From the archives:
Just a few minutes ago I was feeding squished-up peas to our first daughter, and this week she completed her student driving.
My timeline might be a little off regarding the peas, but it’s true that our beloved Tax Deduction #1 completed her student driving this week. I’m not sobbing uncontrollably at the rapid passage of time, but the jump in insurance rates that’ll hit like a Mac truck come next November does make the eyes water.
I sort of grew up on a farm, so there were plenty of opportunities for me to drive the truck down paths in fields. Many times I’d be pulling a trailer of tobacco behind a truck, which meant I had to be extremely careful. If anything untoward happened to that trailer of tobacco, my only chance for survival would’ve been the witness protection program.
My predecessor in that job allowed a sheet of tobacco to slide off of a trailer, and none of us have seen or heard from him since. Word has it the Feds gave him a new name and moved him to Cut and Shoot, Texas.
Things were a little slacker back in the day, especially when it came to driving without a license. A guy I used to know routinely drove his dad’s truck into town to pick up parts when he was 14. Do you know why he never got a ticket? Law enforcement knew the kid worked on a farm and therefore knew how to drive.
My folks would never have let me drive without a license, and even if they did there’s no way I would’ve gotten away with it. If I were to clip the tag off a mattress I’d be in cuffs by sundown.
Over the past few months, TD#1 got in some driving practice on the dirt path leading up to our house and the occasional empty parking lot. She only drove with me a couple of times, and I have to say it seemed like she’d been in the chardonnay when it came time to park.
Instead of pulling directly behind The Wife’s car in our carport, TD#1 seemed intent on testing the structural integrity of our home. Visions of my family having to live in our cars while the house was rebuilt danced like sugarplums in my head.
Thankfully, TD#1’s driving instructor turned out to be a very nice person and good at his job. He was able to put TD#1 at ease and she miraculously completed her time on the road without incident. This kid went from being apprehensive about driving around an empty field to NASCAR-ready in a matter of days. I hope our decision to not let her get her license until she’s 25 doesn’t stifle her enthusiasm.
I don’t mean to harp on this, but the insurance thing is incredibly troubling. I believe the only way we’re going to be able to afford the higher insurance rates is if TD#1 becomes a long-haul trucker when she turns 16.
I used to watch “B.J. and The Bear” when I was a kid and those guys seemed to have a rich, full life. Here’s the premise of the show: B.J. McKay and a monkey named Bear drove around the country in an 18-wheel truck making deliveries, getting into adventures and checking each other for ticks.
Granted we don’t have a monkey, but TD#1 does have a little sister that’s only about three bananas away from a free spot at the zoo.
I keep hearing that travel is good for children, and what better way for two sisters to bond than trucking a load of lawnmowers to Cut and Shoot, Texas?
Jon Dawson’s books are available at http://www.JonDawson.com.