Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Oh boy, I got my license!  Well it’s just my learners permit, but Dad said he’d take me driving right after he gets home from work!  I can’t wait I can’t wait I can’t wait!  This is gonna be great, I can’t wait to get out on the highway!  Oh my buddies are gonna be so jealous, they’re birthdays aren’t until the summertime.  Shoot, I could have my license before the Valentine’s Day dance.  This is gonna change everything.  No more walking to school, no more walking to work, I can even take Lori out for pizza. Oh this is gonna be awesome!

I stand in the doorway, looking out the little windows in the top of the door.  I can see the end of the driveway if I stand on the steps.  It’s cold, but it’s not snowing, which is good.  Dad said I couldn’t drive my first time in the snow, I would have to work up to that.  I don’t know why really; it’s not hard, Dad never slides around in the car when he does it. What could possibly be different? Whatever.

MOM!! DAD’S HOME!! WE’RE GOING OUT DRIVING NOW! I yell up the stairs as I pull on my jacket.  It’s not my heavy jacket, I don’t want to get uncomfortable driving, since I know we’ll be out driving for HOURS, I’m better off being comfortable.  Dad honks, I slam the front door, leap from the porch straight to the drive, and am in the car in one step.  “Do I drive NOW??”  “No, not yet, we’ll go up to the church parking lot, and then I’ll have you learn a couple things, then we’ll drive.”  SWEET.  Dad’s gonna show me STUFF.  He knows EVERYTHING about cars, he rebuilt the motor in that old VW Bus we had.  I helped him change the oil on the Ford just last month in the garage.  I could do that, it’s pretty easy, I guess.

We get to the church pretty quick. It’s only a few blocks away, and I think Dad was in a hurry.  “Get out, lemme show you a couple things.”  I swing the passenger door open, and head around the front of the car, and reach for the drivers’ chrome door handle.  “Hang on a minute Son, we’re gonna figure out a couple of important things first.”  “Oh. Okay.” I don’t know what he’s so worried about, steering wheel, brake pedal, gas pedal, what’s so hard about this?

He opens the hood.  Dad shows me where the battery is, and which is the positive lead, and how to properly jump a car.  Well, I could have figured that out, it’s not hard.... But I guess it’s important to know that the colors need to match up.  "Don’t touch that radiator cap, it’s hot if the car’s been running. I don’t EVER want to get in this car and see that oil light come on. You check the oil every time you put gas in this car, and you put gas in this car EVERY. TIME. YOU. DRIVE. IT.”  Okay Dad, geez, can we just drive now?  The sun is going down, and it’s acting like it wants to snow.  “In a couple of minutes. Don’t get so antsy.  Open the trunk and get out the jack and the speed wrench.”  “Why in the world do we need to get that crap out?”  “Because you need to learn how to change a tire before you drive one of MY cars.  You can drive after you’ve shown me you can do it.”

Well, this is simple, I’ve watched Jerry at the service station do this a hundred times.  He just takes that electric wrench thingie and screws the nuts off then he puts on the new tire.  He just lifts them up with one hand, and puts them on the cars while their on the garage lift up in the air.

Boy this stuff is heavier than I thought. And greasy!  I’ve got it up on the jack, and now I have to loosen the lug nuts.  I couldn’t do it with my hands, Dad had me stand on the wrench until the nuts broke loose.  He said that’s because Jerry put them on too tight up at the station when he had them rotated. I took off the tire and it bounced and started to roll away, and I had to run after it.  It’s snowy now, and this light jacket isn’t cutting it, and my fingers are greasy and frozen and I still have to put this mother back on the car!  Dad gets tired of waiting for me, and loads up a nut in the speed wrench.  He spins it so fast I can barely see his hands!  He’s pretty good at this stuff. “Time to head home, Son. You drive.” He tosses me the keys.

It’s dark, and cold, and snowy.  Just little light flurries.  Dad tells me to remember to put on the windshield wipers and the lights.  I’m greasy, my head and hands are cold, but I’m sweating under that stupid jacket.  I’m grinning from ear to ear, as I drive home, knowing that I learned more in an hour about how to fix a stranded car than I’ll ever have to know.  Ten and two Dad, ten and two, I got it.


  1. you might not have been going for 'sweet' but this post is VERY sweet. the teen eagerness, admiration of dad, thrill of the drive, the remembering every detail...all of it. i bet you really DID need to know all of that stuff? eventually at least.

    my dad took me to the largest empty parking lot he could find, and then let me drive while reading a huge newspaper that blocked his vision so he wouldn't see what i was doing and get nervous. (also sweet)

  2. I'm glad you liked it, HM. I've been surprised how often those lessons have come into play. Kind of like a lot of things our parents try to teach us, huh?

    I should thank you for inspiring my post with your tire pressure gauge post. :-)

  3. I do remember my dad teaching me to check the oil on my 79 silver subaru.. and i actually did things like that way back in the day.

    i still need go get one of those tire pressure gauge thingies for next time!

  4. Glad you stopped by and enjoyed it, Sugar.

  5. Hey there, Mister! I will be your poem sparring partner on it's An Average Life Blog! Just wanted to stop by and say hello! Your post is awesome - I'm WORRIED! Lol....

  6. Welcome, kmcaffee! I don't think you should be too worried. I've stopped by and read a couple of great things on your page. I'll follow later today. This should be a good bit of fun, don't you think?