On Saturday I had to help my big sister move some belongings into storage. She’d already locked up most of her smaller and lighter things, so all that was left was the furniture and a large cardboard box that fell apart no matter how you tried to pick it up. It was like playing with an Escher painting come to life. After a few attempts, we gave up and left the box for another time.

Anyhow, it came time to load a mattress and the box-spring on top of her SUV. And we put them on in that order: first the mattress, then the box-spring on top of that, right-side up. We had some rope and some ratchet buckles. I hooked the ratchet buckles on as best I could, looped the rope over the mattress and box-spring, pretended to know what sort of knots I would tie, and tied them. I told my sister to turn her hazard lights on, drive slow, and I’d follow her to the storage unit. We took off.

She used to live near Main Street, where there’s a lot of road work being done. Road work meant a bumpy ride. A bumpy ride meant the world would see what a horrible job I did tying those ropes and buckling those buckles. After getting a few blocks down the road, the mattress and box-spring were starting to slide to the right. I called my sister on her cell and told her to pull over in the nearest parking lot. I re-tied the knots, confident that this time, nothing was going to slide off the side of the car. We resumed our slow trek down Main Street.

After following her a few more blocks down the road, I was content that nothing was going to slide off the side of the SUV. However, it looked like the box-spring was getting some lift, and was sliding towards the back of the car. It occurred to me that I tied the rope and buckled the buckles to prevent side-to-side movement, but did nothing to keep anything from sliding off the back. The mattress wasn’t going anywhere as long as it was pinned down by the box-spring, but after getting my sister to pull over for the second time in maybe eight blocks, I saw that the box-spring had slid backwards about a foot. This would be a problem, since we had yet to cross the Main Street Bridge, where winds would be high.

So I re-tied the knots again, this time threading the rope through the woodwork of the box-spring. That sucker was going nowhere. It might generate so much lift that my sister’s SUV would fly away, but it was not going to slide off the roof, period.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I love and miss my big sister. She was two years older than me, she had some cats, her hair was usually black and she liked Wizard of Oz stuff.

We made it over the bridge okay, going 25 mph. I thought that heading down 95 would be far too risky, so we went down San Marco Boulevard. There was an arts festival in San Marco that we were detoured around, and then we got on San Jose. She must have hit the gas too hard, because the second we hit San Jose, the wind caught that box-spring and took the whole SUV with it.

It looked like her car was hovering about 100 feet in the air, floating right down San Jose Boulevard. I thought the wind might let up enough that she’d drift back down to the ground, but no such luck. She missed the turn, and kept floating on down San Jose, over Julington Creek, and into Saint Johns County. I managed to follow her all the way down to East Palatka, where State Road 13 meets up with 17, and then I had to stop for gas. By the time I was ready to go again, she had disappeared.

That was Saturday.

None of this would have happened if I’d remembered to put the mattress on top of the box-spring, like my dad probably told me last time I moved.



4 March 2009 9:28 pm

Love the Wizard of Oz/hot air balloon analogy.

Doctor Hmnahmna

7 March 2009 9:28 pm

We have acquired a Pinot Grigio from Barboursville Vineyards so that you can pour one out for your sis in a couple of weeks.