate in a few weeks.  The bank was in one of the most visible spots on the most traveled road in town.  It was only a matter of time before someone made a phone call and a man with a badge showed up.

This dumb mistake could very well ruin Petey’s career before it even started.

Even my parents agreed we needed to get Petey out of this pickle, then after the crisis, have a discussion.

Not the actual incident, but I guess Petey’s not alone.

The car was resting on its undercarriage, so backing down was not an option.  It needed to be lifted up and off.  And the Corolla’s jack wouldn’t go high enough.

We were gonna need another jack.

At that time, my dad volunteered as an EMT and a first aid trainer.  He worked on ambulances and taught CPR and basic lifesaving techniques.  He had a class to teach the next day and his materials were already packed in the trunk.

To get to the jack, the classroom aids needed to be taken out. 

All three of them.

The entire family.

Imagine this troupe spread all over a parking lot…

The man, woman, and toddler dummies used to teach cardiac and pulmonary resuscitation.  

They were removed from the trunk and placed upon the pavement. 

All three of them.

The entire family.

Creating what looked like the scene of a massacre.

Somehow they succeeded in separating car from rock.  Moments after pulling the car into a regulation spot and replacing dummies into the trunk, a police car slowly drove past the now unremarkable scene of two cars and their non-law breaking occupants.

Dinner was forgotten as Dad drove Petey and Pig home in Petey’s Toyota and Mom followed with me and my little brother in our car.  We then went home, leaving Petey at his house to think about what was undoubtedly a blistering lecture from my dad.

The humiliating experience and “Dad talk” worked.  Petey stopped drinking and became a nurse that co-workers and patients all agreed was remarkably level-headed, knowledgable, and nurturing. 

But every once in a while, sitting around the table after dinner, while Petey sits with the most sheepish of expressions, the rest of the family will be nearly hysterical remembering “That Rock at the First Union Parking Lot.”

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at

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