Pondering eventual Schlueterville rebellion

“What are you writing about, Tam?” asked Hunka Burnin’ Hubby. “What secrets will you tell this week?” I’ve told you quite a bit about the souls of Schlueterville — the good-hearted family and friends who appear regularly on this page.

It’s a wonder they haven’t dumped me at the edge of town with a well-deserved kick in the pants. I keep a bag packed just in case, and ponder how the town-ousting event might occur.

Hunka will drive the car, which will always be a Ford. He drove a ’73 Mustang when I met him 30 years ago. It had fat back tires, no muffler, a hood scoop big enough to swallow a cat, and a chrome gas pedal shaped like a foot. The horn button popped off and landed in your lap, and the headlights cut out on occasion as you tooled down the road. It was a great and awful car.

When it died we got another Ford, then another, and another still. Even his ’54 International had a Ford engine. Once there was an oddball Buick in the garage, but Hunka soon replaced it with, you guessed it, a Ford.

Our oldest son, Rocket, will determine the route, which will be precisely mapped and calculated for arrival time, fuel consumption, and required torque. Rocket is a mechanical engineer, and figuring is part of his DNA. Even as a kid, dinner conversations focused on turbos, super chargers, and cam shaft lift duration.

One of his fondest memories is a family trip to the NHRA Nationals in Topeka, Kan. We arrived in the parking lot just as top fuel drag cars left the starting line. The noise was palpably loud, and I can still see the bottom of Rocket’s shoes as he sprinted for the stands.

Our youngest son, Magnet, will crack jokes and pack a first aid kit. As a senior University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic training major, he’s spent a ton of time icing knees, taping ankles, and helping Husker athletes avoid and recover from injury.

Health and fitness have always been important, and Magnet grew up on a diamond, in a gym, and on a court. There were always packs of friends hanging around, too, shoving each other down the driveway in wagons, jumping bikes into the lake, four-wheeling down swampy roads, and flipping burgers at spontaneous barbecues.

Others will help to pitch me into the ditch, including Magnet’s effervescent girlfriend, Fireball, and Rocket’s adventurous fiancée, Trooper. I’ve probably told you more about them than they’d care to have you know. Good friends Webster the Corn Bandit, Scrabble the Negotiator, and Festus the Historian will offer up a hearty cheer as the whole crew drives away.

So there I’ll sit, abandoned and despondent on a lonely gravel road, while the people who mean so much to me rattle away in dusty, swirling splendor. But I know they’ll come to my rescue in no-time flat. Their heroic natures cannot be denied. And they like me for reasons I cannot begin to fathom.

God bless their big, squishy Schlueterville hearts.

Tamera Schlueter

Tam Schlueter adopts a "strike-fast-and-keep-them-laughing" approach to writing. Her column appears every Thursday in the Hastings Tribune, and showcases the wonder of family, dogs, muscle cars, and folks with blue collars and no-nonsense attitudes.

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