Dad had bought Uncle George’s car—our very first car! Dad insisted that Mom learn to drive. Mom, all bundled up against the very snappy weather, sat in the driver’s seat, Dad coaching beside her. Mom followed all the commands—everything was going well, when Dad instructed Mom to shift into reverse, let off the brake and clutch, and step on the gas.
“I said step on the gas, not stomp on it,” Dad yelled as the car winged straight back, missing the big Maple tree by inches, crossing the street, (no traffic, Thank You, Lord) and coming to rest atop a snow-covered embankment.
Dad stormed out of the car, slamming the door, and began checking the car over for even the smallest blemish. Muttering under his breath all the way around the back of the car to the open driver’s side door. Having found no apparent damage, Dad simmered down, and started to ask Mom if she was all right, but found himself talking to an empty seat.
Mom, badly frightened, scraping her dignity and wounded pride together, slid down the snow bank and headed straight for the house.
Dad called to her, “Are you all right, Helen?”
Mom whirled a 180 on her heel, saying,” Scared witless and very angry at being considered second to a four-wheeled bucket of bolts!” Completing the 360, Mom went up the steps and into the house.
Dad pushed his cap to the back of his head, scratched at his thinning hair, settled the cap back in place, thinking, “I may not have to repair the car, but there’s plenty else to fix.”
Steady and moderate, as Dad did most everything, he dug the car out of the snow bank just as Johnny, a neighbor from the next house up the street came by on his daily constitutional.
“Having a little trouble, Furber,” he asked—just as though he hadn’t seen the whole thing from his second floor vantage point.
“Don’t think I have the patience to teach Helen to drive.” Dad observed.
“Maybe, for a small fee for each lesson, I can teach your wife to drive,” offered Johnny.
“Sold, Johnny!” Dad was more than happy to turn the job over.
“But,” Johnny qualified, “Not until spring!”