Today is a very big day for my youngest granddaughter. She is thinking it is the greatest thing that has ever happened to her to this point in her life. Finally she is going to be an independent young lady, not having to depend on mom and dad. Have you figured it out? She is taking her driving test today to get her license. It is a right of passage for most young people, at least in this country.
Being raised in the country, she learned to drive by riding on her Grandfathers lap and controlling the steering wheel. Just as soon as her legs were long enough to reach the petals she could drive using the controls. It was the same for me, as well as each of my children. My son and myself were driving hay trucks just as soon as we could see over the steering wheel.
I can remember the feeling of excitement and how “big” I felt when I began driving. I would drive on the highway when I was fourteen, but times were very different then. There wasn’t as much traffic and the highway patrol never came out on 270. It’s not that way any more.
My granddaughter already has her first vehicle. A nice, small pickup, which she loves. My first car was a 1954, four door, Ford, with a stick shift. The floor board was rusted out (I kept losing shoes) and the heater didn’t work. It was hell in the Oklahoma winters. My girlfriend and I would go to McAlester, to a teen dance hall, called The Attic. We’d be wrapped up in quilts with ice scrapers in hand. Every once in a while if it was freezing, I’d stop the car and we’d jump out and scrap the ice from the windshield. Somehow I don’t see any of my grandchildren doing that. For one thing I don’t believe there is a snowball’s chance my children would let them out on the road if there was a chance there might be ice. Secondly, I think my grandchildren would not drive a car in the same condition mine was in back in the 60’s. You know “those good ol’ days.
Times and conditions have changed, but not the right of passage for driving. Do you remember how you felt when you were able to get that license? It’s a wonderful time, it’s just a shame we have to grow up and deal with the world.