Driving Lessons Done My Way

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Mending a relationship between my father and I after a minor accident.

As I look up I can’t believe I’m alive.  After the wild careening ride into the prairie, I was moving, breathing and alive.  I tested out my limbs. Yep, they were fine.  I turned my head and it was in working order but I also happened to view the destruction I left behind.  I started cursing a blue streak which consisted of as many words as my little 19 year old mind could come up with.  There were so many questions blazing into my now conscious state.  Did the semi crash?  Did I hit the sign?  Is the fence wrapped around the car?  Can I drive out?  What about my new semester?  Oh Lord, what is Dad going to say?  Tears threatened as my eyes burned and my head throbbed.  I then thought I could hear Dad’s voice, “Tears ain’t gonna fix anything Rob.  Buck up now and think about how we will fix this.”  Man, it was like he was right there in the mangled car with me!

After I plodded through the snow, around the shredded fence and up the slick 12 foot embankment, I stood by the side of the highway and flagged down a car.  I wasn’t sure I was doing it right but I got Mrs. Jones to stop and she drove me to the next town.  I walked into the dingy little local market and used their phone.

My first call was to the State Patrol to report the semi that was going so fast it blew me literally off the road.  Even Mrs. Jones passed it and couldn’t believe how fast it was going.  Another dime in the phone booth (that’s how much they were back then) while waiting for Officer Sherman, and I made a call to my family.  Oh boy, who was going to pick up the phone?  My brother and sister weren’t very reliable back then.  Ring ring ring… no answer.  Hang up.  Ring ring ring… no answer.  Hang up.  Now isn’t this just my luck!  I dial my 80 year old Grandpa.  Ring ring “Hello?”  Now you’d think I’d be happy that at least someone answered, but it was my deaf Grandma who was 78 blessed years old.  She has to try to make sense of everything while you yell it to the heavens and to everyone else around just to have her say

“Hang on Dear, I can’t hear you, let me get your grandpa.”  Why she even answers the phone, I don’t know.Thank goodness Grandpa was in the house and very understanding, thankful that I wasn’t hurt and would be on the way, right away, all the way from the ranch, an hour away.  Oh boy!

Officer Sherman took me back to the accident.  He looked it over and said, “You are one lucky little gal to be alive.”  Well, yeah, I already figured that one out and thanked my lucky stars, God, Karma, the Aquarius sign and the Dalai Lama.  Officer Sherman wrote me a dang ticket anyhow!  I’m sitting in the car, pondering, reflecting, thanking the saints, worrying, planning, freezing…  I look up at just the right time to see not one but two cars that I recognize crest the hill above my little valley.  They are packed with people!  What in the world is going on? Did they sell tickets to my humiliation?

There was my mom who wanted to make sure I was ok, bless her, Grandma who wanted to get out of the house, Grandpa who drove that improvised taxi there and my little sister so she could probably laugh at how much trouble I’m going to get in.  In the other car was my Dad.  Well it looked like more, but there wasn’t.  It was just him.  He was that kind of huge, stern, imposing man.  Yep, they found my Dad somehow, somewhere, and here he is.

So we worked and grunted and cursed and wished and somehow got the car out.  Now it’s time to drive back.  Grandpa’s taxi is full.  Guess where I get to sit?  It was so very quiet.  I could feel and hear his mind turning and churning, trying to wrap around how it all happened. Most of all I could feel his disappointment. 

“I’m sorry Dad”, I said with a catch in my voice, a ball in my throat. 

He said “I don’t understand.  There’s no ice, no rain, no wind.  How did it happen?”

I told him about the semi and he didn’t move a muscle except the tic in his cheek did get worse.  I felt horrible that I ruined a car and that I interrupted everyone.  Now I have to pay for everything somehow.  I had to bother Dad.  I hadn’t seen him in months.

My eyes started burning and then came the leaking.  They dripped and dripped.  I couldn’t stop.  I turned to my Dad, feeling at my absolute lowest, looking for reassurance and he looked at me and said “Tears ain’t gonna fix anything Rob.  Buck up now and think about how we will fix this.”  Yep, that was my Dad and for the first time in months I was happy to be able to see him again; to talk to him again instead of yell at him.  It all ended okay, but that wasn’t a driving lesson I was hoping to learn again anytime soon.

 

 


Submitted: May 04, 2012

© Copyright 2022 RJH. All rights reserved.

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