Two views of Todd with his 1968 Nova
Super Sport, 1985.

Note the Avocado Buddy Hauler in the
background; the author's personal ride
at the time.



The traffic into Stillwater was a little slow on Highway 177 today. When we arrived at the four-lane section approaching the Cimarron Turnpike thingy, all the really impatient drivers tore out around us in the right lane, breaking standard four-lane traffic etiquette, but not tradition. Finally, after the car in front of me took to the passing lane, I found myself directly behind the cause of the slowness. It was an old farm truck, common in these agricultural parts, with a decidedly noticeable characteristic, uncommon even among farm vehicles.

Paragraphs are things of constant consternation for me. I never know when to start a new one. They say something about when you start a new thought or topic or something. But this whole story is one topic, so I guess I'll have to occasionally divert to another topic altogether to prevent this from becoming one long paragraph.

So, back to the story. You've seen those little dogs trotting down the street with lots of energy and no one holding them on a leash causing them to walk at a tilt. Instead, they walk at an angle like they have this intention of darting off the path in pursuit of a nearby postman. That is our farm truck in a nutshell. It was heading due south, straight down the highway, but it's axial bearing was approximately 165° - that is about 300 feet on down the road in the opposing lane. And there was a center median. It was heading towards Stillwater, but its heart was in Galveston.

This looks like another opportunity for a paragraph change if you are with me. Let's see, perhaps at this point it should be pointed out that no one should really be going into Stillwater but by Stillwater, indicated by the fact that I-35, though going straight through Norman, for example, bypasses Stillwater by nearly ten miles. As it says in the Psalms, "He leadeth me beside still waters." I quote the Authorized version for emphasis. I don't know who exactly authorized it, but many swear by it. Especially in court. I personally go in for the NIV in most cases, and the NAS is very good too, but less poignant is this situation.

It was clear to a scientific mind, honed by several hours of CSI viewing, that our farm truck took one in the rear quarter panel one day. After all, unlike osteoporosis, these things don't happen over time. But the scene of the crime is not our concern. No, we're here to talk about another crime.

Excellent new paragraph opportunity! (I rarely use exclamation points!) One day, long ago around the Jurassic Park Era, when muscle cars still roamed the earth, my elder brother and I were tooling home on Malone Road in one of his prime examples of American Muscle, when all of a sudden this school bus comes over the hill and directly upon us like a disturbed alligator attempting to take down an opposing rhino with his tail. I suppose that would be a crocodile, but no matter. The front end of this bus was in this bus's lane and the rear end of this bus was in this writer's lane. In fact, I believe that I, in the passenger's seat, was closer to the bus's rear bumper than my brother, who was in the driver's seat. In the words of Arlo Guthrie, we made a sharp turn off the road.

Seizing this new paragraph potential-creating diversion, I would like to point out that Arlo actually said, "I made a sharp turn off the road." And to further the inaccuracies of this document, Todd and I did not really, truly turn off the road but only swerved a good deal. But the crux of the matter is that, rapidly thereafter, we made a U-turn on Malone Road and chased the bus down to the corner and onto Benson Park Road to the spot where the bus pulled over to eject his next passenger. Todd utilized this turn of events to pull into the ditch and up beside the bus so that he could yell a few words of advice to the bus driver concerning the safety issues of his bus towards fellow drivers.

And now that we are going to study the bus driver's response to this move on my brother's part, we will begin a new paragraph, and I can assure you that, although this dissertation is approaching long-windedness, the end of this story will commence very shortly. You would expect a school bus driver - a man drilled in the art of automotive safety - to covet this revelation concerning the profound angle of his bus. But no, he felt obliged to go off and report my brother to the county sheriff who proceeded to dispatch an All Points Bulletin for deputies everywhere to keep a sharp eye out for one Todd Tate, perpetrator of criminal activities. For we must remember that when the little red stop sign sticks out from the side of the school bus, it is illegal (and here I quote Arlo Guthrie with absolute precision) to drive beyond the rear bumper of the bus, even though that very rear bumper routinely sticks his nose into other peoples' business.

So, with one absolutely final paragraph, I will sum up the matter. Todd was never caught. I suppose the case went cold, because he remains a free man to this day. I seriously hope that this confession does not result in his conviction. What became of the crooked bus, I do not know. But one thing is for certain, paragraphs are a far greater menace to my readership than any crooked bus ever was.

© 2015 Dane Tate