I was just a kid in the ’80s, but there is one day I remember like it was yesterday. It was a Saturday in June. School had just finished for the summer. We were free to play all day. No homework.
This day was the day we got a new car. Not only a new car, a sports car. The kids at school would be so jealous. My dad was like a kid on Christmas. He woke up early even though it was a Saturday, his only day off from work. My mom made blueberry pancakes. This was shaping up to be a great day.
After breakfast, my parents got dressed and headed off to the dealership to trade in the Vista Cruiser for their new Camaro. My sisters, brother and I stayed home and waited for them to return. We called all the kids in the neighborhood to come over to see the new car. We played outside in the yard and waited for the kids to start trickling over.
We played our favorite games. A few friends had come to join us. My friend Michelle came over during Spud, my brother’s friend Danny showed up on his bike, and then came Skippy. His real name was Roger, but we all called him Skippy. I don’t know why. Skippy was no one’s friend really, but a neighborhood kid that always seemed to be around even though no one called him. Skippy had a crush on my oldest sister. She did not feel the same. But, he was funny (in hindsight maybe fun to laugh at), so we didn’t mind him being around. My father, on the other hand, did mind. I think the idea of potentially having Skippy as a son-in-law was enough to get under his skin. They were only 15, it wasn’t like Skippy proposed marriage. He was just awkward around my sister. This awkwardness usually led to clumsiness.
We finished playing our games. Skippy suggested we play lawn darts. He must have imagined my sister falling for him after seeing his super strength. With our parents not yet home and having time to kill, the kids agreed. My friend and I decided to play on the swing set and watch the older kids play lawn darts.
A little while later, I saw a red flash fly by. It was the Camaro. Up they drove through the driveway. “Caaaaaaar” I called to the others. Skippy turned his head quickly. But, his body turned too, and he tripped. Trying to catch his balance, he threw one arm in the air and put the other down to the ground. The lawn dart went flying super high. It flew over the garage.
Then we heard it. Crash. We all went running to the front yard. There was the brand new red Camaro in the driveway with my parents sitting inside it, their jaws to the floor. The lawn dart had landed smack in the middle of the windshield, which now resembled a spider web. My father got out of the car in disbelief. Skippy looked at him and said “Nice car Mr. K but I think it’s broken.” My dad lunged at him, and Skippy miraculously ducked quickly and started running toward home. He didn’t come around so much after that. The lawn dart game went in the garbage. My dad got red in the face every time he saw Skippy after that and vowed to send my sister to a convent if she ever considered dating him. She agreed.