Friday, October 06, 2006

Learning to Drive -- Part 2

Up ahead the road curved to the left. I was going a good speed by now and managing to keep relatively to the middle of the track. When it started curving I started turning the wheel. Only problem was, the truck didn't want to respond to my action. Dad was yelling at me to turn, I was tugging on the wheel, and the truck was going straight toward the ditch. We finally came to a stop when the front wheels bounced up the other side of the ditch, the hood just inches from a fence.

Poor Dad. His fingers gripped the dash, his face white. It took him a while to speak. And then it was a curt demand to switch places. But he wasn't put off. He just decided it would be better to teach me somewhere flat.

We headed back down to the camping area. It was a slow time of year, so there was nobody around and lots of open space. Perfect.

We swapped places, and after assuring Dad I remembered how to work everything, we set off again. Things went pretty good for a while. I finally managed to get the truck to turn where I wanted it too, with a little muscle power. No power steering in that vehicle. And then I blew it.

I only shifted my eyes for a minute, but it was enough.


I snapped my attention back to where I was headed and there in front of me was this huge tree! And I mean HUGE.

I don't know what happened. I guess I panicked. Everything Dad told me just flew out my head. My arms froze, I went blank. He was yelling for me to stop and I couldn't remember which pedal was the brake. I stomped down on a pedal and the truck accelerated.

Dad yanked on the wheel. The truck swerved and the tree trunk scratched against the side as we passed by.

That was the one and only driving lesson Dad would give me in the Ranchero. He made me wait until I completed my driving training courses and then taught me in Mom's Honda Accord. I've never been allowed to drive his Ranchero since.

Mom later told me why Dad was so attached to that vehicle. His first truck was the same model and year, and he and Mom had their first date in it. I guess it brought back memories for him. A Sunday doesn't go by without him and Mom going out for a drive in the Ranchero.

And they always come back a little more in love than when they left.

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM
Awww... my honey takes me out for Sunday drives too:)
That's sweet.
Posted by Blogger Janet Rubin : 9:27 PM
You Kanner Lake folks seen her driving around the lake like it's a Nascar track in her little yellow VW? She's still dangerous.
Posted by Anonymous jared moore : 7:19 AM
Hey, Leslie, maybe you oughtta go back to your dad for more driving lessons. He could teach you not to speed so much...
Posted by Anonymous frank west : 7:20 AM
Just think--if you'd busted up that Ranchero, your parents might not be married today.

Lesson to parents: teach kid to drive in old jalopy.
Posted by Anonymous fred wiley : 7:21 AM
My father took me to drive also. He was a quiet, unassuming man. There was only one time in my life I heard him gasp.

All right, so I hit old Mrs. Picadilly's fence. At least I missed the oak tree.
Posted by Anonymous elizabeth monty : 7:24 PM
I'll have you know, Frank West, that my driving's not nearly as bad as some other folks' in town. And besides, if I'm on a hot story--what do you expect?
Posted by Anonymous leslie brymes : 8:28 AM
OMG...this brings back such white knuckle memories of teaching my four girls and two of my sons to drive. My nerve ends frayed, to the point where my hands go numb just thinking about it, and my hair turned silver! Our youngest, who is going to be seventeen, took driver's training. It was well worth the $300 we had to spend!!!
Posted by Blogger Mid Stutsman : 4:21 PM
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