Wednesday, October 7, 2015

31 Days of Life Stories #7

I know almost every teenager is so excited to finally get a driving license. Every one except me.  I was terrified of flunking the driving test. I didn't want to be responsible for hurtling a 2,000 ton vehicle down the highway staying within lines painted on asphalt.

It was just too much.  Maybe one reason I was afraid was because of the vehicle my parents had for me to practice driving, a Chrysler Imperial, one of the biggest vehicles ever made. It was like steering a boat!

In addition to the Imperial (which by the way, my dad loved), sometimes he had a second car, usually some kind of beat up auto that he had the idea he could fix up and sell for a profit. I can't even tell you all the vehicles that came and went over the years. 

One day he brought home a little foreign car that had a stick shift. (I believe it was a Renault, but I don't know the year.) He was determined I should learn to drive it because then I'd be ready for any kind of vehicle.  

The little lane that led to our house (the scene of my famous re-enactment of the story of Mary Ingalls) was the perfect place to practice driving ... or so Dad thought.

At the top of the lane, we piled into the car. Me at the wheel, Dad in the passenger seat and little brother in the back seat.

After a quick lesson about letting out the clutch slow-ly and some finagling with the gear shift, we started creeping down the lane. Soon, too soon, it was time to shift into second gear which I did with a jerk. Dad felt I was going too slow and encouraged me to "give it the gas." As I did so, I swung around the curve and then saw I was going too fast. I got mixed up between the clutch and the brake and looked down to see which was which. Before I knew it, I had zipped into the barb wire fence. Luckily, I didn't hit the post but ran the car through the two strands of barb wire, scraping the roof of the car.

I sat there clenching the steering wheel frozenly while Dad and Tim jumped out to survey the damage.

Finally, I got out ready to face the music.


That is all my Dad said. I thought sure I was going to hear a lot of yelling but "Touché" was all he said along with a dry laugh that sounded more like a strangled cough.

"What do you mean, Dad?" I nervously asked.

"Well, when I was a kid, I wrecked dad's truck by driving into a barb wire fence and he told me someday I'd have a kid do the same thing... I hate it when he's right."

The Renault really didn't look that much worse for wear than it did when we started. Dad went and parked it in the driveway, and I never heard another word about learning to drive a stick shift.

The moral of the story:  Be careful what you wish on your children, it just might come to pass!

This post is #7 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and Faith."


betty said...

That was interesting your dad had done the same thing with a fence that you did in your learning to drive efforts :) I don't know how any parent survives teaching their kids to drive :)


Ceil said...

Hi Jerralea! That is such a cute story! And to think that your Dad kept that statement from his dad in his heart all those years. And boom! You filled it, just like that. I'm sure you'll remember that incident the rest of your life too. Does your Dad remember telling you 'Touche'?

I have never driven a stick shift. I'm sure I'd be terrible at it. I'll stick with automatic!

Denise said...

really like your writing. how do you link all your stories up to the challenge? The only story that is linked for me, is day 1

Tori Leslie said...

I love your story, so funny. We have Renaults everywhere here. Luckily for me I can drive a stick but I know lots of missionary wives who come to the field not knowing how to drive a stick and they never learn. What? Not drive? Then how would i get yarn?
Anyhow, it is true it seems, we usually get what we gave as teens in some fashion. Loved your story!

Mary Hill said...

So true, my mom always said my daughter would be more stubborn than me because children always repay us for our bad childhood decisions. I am not sure about that, but my daughter is stubborn. I hated the driving test. It took me six times to pass. LOL

Susan Shipe said...

I remember my hubs teaching my kids how to drive - only one of them had an "incident" in an old farm truck! Touche!!!! Thanks for visiting me today.

Lux G. said...

I'm trying to be a good daughter so my daughter would treat me nice someday. But I'm only human. Haha. :)

Lisa notes... said...

I think more and more teens these days feel like you did back then. And I'm glad they take the responsibility seriously! It is a lot to expect from a 16-yr-old to be responsible for, whether you're sitting in the car beside them or facing them across the highway. :)

Anonymous said...

Now that was a great response from your dad!