Thursday, October 05, 2006

Learning to Drive -- Part 1

Hi, it's me, Leslie, posting again. Bailey's got me sitting here, saying it's time I wrote up another entry. She even refused to make my nonfat biggie latte until I got started. I wasn't sure what I was going to say, and then I looked out the window and saw my VW. That sparked a memory of my first driving lesson.

The minute I hit 15, I was itching to get behind the wheel of a car. Mom wasn't thrilled at the idea; I guess she wanted me to wait a bit longer. But Dad, well he's in insurance, so he sees a lot of claims on cars driven by young people. He figured I'd be better off learning as soon as I could to get some experience under my belt. Of course, here in Idaho if you're under 17 you have to sit through all these driver training courses before you can get your driver's permit. But I just wanted to DRIVE!

So anyway, one weekend just after my fifteenth birthday, Dad took me with him to visit his friend Kevin who owns a camping ground up in the forest just out of town. Kevin has this shed where he accumulates old cars. He likes to think he's saved them from the scrap yard. In his spare time he restores some of the better cars and then sells them. At the time Dad had a 1962 Ford Falcon Ranchero sitting in Kevin's shed that he liked to go and work on. Now, my VW is my baby, but Dad's Ranchero, wow. I just about had to compete with a vehicle to get his attention.

Okay, I might be exaggerating a little. But Dad loved that truck and talked about it nonstop. It wasn't until later that I learned why this truck meant so much to him.

Anyway, back to the driving lesson. We were at Kevin's place and Dad had finally got this Ranchero to run. It wasn't exactly purring like a kitten, but at least the engine wasn't cutting out every two minutes. Dad was keen to see how well the truck drove, and since Kevin's place has all these private roads going through the forest that only the campers use, it was a pretty safe place for a test drive.

For half an hour we traveled over the dirt tracks, the truck running smoothly, and Dad with a big grin on his face. That's when he got the idea to give me my first driving lesson. We sat there on the deserted track for another half an hour while he explained how the gear shift and the pedals worked. When he was finally satisfied I knew how to work everything, he handed me the key and said, "Start her up." I got the truck started, shifted her into first, eased off the brake, and pushed down on the accelerator.

We inched forward.

"Give her more gas," Dad said.

I pressed down, careful not to push too hard. The engine revved.

"Change to second."

Not a problem.


By now I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I was driving! I could actually do this.

Then came the first disaster.

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM
Oh-oh. I can see it comin' now. Bye-bye, Baby Truck.
Posted by Anonymous r.j. hager : 6:49 AM
Wow, Bailey. I had no idea. That's cool you had a dad to teach you like that.
Posted by Blogger C. Radling : 7:48 AM
The first time my dad was going to let me drive we were on the Interstate. Then he realized I hadn't had even a beginner lesson yet. That had to be the shortest lesson in history!
Posted by Blogger Cara Putman : 9:20 AM
The first time my dad was going to let me drive we were on the Interstate. Then he realized I hadn't had even a beginner lesson yet. That had to be the shortest lesson in history!
Posted by Blogger Cara Putman : 9:20 AM
I think those driving-lesson memories are pretty indelible for parent and child. I remember my dad yanking on the emergency brake when he was teaching me to drive so I didn't roll back into the car behind us.

I'm so NOT looking forward to teaching my kids. Good thing I've got awhile.

Can't wait to hear the rest of Leslie's story.
Posted by Blogger Jennifer Tiszai : 10:02 AM
Why is it the dad's always get this job?
Posted by Anonymous fred wiley : 4:14 PM
Leslie, My mom made me drive around the high school parking lot for 2 whole days before she let me hit the road. Can't wait to hear about your disaster (since you obviously survived.)
Posted by Blogger Janet Rubin : 6:56 PM
Why do the dads get this job, Fred? Because the moms would have fainting spells in the passenger seat, and the teenagers would be left on their own.

Takes nerves of steel, I tell ya.
Posted by Anonymous burt laroy : 8:28 PM
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