The year was 1978. It was a persimmon (I chose the paint) colored 1964 Dodge Coronet, four door. It was May and I was driving to A & W in Puyallup, Washington. It was one of those restaurants where the girls brought the food out to your car. They placed a tray on the drivers’ window and put the food upon it. I had a hankering for a Root Beer Float. It was a celebration treat! I had just driven from my parents house. I had just dropped off my mother and drove away. For the very first time, alone. Yep, I got my license and I was on a mission to drive to the A & W alone. I was super careful and cautious. I did not want to get a ticket on my first day. I obeyed all the traffic signs and the speed limit. I used my turn signal. I wasn’t listening to music, I wanted to concentrate. (for those of your reading this under the age of 35………….I was not texting as it hadn’t been invented yet). I spotted the place, I put on my signal, I slowly turned into the parking lot, I found an empty spot, I turned into it and then carefully pulled in and forgot to put on the brake. I slammed right into the post at the end of the parking space. Rocked the awning and the manager came right out. Turns out, I was driving a tank and nothing really happened to my bumper nor the post. Amazingly, I still ordered my Root Beer Float and enjoyed my little celebration.
I got to thinking and started asking folks, where did you drive the first time you had your driver’s license and you were all alone? I got several, “drove to school”, “drove to work”. Mr. Right drove home to his apartment. He was 21. Had a military license and drove a tank, but never a car. silly. One person, drove to the movies. Son number one, drove to “Franks Donuts and Muffins” which our family calls “Franks Donuts and Mufflers”. Daughter in law number one drove to a place called Dion’s Pizza. Son number two drove to a nearby town to their skate park and did a couple of hours of skateboarding.
So listen to this…………..over the weekend, we came home to a surprise on our front door step. A beautiful card full of really great happy photographs, a charming bouquet of flowers with a jaunty bow and a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies. I met a new friend last Thanksgiving. She is now 16 and just got her driver’s license. I sent a congratulations card and a little treat for her and her brother. Inside the card, I wrote all the correct things. I said congratulations. I said woohoo! I said enjoy your freedom and I also said, “We care about you, please do not text and drive. Please wear your seat belt.” I know it was not my place. I had just recently met this young lady. I just had to say it. Our family has been touched by a young woman lost in a car accident, so I just have to say something to each new driver. Back to the story……………………. on one of her first driving trips as a brand new driver, she chose to drive to a nearby town to drop off something for ME! Unfortunately, her mom doesn’t live with them. This girl did this on her own. She baked and planned and got a card and ordered the flowers. She made the choice to drive to our home. I will be honest and say that when I was 16 years old, sadly, I would not have done something as thoughtful, grown up, caring, sweet as she and her brother and Dad did for me.
Driving to get a Root Beer Float and driving to take someone some surprises of pure goodness don’t compare. Not even close. I just wanted to share how lovely I am being taken care of. I wanted the world (at least the blog world) to know that if there are other 16-year-old girls as kind, thoughtful, graceful, smart, well adjusted………..we are going to be okay. She doesn’t even know just how great she is. That’s the best part. She has no idea, I want to stick around and send care package after care package every month when she goes away to college. She has no idea, I want to stick around to see how this lovely young woman unfolds. She has no idea how much vision for the future she has given me. She just thinks she baked some cookies and shared a couple of pictures of her and her brother. She has no idea how beautiful inside and out she really is. She is an angel among us.
By the way, where did you drive alone for the first time once you had your driver’s license?