The Charlie Bravo Story

Miss Ellie makes a brake for it

The Chinese have a curse, “may you live in interesting times”; and the last half of  2016 at the Casa has surely been “interesting”, much like a train wreck is “interesting”.

From the beginning, the mission of this page has been to be a non-saccharine refuge from the barrage of negativism on social media. But as with the stories of  Stevie’s passing, the colostomy saga, the layoff, etc, I have to consider the fact that, as extended family, you deserve to hear the sometimes not-so-pretty backstory, as uncomfortable as it is for me to tell it.

Since the layoff in September, there have been so many minor setbacks pile up at the Casa that you could spin a sitcom out of the situation; car problems, house problems,  plumbing problems, then more car problems, etc, etc. Fix one? Two more pop up. And are these “normal” problems, with easily definable solutions? Are you kidding? This IS the Casa, where weirdness abounds. The latest example:

Miss Ellie is an awesome old car, but she is an old car, with all the accompanying idiosyncrasies that come with age. Mom likes running through the gears of the five speed so she drove thevSubie to work at the hospital earlier this week.  When she tried to drive home that night, the cantankerous old biddy refused to budge(Miss Ellie, not mom). I was called in to possibly administer first aid; I tried various methods of persuasion, tapping on the calipers, rocking the car back and forth, even giving the car a stern but knowledgeable stare, but nothing would convince the old girl to move.  I have since learned that older Subarus have a “hill holder” feature that prevents the car from rolling backwards at a stoplight, and Ellie’s had a developed a chronic case of “cableus snapitis”, causing  the brakes to lock up.

Not knowing this at the time,  I had no choice but to leave  her in the middle of the deserted parking lot to be dealt with in the light of the next morning, when there were LOTS of passers-by to witness my latest humiliation.

The next day, I dropped off mom at work and trudged up the hill to do what must be done, but Miss Ellie was nowhere to be found. Had she tired of life with Charlie and decided to make a break for freedom? Had she been stolen? Who would steal a 30 year old Subaru, and how much would insurance pay? Had hospital security seen her sitting overnight and had her towed? So many unanswered questions. I was in the process of calling security when I spied Ellie’s nose poking sheepishly out of the trees at the edge of the lot: evidently the frozen parking brake problem had somehow miraculously resolved itself during the night, and she had rolled backwards down the hill.

An object in motion tends to remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force, in this case probably a physician’s expensive Mercedes, but there was no such Mercedes. There was a curb, a curb separating the parking lot from a very steep hill, a curb that Miss Ellie had decided to jump with her back wheels.  With some scrubby pine trees being the only obstacle stopping her from ending up on the interstate far below, this was not going to end well for anyone concerned.

But her front wheels didn’t clear the curb, and that’s how I found her this morning, hanging by her elbows like “yo, dad! where have YOU been all night?”

Embarrassing? You have no idea. Miraculous? Equally so. But sometimes you have no choice but to laugh and go on. I have to ask myself:  As bad as things may seem at times, would I trade my current  situation at the Casa for the soul sucking life before the layoff, with the security of a company car, vacation, paycheck, etc?

Not on your life.

I have no idea where this road is going, but I do know that  we’re in for one hell of a good ride. Traveling without adversity is just touring, and I can’t wait to see where journey takes us.

Who wants to ride shotgun?

Tomorrow: how Miss Ellie redeemed herself and saved Christmas.


Join the discussion

  1. Elisabeth Parris

    Lol! I don’t know if I’d trust Miss Ellie on those mountains anymore, bless her little ol’ soul…

  2. Robin Daniel

    OMG!!! Okay, I really have to say, you just can’t make this stuff up!!! Everything happens for a reason; Miss Ellie will let you know what’s what when she feels like it!! Merry Christmas to you and everyone one at the casa.

  3. Carol Tedford

    I am so thankful she didn’t hit any parked cars and that she put her elbows down and held on to NOT go over that steep hill.

  4. Liz Bell Dotterer

    Oh my. Glad Miss Ellie is OK! Have a merry and safe Christmas.

  5. Cherie Crosby Baker

    A nice example of GOOD Karma!

  6. Cathy Brown

    That car likes to live life on the edge.

  7. Melanie Stubbs Rogers Smith

    Glad Miss Ellie didn’t misbehave too bad. Looking forward to tomorrow.

  8. Alayna Hodgson

    Wow!! Close call! Such a daredevil, that Miss Ellie!

  9. Valerie Joyce Kerr

    OMG – what a lucky escape she had. I hope you’re not too hard on the “old girl ”
    So sorry to hear you’re having a tough time arm. But I believe everything happens for a reason and you’ve been there before. Hope your light shines soon and everything sorts itself out. Wishing you,everyone at the Casa and all CB’s followers a Merry Christmas. And all the best for 2017 ❤️❤️❤️

  10. Rose Bortolussi

    Parking brake plus leaving in reverse may save any future embarrassing moments.

  11. Rose Bortolussi

    But would love to see any security camera footage of her attempted escape.

  12. Yvonne Adams

    Miss Ellie looks fairly unharmed after her excursion. Any chance there’s a video somewhere? Could be interesting to see.

  13. Ann Ownsby-Scott

    Miss Ellie fits in perfect with the Family……I am so glad that there was no damage and all ended well….Merry Christmas……

  14. Cathy Buro-Yauch

    I think, like a typical elder fashion, that Miss Ellie is keeping you younger whipper snappers on your toes! lol

  15. Patti Saunders

    A good laugh this rainy morning in OK. Maybe Miss Ellie was feeling left out and just wanted to get your attention. Hope she behaves from now on. I’m so glad she didn’t end up in a pile of old car parts down the hill. I have found those Arkansas hills can cause all kinds of havoc. Never loose your sense if humor.

  16. Cindy Feltz

    Some higher force was at work. Amazing, all the bad that could easily have been, turned out to be an embarrassing inconvenience. I’m glad Miss Ellie escaped injury (and others) during her escape.

  17. Kathleen Ellis Delatorre

    Wow. Even miss Ellie goes on adventures! Never a dull moment at the casa.

  18. Evelyn Pretty

    Never a dull moment!!! Can’t wait for the next chapter!

  19. Sam Howard

    I’m laughing so hard, there’s tears rollin’; I be thinking we’re in about the same boat, but you put such a perspective on it I can now laugh it all off. Love all you Wackos.

  20. Faith Kidwell

    Oh No Is Ms Ellie OK? any broken parts? and did she yell WEEEEEEEEEEE all the way down the hill backwards?

    • Heather Shaw

      Miss Ellie definitely seems like the sorta girl, that would yell WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, all the way down!! She does after all, live at the Casa! Just wish I could have seen the expressions of any onlookers, as Miss Ellie was making her trip down the hill. Having owned a Subie Justy, I remember that “hill hugger” feature. Nifty to have..and I consider myself lucky that it never locked up on me. Hopefully she is fixed and back under her garage space waiting for Santa to bring her new seat covers, or something else equally exciting for a 30 year old girl.

  21. Sandy Lane

    Never a boring day at the Casa de whacko gang! Truth is stranger than fiction! Keep on entertaining us with your misadventures!

  22. Luke Sherwood

    My lil girl has snapped front springs and front right calliper has siezed.

  23. Jannie Maxwell

    Miss Ellie kinda reminds me of my mom (miss you mom, everyday), maybe she thought she could be independent and take care of herself, don’t need help from anyone!!!! Lol. Old age comes with some stubbornness and the occasional need to test the waters. Glad Miss Ellie is unscathed from this adventure.

  24. Rachel McGill

    Wishing good things for you and yours in the coming year. so that you are not just hanging by a curb-stone.

  25. Marianne Colwill Shanley

    Seriously crying right now! “Yo Dad! Where have YOU been all night?” I’ve just been “hanging” around waiting for you.

  26. Christine Carr Reese

    LOL! Having lived a life of keeping the old running because it was cheaper than buying a newer one, etc., I know the only way to survive is to see the humor in everything! Keep on Trucking!

  27. Cindy Cunningham Buckmaster

    Happy to hear she didnt slide all the way down!!! I am sorry to hear of the trial and tribulations the residents of the Casa have experience of late. We pray that 2017 is a calmer year for all there. But know that you can always look to becoming a published author, with the wit and humor you write with, you would be a shoe in!!! Merry Christmas to Dad, Mom, Zach and all the “inmates”!!!! Ride on!!!!

  28. Verna S. Clancy

    She’s still beautiful and I’m glad she was stopped by trees or whatever. Merry Christmas to every doggie at your house and those who care for them. And a special Merry Christmas to those with no one to care. For them I hope for a miracle..

  29. Diane Ragusett

    Wow! There’s actually someone else out there that has a life like mine! Pour Miss Ellie! Hope the bump over the curb didn’t’ rattle her delicate insides too much! Wishing everyone at the Casa del Wackos a wonderful Christmas and a beautiful New Year!

  30. Dianne Lane

    Thanks for reminding me (as you so often do) that life is an adventure … rough sometimes but … the result is in how you see it. Merry Christmas❤️

  31. Kathy Moody

    OMG. There is just no end to the madness. Only you could have such an adventure. Can’t wait to see how this is resolved!

  32. Karen Hudson Brooks

    Merry Christmas to everyone at the Casa! I just wanted to Thank you for sharing your life & your story with us each & every day! It is very touching & inspirational & sometimes comical. Thank you for everything that you do and your pictures are absolutely beautiful! Charlie keep the iPaw close & keep writing and Chark on!

  33. Luke Sherwood

    She’s a battle axe, tough old girl.

  34. Sandy Runyon Lough

    Hang in, Dad. And thank you for sharing your life notes with the rest of your blood kin. Knowing those you care for are bumping along this grand old road called “life”, too…and so always beautifully expressed.. provides great comfort and succor. (A little something to assuage the bruises should arrive today.)

  35. Lisa Kerkera Hightower

    Oh, WOW! I was once sitting at my house, outside with my (then infant) daughter, when I saw a pickup truck backing out of my neighbor’s carport, up the street (and hill) from us. I thought nothing of it until it KEPT backing up… across the street, through the next-door neighbor’s yard, between trees into OUR yard, down our driveway (we got out of the way, thank goodness), off the driveway and across the street, to be stopped by a tree. Had the tree not been there, it would have barreled down a steep hill into the side of a fire station.

    How it missed every obstacle along the way (including some really large trees, our house, and US!) is still a mystery.

    Our neighbor was mighty confused when he walked out into his carport, scratching his head and wondering where his truck went. You didn’t once live in Benton, did you? 😉

  36. Kim Griffin

    Wow. I’m glad Miss Ellie is okay. Did you notice how well she parked herself? She almost kept between the lines! I too am praying for a better 2017. My daughter is a single mom with 2 boys and she lost her job last month so it’s been tough. Keeping up 2 households is enough to send a person to the nut house. May we all remember that He is the reason for the season and He is in control. Merry Christmas to everyone at the Casa and God Bless!!❤

  37. Debbie Wilburn

    Thank goodness for the curb!!!

  38. Diana Handros

    Glad Ms. Ellie is okay! Whew that was a close one.

  39. Brenda Payton

    I can only imagine how initially frustrating this was & I’m sorry, but this gave me the best laugh I’ve had in a long time! That Ms. Ellie is such a sight!

  40. Fran Scott

    The Casa and its inmates always have such “creative” problems 🙂

  41. Laura Palmer

    LOL!!! Charlie’s Dad, I sure love your stories!!!!! Merry Christmas 🙂

  42. Sue Robilliard

    Brilliantly written, as always. Is Miss Ellie confined to the naughty corner now?

  43. Sarah Mitsue Daniels

    C’mon, everybody knows Charles has lifetime dibs on shotgun, but I’d be happy in the back seat!

  44. Mary Lou Force

    She healed herself. Now THAT’s a good car!

  45. Jody Hess-Franey

    I feel your pain! It’s always something! Keep charking!

  46. Mikki Calm

    Glad miss Ellie is okay, she has a big part to play in this saga, must keep everyone together!

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