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Va-Va-Va-Voom! by Cliff Rhys James

It was somewhere between a Rebel yell and an Indian war whoop. “Va-Va-Va-Voom!” It exploded out of him in unexpected bursts of enthusiasm. It could not be contained. “Va-Va-Va-Voom!” Leaning into it hard; furiously pumping those bike pedals for all we had in us, through the breathless heat waves rising off the blacktop roads of August; careening across t he m id- c ent u r y back ya rd s for no good reason other than to feel the wind in our faces; clawing our way to the top of one more dirt pile playing king of the hill; leaping off the high tree limb into a three-footdeep-above-ground pool so many times that we buckled the aluminum sides and f looded Mom’s garden, not to mention Lulu’s dog house ~ there was no telling when that highpitched banshee scream might split the air. It was Chuckie’s signature hoot. It belonged only to him. He invented it ~ and over time, he perfected it, until at last it was like the sound of excitement itself. When Chuckie screamed “VaVa-Va-Vo om!” you d id n’t k now what was coming next, but in those Western Pennsylvania days in and around Shenango Township, when

Chuckie and I were best-friend cousins, anything could happen ~ and usually did. Our summer days filled up fast with one thing leading to another because we were powered by a kind of spontaneous combustion fueled by heaping bowls of Cheerios swimming in chocolate milk. Some things just can’t be held back or bottled up. If you over-rev an engine it will roar like the mechanical monster it is. Boil water in a tea pot and it will whistle like a steam locomotive on a road of steel. And if you got my cousin Chuckie too wound up


December 2015 ttimes web magazine  

December 2015 Tidewater Times

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