Chapter Three: Thankful
Staring at the clock display on the radio that read 8:40 am, Laura Urkel sighed and crossed her arms, bringing her heavy red coat and scarf wrapped snugly around her neck closer to her body. She looked to her right to see Rachel Crawford asleep, resting her head against one of her small bags propped up against the side of the car. Wanting to ask her something, she thought otherwise as she saw her aunt stir a little bit before bringing her knees closer to her stomach in an attempt to get some more heat to her body. Laura quickly reached under the seat and felt her hand brush against the small white blanket she was looking for. Draping the blanket over Rachel's chest and shoulders, she went back to her seat in the middle of the Isetta, waiting for her husband Steve Urkel to return. It had been a few hours since he had left and went to the back of the Isetta, where the engine equipped with the GPS system connections was located, to see what was going on. She had checked with him a few times, bearing the cold, piercing winds that had grown even fiercer to make sure that he was all right as well as the status of the car. Wondering what was going on, Laura gently tapped her aunt Rachel to tell her she would be right back and quickly went out of the car. Hearing and seeing the numerous cars on the freeway next to them roaring and passing her by almost caught her by surprise, almost losing her scarf from a truck that had passed by. Looking down, she noticed that quite a bit of snow had disappeared, yet the temperature of the city of Indiana where they were located was as cold as Detroit.
"Steve!!" Laura shouted, taking her time to walk over to Steve, who had his head and arms buried in the back of the car, fixing a few items. "Are you okay?"
"I sure am, sweetums!" Steve managed to yell over a brief rush of wind that blew past the both of them. "I figured out what the snafu was! For some reason, one of the commands the GPS was sending manages to make its' way into the engine circuitry and make the engine think I'm telling it to stop, and would cause it to turn off!"
"Will we be able to make it in time?"
"Absolutely!" Steve exclaimed, confidently closing the hood of the Isetta and wiping his gloved hands off. "In fact, I just finished putting these last few needed connections together and this baby should be ready to go!"
"Steve?" Laura asked before Steve managed to make his way to the front door.
"Uh, yes?" Steve turned back around, facing his wife.
"Thanks," She answered, hugging Steve, who smiled after receiving her loving embrace.
"You're always welcome, Laura Lee."
"Great to see you, Mother Winslow," Harriette helped her mother-in-law take off her coat as she walked in the house through the front door, still a little cold from the weather outside.
"You too, honey," Mother Winslow replied. "I couldn't bear to take another minute out there in that cold."
"Well, here at Hotel Winslow, we have plenty of warm heating and comfortable seats," Carl made his way out of the kitchen, walking over to his mother with open arms. Hugging and kissing his mother he laughed and smiled, happy to see her again.
"Aw, Carl," Mother Winslow smiled, looking up at her son. "It's great to be here in this house again."
"Don't worry momma, this is always home for you. It'll be here whenever you need it."
"Thanks you two," Mother Winslow said, following her children into the kitchen. "I can't wait to get started on my sweet potato pie."
"Me either momma," Carl happily said. "But it can never beat your gingerbread cookies. I just can't get enough of those."
"Have Rachel, Laura, Eddie and Steve made it yet?" Mother Winslow asked, choosing to sit at the end of the dinner table opposite of the seat Carl sat in.
"Not yet, but they should be here in a little while. Eddie still had to work today on a mandatory shift but it was only for the morning. Rachel, Laura and Steve are on their way here from Detroit," Harriette answered her mother-in-law as she began to mash the bits of mashed potatoes she had placed in a large glass bowl with her silver potato masher.
"That's good. I hope they make it."
"Me too momma," Carl stretched his hand across the table to cover hers. "Me too."
"Come on," Steve turned the key of the ignition, trying to get the engine to start but to no avail as it quickly turned off as soon as it got started. It had been several hours since Steve had believed that he had fixed the engine and the GPS system, but it appeared he was not quite finished.
"Are you sure the GPS was the only problem with it, Steve?" Rachel asked with a concerned tone in her voice as she wanted to know what was going on.
"No doubt about it," Steve said. "Ever since I bought that puppy, it's been causing me some trouble…especially during the last part of this school semester."
"Well…the good thing is, it's only 1 o'clock and we're only eighty miles away from home. If we walk, we'll make it…and we'll get plenty of exercise," Rachel sighed, unknowingly bringing some sarcasm into her voice in her response.
"Aww, Aunt Rachel! Steve's doing the best he can!" Laura placed a hand on her aunt's shoulder in an attempt to help her feel better. "Eventually it should start back up again, and we'll be back in time to eat that turkey."
"I hope so…" Rachel looked out the front window at the numerous cars passing them by over the freeway, lightly covered with snow, oil and ice.
"Aw, I need to stop fooling myself!" Steve sighed, falling back into his seat. "This was my entire fault…"
"Now Steve, it wasn't your fault at all," Rachel insisted. "Things happen, and we just have to be cool about this."
"Aunt Rachel's right, Steve."
"Well…" Steve began to say, turning the ignition to "on" again. "If it wasn't for this darn piece of junk, we'd be at the Winslow's already!"
Hitting the screen of the GPS located on the dashboard of the Isetta soon after expressing his anger, the engine suddenly revved for a few minutes before completely turning on and running smoothly. Hugging each other in surprise, Rachel and Laura quickly began to hug Steve as well, who was embarrassed yet happy about his unexpected achievement.
"You did it, Steve!" Laura shouted with joy.
"Thanks again, Steve. I couldn't have made it out of Detroit without you and your help," Rachel added.
"No problem Rachel! Well, Chicago! Here we come!" Steve took the emergency brake off and turned his left turn signal on, waiting for the right time before being able to merge into the far right lane of the freeway.
"What's wrong, sweetheart?" Carl asked Harriette, who was sitting at the dinner table with her head slightly down. Eddie and Greta, at this point, had arrived and were helping Mother Winslow out with the sweet potato pie, much to Harriette and Carl's surprise.
"I'm just worried about Rachel and the kids," Harriette sighed, resting her elbow on the table and putting her chin in the palm of her hand. "It's already two o'clock now, and no sign of them outside or even a phone call…"
"Don't worry Harriette, they'll be here in no time," Carl said, taking Harriette's hands into his own and rubbing them. "You even told momma herself that they would make it."
"I know Carl, but…that was three hours ago."
"They'll show up, sweetheart. They could pop in here right now."
"We're here, you guys!" Rachel walked in through the back door, making her way into the kitchen with a big smile on her face.
"Rachel, it's great to see you!" Harriette got up from her seat and hugged her little sister, who went over to hug Carl, Eddie, Mother Winslow and Greta. "Where are Laura and Steve?"
"Hidey ho, all!" Steve walked in through the slightly open back door, opening it a little bit more with his foot as he stepped inside the house. His hands were full carrying a few big plastic containers stacked on top of each other containing macaroni and cheese and bean casserole that Rachel had prepared. Rachel was willing to take them along with her on the plane even if they would not have allowed her to bring them on the flight.
"'Sup Steve," Eddie said, carrying the finished sweet potato pie over from the oven to the middle of the kitchen table where Greta was sitting.
"Hi Steve," Greta added, who was carefully putting some whipped cream on top of the pie.
"Hey Eddo! Hey Greta! Hey Estelle my belle!"
"Hey sugar!" Mother Winslow said from behind the kitchen counter, preparing her own homemade cranberry sauce.
"Steve, let me help you with that," Carl walked over to Steve, who was stumbling around with the two dishes in his hand. "You might drop them."
"It's all right, Big Guy, I've got it!" Steve said to Carl, deciding to place them on the kitchen table right next to him instead of the kitchen counter, as he usually would do.
"I guess you do."
"That chef training I had last year paid off somewhat," Steve said as he bent slightly down into his "I'm cool" pose and put a grin on his face.
"Hey everybody," Laura said, rolling the other suitcase Rachel had brought with her in its wheels that were on the bottom.
"Hey Laura," Eddie hugged his sister and insisted on taking the luggage with him back into the living room.
"Hey honey," Harriette said, hugging her daughter as well as Steve, who was smiling at the both of them in their warm, long embrace.
"Thanks again Steve, for getting us out of there," Laura hugged her husband once again, Steve returning her hug with an even tighter one. "For that, I'm very thankful. I love you, Steven Quincy Urkel."
"I love you too, Laura Lee Winslow Urkel."