Three’s a Crowd

I’ve obviously never driven a car.I have, however, ridden in one.For this post I’ve asked my mom, Linda, to recount a typical car ride for the three Tharp girls. Here’s a hint: we all get along now.

I’m not positive about the year, and I don’t remember where we were going, but this I still see clearly: our three daughters, ages five, six, and nine, sitting in the backseat of our burgundy Ford Taurus. A burgundy Ford Taurus—that puts the year at about 1992. Quite possibly the last year a Ford Taurus was in style.

It was summertime, or maybe it was just hot outside, because I remember a row of six bare legs visible from my spot in the passenger seat.

That simple equation—heat plus six legs belonging to children averaging 6.66 years in age crammed together in the backseat of a midsize sedan—could only equal trouble.


Kelley would have been sitting in the middle of the backseat because, as the youngest, pecking order demanded that she sit on the hump. Never mind that her legs were as long or longer than her next-oldest sister. Kelley got the hump. Which should have meant that her two sisters, although not happy about having to go anywhere (I’m positive we weren’t going anyplace fun, or the following situation would never have happened), wouldn’t have room for complaint.

Anyone with three kids knows that there’s always an odd man (or girl) out. In our family that was never Erin who, as the oldest, held the self-appointed title of Queen Bee. That left Kelley and Sarah frequently at odds and often vying for the title of Second in Command, a position Erin bestowed as she saw fit.

You get the picture: hot, three kids, two of whom are striving for entry into the third’s inner circle

After nine years of parenting and six years of parenting two or more, I thought I’d heard everything. Until the day of that hot car ride, that is. Because Sarah, desperate to mentally throw jabs at Kelley, tattled announced, “She’s looking out my window.” She probably said this before we had pulled out of the driveway.

Funny. I didn’t know car windows were personal property. And I would have said as much, if Kelley hadn’t spoken up first.

Now, Kelley might have been the youngest, but what she lacked in seniority she made up for in pluck. So what if she was stuck with the hump? So what if she was usually bribed with incomplete stationary kits or all-the-good-pages-already-colored coloring books so that Erin and Sarah could play video store (it was the 1990’s, after all) without her? Sometimes having pluck is enough.

So after Sarah pronounced that—gasp—Kelley was looking out her window, Kelley one-upped Sarah in the tattling information department by telling us that Sarah was “thinking bad thoughts about me.”

Was it Erma Bombeck who said never have more children than you have car windows? My sentiments exactly.

I may not remember the precise year, or where we were going that day, but I’m pretty certain we couldn’t get there fast enough.

Summer Morning

I had no idea about what, I just felt like writing today. I guess you can call this a post about nothing. Actually I have a point; it’s just not the most important.

What’s your favorite season? I am a warm-weather person. I love summer. Feeling 95+ temperatures on my skin and looking out my French doors and seeing the backyard full of color is my favorite. I have wonderful summertime memories: Playing in the sprinklers (this was obviously before the drought), riding bikes after dinner, and also after dinner visiting with Mary, the elderly woman across the street. So sweet, but as with lots of old people, she could be cranky. Mary would be puffing on her cigarette, while complaining our very uppity next-door neighbors.

About September, though, I was ready for winter. I had grown sick of my summer wardrobe, but would need it for at least another month. I would look at sweaters and long to wear them. I was tired of hearing the air conditioner click on longed for the dead-skin smell of the heater the first time it’s turned on for the season.

I guess you could me fickle. But I guess I shouldn’t complain. It is currently 9:48 a.m. It is 73 degrees, but there’s supposed to be a high of 92. People in other parts of the country would kill for such weather! I am in the backyard, the sky is bright blue, the plants are full of color, and Maggie is taking a nap in the shade.

No sweater needed this morning!

No sweater needed this morning!

I guess I shouldn’t complain about my wardrobe—maybe sweaters are overrated.