Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By Milt Montague

It was Saturday and Milt was driving up to Lake Peekskill from Manhattan. He had closed their shop on Madison Avenue at 6:00 PM, rushed home for the car, only an eight minute walk, and was now halfway to their summer retreat at Lake Peekskill, New York. They had located this charming cottage on a small lake just one hour’s drive from the store and rented it for the entire summer even though they used it just on weekends and for their vacation, one two week period in August.

It was the first weekend in August and the weatherman had promised thunderstorms for both Saturday and Sunday. The skies were getting darker and darker as he drove. He was thinking about his middle daughter Andrea, It was her sixth birthday and Milt was deciding about the party they would have at the lake house to celebrate. He resolved to make her a Pinata. He would take an empty grocery carton and cover it with tiers of fringed, multi-colored crepe paper, and fill it with all kinds of candy. Milt would hang it from the big tree in the yard just high enough that it was slightly above the heads of the “party guests” [Andrea’s friends]. Milt planned to cut a trap door on the underside of the carton, attached to a long cord, so that after all the children had taken turns at whacking the pinata, he could open the door and the girls would be showered with small pieces of candy, all individually wrapped.

As he turned off the highway and onto the state road, the threatening sky exploded violently, belching forth torrents of rain as Jupiter hurled thunderous lightning bolts directly at Lake Peekskill. Milt kept his eyes peeled for the Lake Road sign. This was
a one way unpaved dirt road that circled the cottages that were built on the periphery
of the lake.

When Milt turned onto Lake Road it was raining hard and the skies were pitch black. After traveling a few minutes, he had to stop. The storm had toppled a large tree directly across the road.

He could not pass. This was really a major predicament.

He could not call for help [this was 1969, long before the advent of cell phones] and the single lane roadway was too narrow to make a U turn. The road was only a few feet above the lake and if he slid off the slippery road, he would end up in the lake. He was due at the cottage in a few minutes. If he wasn’t there on time his wife and the girls would be frantic.

The raging storm left him no choice. He put the car into reverse and drove backwards, s-l-o-w-l-y……….v–e–r–y…………s—l—o—w—l—y, around the lake, for what seemed to be hours, until, at long last, he finally came to their rental cottage. All in one piece.

Milt and all his girls had a particularly celebratory dinner that night.


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