Summer on the road

I was 17 and spent my summer earning the money for driving lessons and insurance. The family car had a standard transmission and Dad seemed in no mood to teach me to drive it. I was told there were plans for a newer car so I took my lessons – three. The instructor took me to the Dept. of MV for testing. Amazing myself, I passed both tests and went home with a license in hand. Then I waited, and the newer car came and I still waited, now worried that I had forgotten everything.

Labor Day weekend we had plans to go to the Grandparents for a cookout. I had hoped to drive, but I wasn’t offered the wheel.


The last car Dad had to himself!

We were about half way when Dad pulled to the side of the road and told me to get behind the wheel. Heart pounding terror came as the reality of being responsible for my family set in. But, I was 17 and I had a license to drive, so I did. Slowly, then up to speed, things were going well and then the first turn – right. With the power steering, I suppose I could have made a neat and tidy 360 – except for the hedge. It really slowed me down and we came to a  stop in the middle of someone’s yard.

Dad got out and talked with the homeowner and asked to call a tow truck. An inspection on the lift showed no damage done to the car. I thought the damage to my driving career was total. I don’t remember anyone saying much during all that time. Dad was usually spare with his words.

When the garage man was paid, I walked to a back door and then Dad spoke, “Get back behind the wheel.” And I did.

It seemed like many years went by before nature repaired that hedge! The gaps reminded me not only of the foolishness of overconfidence but the kindness and restraint of my Dad in actually teaching me a life lesson – there are times when one must “Get back behind the wheel.”

Recently I had a difficult situation which seemed to cause me to crash against an invisible hedge, the jolt was hard and it left me wondering what to do, how to proceed and that’s when I seemed to hear Dad again, “Get back behind the wheel.”

Maybe you feel like you’ve crashed somewhere and you’re looking at some mess you’ve made. Maybe it’s time now to take a deep breath, get back behind the wheel of life and go on again to your destiny. Please do. Or perhaps you know someone in this situation who could use your kindness and encouragement to go on again.  Please give it.