Which definition first comes to mind when you read the word drive? For our youngest daughter it is without exception to take command of a vehicle. Chloe is taking driver’s training and preparing to get her license. Her imagination must be working overtime picturing the possibilities, eagerness fueled by the anticipation of freedom. She is a fearless young woman, which can serve her well in life, I just hope she comprehends the potential dangers with a mature mind.
I was a typical boy wanting to drive anything with a motor. The first thing I piloted was a fishing boat on High Falls Lake. The second was a failed attempt driving my Dad’s F150. I was just tall enough to reach the accelerator, brake and that darn clutch. I could reach the pedals, but not strong enough to release that stiff clutch smoothly. It was impressive I had my father’s pickup bouncing like a bucking bronco. My Dad was a great man in many respects, but patience was not a virtue he possessed. When I stalled the engine and saw the expression on his face I knew the lesson had concluded.
We bought a 1931 Model A Ford Coupe when I was twelve. With no one home after school I taught myself to drive a manual shift. Between driving the Model A and running from police on my go-cart I was a well experienced driver when RT McDaniel asked me to drive to California with him in his ’31 roadster pickup to attend the Model A Restorer’s Club national meet in Anaheim.
Mr. McDaniel was a self-made millionaire and I would like to think saw himself in me always hustling to earn a buck. During the meet he bought a pristine 1967 Mustang GT and tossed me the keys to drive it around before driving the fastback to Atlanta. It was July of 1976 and I was 15. Mr. McDaniel didn’t ask me to ask my parents if I could drive back from California by myself and for some strange reason I felt no compulsion to ask them either. I felt like Superman until an Arizona State Trooper filled my rear view mirror with flashing lights. A Mustang similar to the one I was driving had been stolen. The Trooper looked at my learner’s permit and fortunately only noticed I was from Georgia and not the DOB. Jimmy Carter was my salvation. The Trooper wanted to talk about Jimmy Who’s presidential bid and soon handed me the incriminating license. I was off the hook.
Pulling up in driveway Mom and Dad were not pleased when hearing my boastful response to where the car came from, but they never treated me as their baby boy again. I thought of myself differently too. I felt in my gut I could do anything and possessed the drive to do it. Drive and determination with some good luck has pulled me through several critical times and made seemingly impossible situations possible. Enjoy the drive. Thanks for reading. Have a great day! dj