Such is Life, Act 4: “An Ordinary Tragedy” part 1

Mary Liz Ingram —  January 28, 2014 — 2 Comments


One household, five members full

In fair Homewood, where we lay our scene

From busy morns break new delays

Where civil snags make civil mouths unclean

From forth the tragic flaws of these few days

A mother of three children takes the stage


The curtains raise, the mother enters

Scene 1: Uphill Both Ways

Rising early, she has the morning routine skillfully arranged to ready her family for a day of work and school. With father at work and car in the shop, her mother’s car sits in the cold, frost-tipped morning waiting to be warmed.

Children bundled and lunches packed, they prepare to load and buckle and drive.

With fogging breath, the mother discovers that the car seats and stroller have been mistakenly driven away to an early morning meeting. A few icy breaths worth of thoughts and the choice is clear. The cold walk to school, baby carried close, must begin.

Undeterred by this small flaw in an otherwise clockwork morning, she ignores it as a bad omen of things to come. Chattering away about the luck of living near school and the brisk, bracing exercise, she encourages her chilly people all the way to the school doors. With kisses for their cold noses, she sends them in and trudges back home to wait for the returned carseat.

Scene 2: The Red Suspenders

Through the day and a night and into the morning, we find the young mother pulling on striped pants and red suspenders. Circus Day has come again.

Let the audience remember that dreaded day past, when a costumed carload careened down the icy slopes of suburbia. When the mother, in the same red suspenders, clung tightly to the wheel as her children squealed and the tires slid on the incapacitating and unexpected Alabama snow.

With these memories in the forefront of her mind, and dismissing any fear of repetition, she observes her appearance in the bedroom mirror. Quite pleased with the ability to wear such garb in public – for Preschool Circus Day explains anything – she grabs her mug of coffee and wrenches open what frozen car doors she can, loading the children and heading to school.

Circus Day brings costumes and popcorn, cotton candy and laughter for hours at her little school, full of happy children. No snow, no ice.

Flat Tire View

Flat Tire View

At the end of the day, with lights off and doors locked, she installs her tu-tued baby in the car and pulls out of the lot. She notices the car jiggle a bit. Hmmm…. Continuing on, the jiggle worsens to a wobble. On a beautiful, scenic, sloping curve, the mother pulls off to assess the predicament.

Standing in the cold, in red shoes and red suspenders, she discovers a very flat tire. Finding refuge from the chill, she climbs back in the car, makes necessary rescue calls. She laughs, the baby plays, and they wait.

and wait. and wait. and wait.

Once the other children have been fetched from school, father arrives in answer to the distress call. As with most repairs, the tire changing encounters several troubles and delays. In one harrowing instance, the car rolls forward off the jack towards the sloping hillside, mother and baby still inside. With baby removed, the now-frozen clown-clad mother and helpful father continue to try and change the tire. In the background, one hears the older children arguing and the baby wreaking havoc in the car behind.

Spare tire on, car lowered, the mother sees that it too is half flat. With red suspenders, crossed fingers and slow driving, she makes it to the tire store. With children and father back home, the mother walks confidently into the store and explains the situation. In questionable attire and with her mother’s car, she is perhaps mistaken for a younger person rather than a weary adult, and the owner takes pity. Waiting in clown clothes, drawing a few looks, the mother is surprised to hear the owner say the tire is repaired “at no charge.”

Red Shoes & Linoleum, marker & colored pencil

Red Shoes & Linoleum, marker & colored pencil

The happy clown mother bounces into her mother’s car and home, just in the nick of time for her next adventure.

Curtains fall. Intermission begins.

The Red Suspenders, ink & colored pencil

The Red Suspenders, ink & colored pencil


Such is Life, Act 4: “An Ordinary Tragedy” part 2 to come…


Check out the previous installments:

Such is Life, Act 1

Such is Life, Act 2

Such is Life, Act 3



Mary Liz Ingram


2 responses to Such is Life, Act 4: “An Ordinary Tragedy” part 1

  1. Bravo! Great post, proving once again that “Truth is stranger than fiction!”

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