"Come on guys, get your shoes on. If you don't hurry up we're going to be late" he barked.
As they continued to wrestle on the bottom step of the stairwell, in unison they replied, "We are hurrying dad."
"My butt cheeks you are! Now come on and get with it."
Five minutes later the shoes were on and they were headed out the front door.
Before the door could close one of the boys said, "Mom, I'm hungry."
"You had a half an hour to eat your cereal this morning. Why didn't you eat then?" the mother replied.
"I did, but I'm still hungry." was the boy's response.
"Me too." the other chimed in.
"HONK HONK" The father stuck his head out of the car window and hollered, "Are we ready to go or what?"
"Just a minute," his wife quipped, "the boys are still hungry"
"Big surprise." he muttered to himself.
She sent the boys out to get into the car as she went back inside to get a couple of Pop-Tarts to keep them from 'starving to death'.
They were finally all in the car and pulling out of the driveway. He looked at his watch and figured they would just barely make it there in the twenty five minutes they had left until it started.
He looked into the rear view mirror and caught each of the boys eyes. "Do you think that just once we could get going on time without all the theatrics?"
He continued with his mini lecture, "It's not like this is the first time this has happened. Every week it's the same routine, We're rushing to get out the door and you boys are dragging your feet. I really don't understand what the problem is."
About this time his wife interjected, "Honey, I think they get it."
"I know," he said, "but it's irritating. I mean come on, how many times do I have to go over this same information?
"OK, I get it too. Can you just let it go for now?"
As he drove out of the neighborhood and towards the freeway you could have heard a pin drop in the car. Everyone was afraid to say a word now for fear of igniting another tongue lashing. It's not that there weren't words that wanted to be said, it's just that no one wanted to open the door to another 'warm family discussion'.
He was thinking to himself, "This is shaping up to be another wonderful outing isn't it?"
"Great!" he exclaimed.
"What now?" his wife asked.
"Look at the freeway, It's all backed up." he said. "what the hell's going on? It's Sunday morning, there shouldn't be any traffic out here today."
"Maybe they're doing road work or something." one of the boys interjected.
"Not on the weekend son. It was probably some moron driver going too fast and caused an accident." the dad said. "Now every one's going to have to slow down to gawk and get a close-up look."
As they inched slowly down the road everyone could feel the tension continue to mount.
"What are you doing?" his wife asked.
"I'm just moving over a bit to see what's going on up there." he said, "I want to see how long we're going to be stuck back here."
He steered the car slightly to the right into the shoulder so he could see past the SUV ahead of him that was blocking his view. Just as soon as he had done that he could see an ambulance coming up quickly behind him with its lights and siren blaring.
"Perfect!" he shouted.
Looking to the left he could see the gap was closing in where he had just been a moment ago.
"Come on man! Let me back in!"
Now he was directing his rant at the driver behind him. He threw his hands up in the universal sign of "What's your problem buddy." Which was met by the same gesture from the young male driver behind him.
"Come on you jerk off, give me some room!" he said as he started to bull dog his way back in.
He saw the other driver's lips moving and he figured it was some type of obscenity coming out because it was also accompanied by a wave of only his middle finger.
"You son of a bi..." he started, but was cut off by his wife.
"Dennis, let it go. The kids and I are in this car too ya know."
She'd had enough of his antics this morning and wasn't going to let him continue down this path any longer.
"Try to think about where we're going and stop making everyone around you out to be the bad guy. . . OK?"
His one word response was like a dagger flung through the air, piercing her as it hit.
Less than ten minutes from the time they had joined the freeway back up, they drove past the accident scene and were on their way again.
"Dennis, you're such a horses ass sometimes." he thought to himself.
As the driver who had exchanged unpleasantries with him earlier zipped past, the young man shot a dirty glance their direction and sped off. This time however, no rhetorical gestures or remarks were made.
For the rest of the trip the only audible sound was the hum of the tires as they rolled across the pavement underneath them.
Pulling into the parking lot his wife looked at the dashboard clock and said, "See after all that, we still have about two minutes to spare."
This was of little comfort to him though. He was still replaying all of the morning's events that had brought them to this point.
"Why can't I control my anger better?" he thought. "Maybe there's something here for me after all."
With that, they got out of the car and headed into church.